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A portfolio is an organized collection of your best work that showcases your skills, abilities and accomplishments. In some creative fields, such as architecture and graphic design, a portfolio is a requirement, but you can also develop a portfolio containing writing samples, letters of recommendation, transcripts, news clippings and more. A portfolio should include only your best work. It should be organized so it can be easily reviewed, and that begins with a cover page, which tells reviewers what to expect inside.
Include Important Information
The purpose of the portfolio cover page is to provide the reviewer with information about the contents. Give your portfolio a descriptive name; for instance, “John Smith Design Portfolio” or “Kate Jones Career Portfolio.” Include the date range of the work included (i.e., Design Portfolio 2017) and the source of the work, such as “Writing Portfolio, 2013-2017, Harvard University.” Don’t forget your contact information, including your mailing address, phone number and email address.
Designing the Page
Your portfolio cover page is a chance to show some personality and be creative. In fact, if your portfolio is a showcase of graphic design or artwork, a creative cover page that displays your abilities is a must. However, if you do not have graphic design skills, most word processing programs offer cover page templates, or you can design a simple page.
To design your own cover page:
1. Begin with a blank document. Type the title of your portfolio, and center it about a third of the way down the page.
2. Choose a title font that is easy to read. Increase the font size to at least 18-point type.
3. Add the additional information about the portfolio as needed.
4. Type your contact information at the bottom of the page, centered and in a smaller type size than the title.
Cover Page Vs. Cover Letter
The cover page of your portfolio is not the cover letter. The cover letter is a more detailed description of the contents of the portfolio. In the case of a portfolio of creative works, such as writing or photography, the cover letter may provide a description of the portfolio contents along with the motivation for including those particular items, notes about the process of creating them and what you learned. The contents of the cover letter may also be determined by the requirements of the recipient. If you are submitting a portfolio for review for a specific purpose, follow those cover letter specifications.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.