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Your portfolio is a collection of your best work products, used to demonstrate your knowledge and abilities in an organized, attractive manner. In the field of engineering, there are numerous types of portfolios from which to choose. With careful consideration of your engineering specialty and the job you hope to secure, you can create a portfolio that makes you stand out from the crowd.
An Engineering Portfolio
There are numerous types of engineers, so there is no single correct way to present your work examples. A professional portfolio should cater to your specialty. A civil or architectural engineer may include hand-drawn, as well as computer-generated drawings in a portfolio. However, drawings would not appropriately demonstrate the skills of a computer engineer, whose portfolio might consist of a computer program or video game creation. An electrical engineer's portfolio may include a small motor he built. Allow the details of your engineering specialty to dictate the best manner of demonstrating your work.
Selecting Work Examples
When selecting work examples for your portfolio, consider who you will show it to and for what reason. Engineers may be proficient in a variety of skills. Review the job announcement and determine what the employer is looking for in a successful applicant. Then, choose examples of your work that best exemplify the skills listed in the job description. For example, you may not want to present building designs to an automobile manufacturing company. According to the employment website, engineering.com, applicants should be prepared to change their portfolios for various engineering positions.
Strengthening Your Interview
An impressive portfolio can increase your employment chances greatly. The Talley Group, an employment recruitment agency, advises that visual presentations leave a longer lasting impression than words alone. Engineering is a skill-centered profession. Demonstrating your skills can give you an advantage over candidates who only talk about their experiences. Take your portfolio to the interview. As you are asked questions, use the examples in your portfolio to reinforce your answers and demonstrate your abilities. Remember to respect the interviewers time, by only presenting a few strong examples. When it comes to your engineering portfolio, quality speaks louder than quantity.
An Electronic Portfolio
Electronic portfolios are particularly useful for engineers who primarily complete their work in an electronic form. You can create a website or compile your portfolio on a CD or flash drive. If you create a website, make it is easy to navigate. The Talley Group advises that you use minimal text to create an uncluttered visual. Your pages should load quickly, so your portfolio is convenient for the interviewer. For a CD or flash drive, organize your work into folders that are easy to navigate. Consider bringing your own computer to facilitate presentation of your portfolio during the interview.
Erika Winston is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, with more than 15 years of writing experience. Her articles have appeared in such magazines as Imara, Corporate Colors E-zine and Enterprise Virginia. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University and a Masters in public policy from New England College.