Why you should consider a professional portfolio instead of a cover letter
If you’re applying for a creative role, you may be asked to include a portfolio of your work.
In many ways, your portfolio might actually be more valuable than a cover letter.
Telling a prospective employer how creative you are is one thing, but showing them your portfolio is the best way to showcase your skills.
Telstra recruiter Kamaxi, who hires for many creative roles, says portfolios can be especially helpful for candidates vying for digital, media and marketing roles.
“Including a portfolio instead of a cover letter can be a fantastic decision to help make you stand out from the crowd,” she says.
Fellow recruiter Jarrad says a portfolio can include blogs you’ve written or digital art you’ve generated, but overall needs to highlight why you’re the ideal person for the job.
“It gives me insights into your design philosophies, how you interpret briefs and the quality of your work. A portfolio can move an application from borderline consideration to the top of the pile,” he says.
Here are four reasons you should consider creating a professional portfolio, whether you’re looking for a job now or plan to in the future.
1. It makes interviews easier: Kamaxi encourages bringing your portfolio to interviews as it’s a great a source of stimulus between you and the interviewer. What better subject to talk about than yourself? “Especially when talking about your accomplishments, goals and aspirations - candidates have to think on the spot and if you’ve got topics mapped out already, it can help you talk about it in great detail,” she says.
2. It can help you with goal setting: If you feel like something’s missing from your portfolio that could help you stand out, start learning that skill now.
3. It will keep you challenged: Keep in mind that everything you do in your present role will help you to win your next one. Ensure you tackle every task to the best of your ability so it will look its best if and when you can add it to your portfolio. You should not be using any confidential information belonging to your current or former employer, so you may not be able to share everything you create. It doesn’t hurt to request their permission though, so don’t be afraid to ask.
4. If you start now, you’ll thank yourself later: It’s easier to add your work to a portfolio as you go than all at once. If you haven’t already, start making your portfolio now – you never know when you might need it.
Jarrad says parts of your portfolio should appear on your LinkedIn profile to share your work to prospective employers. It’s important that you have permission to share some of the content you’re linking back to though.
Having a professional portfolio isn’t something that everyone is doing – which is exactly why you should consider one.
Once you’ve secured your interview and have your portfolio ready to go, check our other blog to help you get past those pre-interview nerves.
How have you stood out in your applications?
Jarrad and Kamaxi work as a Recruitment Account Lead and Recruitment Specialist respectively at the Telstra Careers Centre. Both deal with creative roles across the creative industries and look forward to seeing your creative portfolio.