Friday, September 17, 2010

The importance of Portfolios while searching for a job

I posted this as a discussion topic in one of my LinkedIn groups, but no takers!  Everyone seems to be paying lipservice to Portfolios, but no one (that I've seen in groups) has talked about their effectiveness.   Your thoughts?

//Start of copied info from LinkedIn//
This thought came to me while reading the discussion on the importance of a degree/certificate in ID. So here's a question for all of you: How important is a Portfolio when searching for your new ID job?

Many people place a spotlight on the importance of portfolios of ePortfolios (in addition to experience, recommendations and perhaps a degree of some sort in education) but I've seen three points AGAINST portfolios that are coming to my attention

1) Recruiters or employers don't necessarily have the time to review your portfolio. You may have done excellent work but when they are looking through a tall pile of applicants (made event taller by portfolios to go through), do hiring managers really have the luxury of going through each and every one to determine if it's good work? If they don't what's the use of a portfolio?

2) Some of us don't come for a graphics design background, so while our work may be effective (if your company has allowed you to do post-training evals to gauge effectiveness of training) it might not look professional or as presentable as ID work produced by people with graphics design experience (whose training may not have been as successful as ours but looks prettier). In this case you've got a case of "judging a book by its cover"

3) Proprietary information! Lots of companies have their trade secrets, including company procedures under lock and key - this means that any learning that you create cannot be placed in any portfolio, even in altered/anonymized form, because it still a security issue. I've seen many people say that people can build a portfolio by doing pro-bono or contract work with the stipulation that they can use it as part of a portfolio, but this is extra work, on top of what you are already doing, for a portfolio that someone may not even have the time to go over (see point 1).

So, what's the point of a portfolio?


On there other side of the fence, if you are NOT looking for a job, you could have a portfolio, along with a LinkedIn profile and a VisualCV profile, show off your expertise, link to your portfolio (blog, twitter, whatever), and you may get offers when you aren't even looking. Then again when you need to put food on the table, waiting for the serendipitous call saying that people love your work and they want you.


So what do you all think of portfolios? Nice to have? Useless? or Real necessities?
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