Guest Author - Dianne Walker
One of the best ways to stay organized while searching for a job is to keep all of your important information and documents together for easy access. Creating a job search portfolio will help you to keep all of your important information in one place.
Start by purchasing an inexpensive, plastic three-ring binder. You can also use the pocket folders. Consider purchasing plastic document sleeves to keep valuable documents that should not be damaged with a hole punch.
Important information to keep in your portfolio:
Job list – Keep a list of your previous jobs in a non-resume format. If possible, devote at least one page per job. Each job page should include dates of employment, supervisor names, salary and any other contact information. If possible, get a copy of the job description from the website so you can have a list of responsibilities. Sometimes it is very hard to remember everything you did at a previous job. Having a copy of the job description will help. If the company version is not available, visit the O’Net website for a printable description.
Master resume – Keep a copy of your master resume. Remember, computers crash. Information gets lost. Having a master copy of your resume will help you to recreate a resume at a moment's notice.
College or High School Diploma - While some employers will take your information at face value, you never know when this document will come in handy.
Awards and certificates - Keep a copy (or the original) of any awards or certificates you have earned. These make great stories for you to share with any potential employers.
Letters of recommendation - While most employers will not accept a written letter of recommendation in lieu of direct contact, certain jobs may ask for written letters. Keep in mind that if the letter is more than a year or two old, it may no longer be considered “valid.” Some companies will require the letter be sent directly from the previous employer.
Artwork or other illustrative material - If you worked in an industry that requires creative output such as drawings or literary work, keep a copy in the book as well.
What not to include in your portfolio:
Do not include copies of your Social Security card, Driver’s License or Birth Certificate. These are valuable documents which need to be safeguarded against theft. Keep them together in a secure location with easy access. You will need to present them to the Human Resources Department upon hire.
Creating a job search portfolio will help streamline the job search process by having all of the documents all in one handy location.