Skip to main content

Keiko Cooper

OLC Marketing and Communications

empty
a girl on her laptop
Credit
pexels.com
As with your resume, your portfolio is a constantly evolving tool that will change each time you finish a class, work term or volunteer activity and come away with another great piece to add to your “portable skill set"

We spend hours upon hours practicing for our co-op job interviews, going over questions with our coordinators and student advisors, practicing our delivery of answers with confidence, so that we can dazzle an interviewer with our verbal wit. But is there anything else we could be doing to stand out from our competition? Is there a “next step” that we could take to make it even easier for the interviewer to choose us over everyone else?

Well, in addition to doing research about the company and job role, as well as preparing great answers, portfolios of work and achievements are becoming an increasingly important part of the interview process. We all know that providing examples of past experiences when answering interview questions is a great way to “paint the picture” for an interviewer, but just imagine how much clearer and detailed that picture would be if we used concrete examples, pulled directly from our portfolio right there on the spot.

“But what if I have never done a work term?” you ask. Not to worry, as your coordinators have probably told you, think of yourself not as a job title (e.g. “student”), but as a “portable” skill set. Many of the skills and experiences you have accumulated up to this point are most likely from in-class work and are certainly transferable to an on-the-job situation. Pull your best projects and assignments to highlight in your portfolio. Have you taken CMNS 200? If so, include the press releases and backgrounders you wrote. What about CMNS 375? Include the layout and design or the advertising market analysis you completed.

At this point, you might be thinking about creating your own portfolio and wondering about how best to highlight your achievements. There are several different ways to show employers that you have the skills and experience to succeed on the job and the following are just two methods that you might want to consider:

Print Portfolio:

  1. Gather all your printed documents, including originals of brochures, writing samples, design work, reports, or other relevant pieces.

  2. Decide on an organized and functional way to display your documents. Some options include three-ring binders with tabs, or for larger printed items, an artist’s portfolio book might be a better option.

  3. Be sure to include small descriptions alongside each printed original. This helps to give context to when, why and how you completed the work.

Electronic Portfolio:

  1. Gather all electronic versions of your documents and be sure that they are in a universally readable file format (e.g. PDF).

  2. Create a “blueprint” of the information or artifacts you will include on your website and how these pieces will be organized (e.g. resume, work experience, projects, technical skills, contact information).

  3. Create a website that reflects you and upload your documents. Be sure to review it and make sure all your links work properly by having a friend test them as well.

  4. Be sure to promote your website when networking with others by including a link on your resume, business cards or e-mail signature.

Of course, these steps are only a brief outline of how you can get started on creating your own perfect portfolio. As with your resume, your portfolio is a constantly evolving tool that will change each time you finish a class, work term or volunteer activity and come away with another great piece to add to your “portable skill set.”

Originally published in Communique, the Communication Co-op Newsletter.

Beyond the Blog

  • Check out the series Portfolio 101 for more information on how to build your portfolio!

About the Author

Keiko Cooper

OLC Marketing and Communications

Posts by Author

Three SFU students standing in front of a laptop.
Blog
Six Tips to Make the Most of Your Undergraduate Degree at SFU

The undergraduate experience is what you make of it – whether you volunteer, do research, join Co-op, or just go to class. Read on for more tips on how to make the most of your time at SFU.

Building blocks with the letters A D H D on them
Blog
“You Have So Much Potential. You Just Need to Pay Attention.”: My Journey with ADHD

TW has been hearing this line over and over for a large part of her life. For the most part, she didn't know how to manage her ADHD symptoms, mostly because she didn't know she had ADHD. Read on to learn more about TW's journey and why going to SFU Health & Counselling was life-changing.

Laptop on a table neatly places next to a cup of coffee and a notepad
Blog
Digital Flourishing: How to Support Your Well-being in a Digital World

Digital technology has become a staple in all aspects of our daily lives. As a result, it is necessary to embed practices and boundaries that promote mindful usages of technology. Check out Health & Counselling Services’ tips on how to support your well-being in this digital world.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Life Experience, Career Exploration, Professional Development, Job Search

stingray up close
Self-Directed All The Way

 

Jan is in their third year, have completed two work terms, and are beginning to realize that their beliefs back then about what co-op could offer only scratched the surface of what is really available to students. One area about which they were previously unaware, but have now come to take full advantage of, is Self-Directed Placement.

tower in ottawa
Increasing Your Chances of Working for the Government

With the stability and the opportunities that a government position provides, it’s not surprising that a lot of students are interested with working for the government. The What Can I Do in Government session gave students an opportunity to network with a panel consisting of alumni, current students and managers who are experienced in working for the public sector. Read on for some insights and tips that the panelists provided!

Old magazine that reads, "Cool! English"
Doing Your English Degree? Be Ready fro Unexpected Career Opportunities

What can you do with an English degree? The wide range of opportunities may surprise you. Arts & Social Sciences Co-op staff and English Undergraduate Advisor offer tips on pursuing a career with a degree in English.

a girl on her laptop
library_books
Blog
The Perfect Portfolio
Job Search, Portfolios, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Marketing

In addition to doing research about the company and job role, as well as preparing great answers, portfolios of work and achievements are becoming an increasingly important part of the interview process.

a girl on her laptop
library_books
Blog
The Perfect Portfolio
Job Search, Portfolios, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Marketing

In addition to doing research about the company and job role, as well as preparing great answers, portfolios of work and achievements are becoming an increasingly important part of the interview process.

You Might Like These... Interviews

a closeup shot of a suede messenger bag on top of an individual's lap
And Round Two Begins: Preparation Is Key

Have you been asked to prepare a presentation and write an exam on top of your typical interview for your next job? Read on to find out more about Natalie's experience with this new job interview format and her key take-away lessons for you.

Raman
Do You Fear Working in Software?

I used to be afraid of applying for software related co-ops, let alone working in software development/testing environments. In this article, I am going over my journey about how I overcame that fear and got into a software co-op.

student in professional attire
4 Reasons Why You Should Work At A Start-up Company

Today, it is fairly difficult for students or new graduates to successfully find an internship, co-op or full-time position. However, start-up companies create a majority of employment in B.C., making them a perfect place for you to set your foot in the door in the industry you want to work in.