How to Develop a Portfolio for a Professional Business Manager.
When job hunting, you need to stand out from the slew of other candidates to land an interview and make an outstanding impression on the hiring manager. A carefully crafted portfolio provides interviewers with samples of your work, your resume, a cover letter and documents highlighting the full measure of your skills, achievements and experience. Think of the portfolio as a sales or marketing presentation package with you as the center of attraction.
Create a cover page with your contact information. Include a professional title on the cover to indicate you already possess the qualifications for the manager position for which you’re applying. For example, centered on the first page put “Joan Smith, Manager,” followed by your address, phone number and email contacts. Include a web address if you have a blog or a business-related webpage.
Insert a short table of contents page to guide the interviewer through the portfolio. A table of contents explains to the recruiter what he can expect in the folder and guides him to appropriate pages as needed.
Write a cover letter that’s targeted to the management job for which you’re applying. Include references to the company that indicate you’ve done some research and know the company history, vision and key executives. In the letter, show how your own qualifications ideally match the company’s goals.
Place your resume next in the portfolio, followed by a few examples of projects on which you were the lead manager. Create a narrative or executive summary with charts and graphs to show the results of each project. If you weren’t involved in specific projects, use each page to summarize your achievements at two or three former jobs. Use bullet points to indicate your retention results, sales growth or innovative solutions you developed in previous jobs. Include copies of published articles about your area of expertise.
Bind all the documents in an attractive folder that the recruiter can keep. Use a three-hole puncher to prepare a neat insertion of the pages in a narrow binder. Place your name on the cover of the folder.
Don’t wait until you are suddenly out of a job before creating your professional development portfolio. While you’re in school or on the job, collect material for use in your portfolio. Additionally, after landing the manager position, keep your portfolio updated as you achieve new goals, complete extensive projects, present at business seminars, publish industry articles and garner more awards. You’ll be ready with a polished professional portfolio next time you need one.
Create an electronic version of your portfolio and include video and audio files. Many employers accept only electronic resumes and applications. Your portfolio shows your creativity and will stand out in the fray of other applicants. An electronic portfolio is especially effective if you’re applying for a business manager position in a high-tech company or other organization that relies on the Internet and web-based communications.
California State University: Marketing Portfolio CBS: Temple Business Students Hope E-Portfolio Gives Them an Advantage in Job Search Teaching Expertise: Creating Your Professional Development Portfolio.
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About the Author.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She’s covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the “Greenville News,” “Success Magazine” and “American City Business Journals.” Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called “Money Smart.”