How to master your own portfolio

But what is a portfolio?

It’s a compilation of work that exemplifies your experience, training, certifications, skills, education, qualifications and also beliefs.

  • Establish your brand
  • Define your sense of style
  • Highlight your strengths
  • Gives insight about your personality and work ethic
  • It looks cool!

Why do you need a portfolio?

My first answer will be: because you’re a brand! A portfolio demonstrates your skills and experiences in a way that a résumé, cover letter or even an interview simply can’t! The second reason is that the process of putting together a portfolio helps you remember important projects and results you had in your career and you might be forgetting. It makes you memorize and remembers different challenges and results you had, this process can help you become more efficient during networking events and also during interviews.

A portfolio demonstrates your skills and experiences in a way that a résumé, cover letter or even an interview simply can’t!

How did I create my own portfolio?

When I was creating my own portfolio, I struggled for a while because all my references were Design portfolios, not Project/Product Manager references. I had great and inspiring Design references but not a single Project/Product Manager portfolio to look at.

What did I decide to do? I created my own portfolio based on the PAR Statements describing a problem that I faced, the action I took to overcome that problem, and the result of my actions. I highlighted the entire process describing my role as a Product & Project Manager, and I also showed the results and some cool designs, videos, and Kanban board.

In my case, I decided to show six different projects. When I was writing about the project and process, I talked about a different accomplishment in each project, for example, I wrote about a time where I implemented Scrum and a Kanban board in a startup, I talked about a UX research for an Android App I did, and I also wrote about a process optimization I implemented for the creative team at Hewlett-Packard.

PAR Statements describes a problem that you faced, the action you took to overcome that problem, and the result of your action

Portfolio goals and accomplishments

Each portfolio can have a different goal, and you’re the person who is setting this milestone, YAY! I wrote a list of general goals and accomplishments you should keep in mind while you’re developing your own portfolio:

  • What makes you unique?
  • Highlight most relevant experiences
  • Articulate your skills and experiences
  • Identify the skills you have gained through your various experiences
  • Proof of your professional career related skills
  • Put your experiences in an easily understood format
  • Show your experience in a different format than résumé and cover letter
Image from XKCD: Marketing Interview

What should go in your portfolio?

About me

A brief description about yourself, your experience, your beliefs and also what you’re looking for. You can talk about your career goals and skill areas. This information helps you to tailor the message to the audience you want to achieve.

Compilation of your projects

Select 5–10 projects showing your best work. You’ll need to keep in mind that you should highlight samples showing the most skilled competencies you have. For example, if you’re looking for a Project Management position, you’ll have to think which skills are the organization looking for, then you’ll highlight the skills/experiences you have.

Résumé

You can add the PDF of your résumé or your LinkedIn link.

Contact information

You can add your email, and also a social channel you want to share. For example, if you have a Blog that you write about your area of expertise it’s kind of cool to share it. If you’re a developer, you should definitely share your Github. If you’re a creative, you should think about sharing your Behance and/or Dribbble account.

Tips

  • Less is more
  • Showcase successful projects
  • Show the kind of work you want to do
  • Only leave in what is absolutely necessary to make your point
  • Proofread and fix broken Links
  • Identify the kind of work you’re seeking
  • Show case: problem, action, and results
  • Put your best work first
  • Craft a clear message
  • Purpose: to be far way of what everybody does!

References


My name is Thaisa, I’m a Project/ Product Manager from Brazil and I’m based in San Francisco, US.

More about me @ my Portfolio, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’m also building an app if you want to get early access subscribe to the waiting list here!