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Setting yourself apart in a positive way can help a busy interviewer remember your skills and experience, especially in a competitive job market. A portfolio binder, or career portfolio binder, for a job interview is more than just a holder for your resume or notepad. The right contents inside your portfolio binder can help you showcase your business skills to a potential employer during the interview process.
Using a portfolio during your job interview allows you to present yourself to the interviewer in a cohesive, organized manner. Rather than fumbling through a pile of papers, promising to email a requested document to the interviewer or looking unprepared, the interviewer will gain a favorable impression of your organizational skills and interest in the job. Taking time to put together all the materials you wish to include in your portfolio also gives you a chance to review your previous job responsibilities, refresh your memory of past accomplishments and practice answering questions about gaps in employment or periods of self-employment.
The type of portfolio binder you use depends on your field of work. If you work in the graphic art industry, you should use a portfolio large enough to easily hold and display your artwork. A 16-inch-by-20-inch binder with clear plastic sleeves makes it easy for you and the job interviewer to review your work together. If your interview is for a business position, use a portfolio designed to hold loose papers in file folders or clear plastic sleeves so you can easily pull out a work sample or reference list to hand to the interviewer.
Materials to Include
Sit down and make a list of the documents and exhibits you would like a potential employer to review. In addition to your resume, include an extra copy of your references, letters of recommendation, college or high school transcripts, licenses you hold, a supply of business cards and a copy of your completed application, if applicable. Put each item in a separate, labeled file folder or plastic sleeve within your portfolio to make it easy to retrieve. If you have been featured in newspapers or magazines, place copies of the articles in your portfolio. Make a list of any awards you won or skills you possess that you have not included on your resume, and give it to the interviewer when appropriate. A graphic artist needs to include drawings, published works and awards won.
You will make a lasting impression during the interview if you take time to practice explaining each of the materials in your portfolio. If you choose a portfolio with clear plastic sleeves, practice flipping through the pages and explaining what you want the interviewer to focus on for each different article or display. Analyze what you have in your portfolio before each interview you attend. Targeting the materials in your portfolio to a specific job will enable the interviewer to better see how your specific skill set fit within his organization.
Diane Lynn began writing in 1998 as a guest columnist for the "Tallahassee Democrat." After losing 158 pounds, she wrote her own weight-loss curriculum and now teaches classes on diet and fitness. Lynn also writes for The Oz Blog and her own blog, Fit to the Finish. She has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Florida State University.