Developing Portfolios, Video Resumes, and Web Resumes

11 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing a Resume

Non-traditional resume formats such as portfolios (with work samples), video resumes, and Web resumes are often effective in career fields such as arts or technology. Take a look at some possibilities that aren't mainstream methods but may be just the format you need in your job search.

Portfolios

Samples of your work, gathered in a portfolio, have long been valuable to fields such as design, graphics, photography, architecture, advertising, public relations, marketing, education, and contracting. Often, you deliver your portfolio as part of the job interview.

Some highly motivated job seekers include a brief version of a career portfolio when sending their resumes, although recruiters say that they want fewer, not more, resume parts to deal with. If you must include work samples to back up your claims, send only a few of your very best.

The portfolio is a showcase for documenting a far more complete picture of what you offer employers than is possible with a one- or two-page resume. Getting recruiters to review it is the problem. When you determine that a portfolio is your best bet, take it to job interviews. Put your portfolio in a three-ring binder with a table of contents and tabs separating its various parts.

Mix and match the following categories in your portfolio:

  • Career goals (if you’re a new graduate or career changer): A brief statement of less than one page is plenty.

  • Your resume: Use a fully formatted version in MS Word.

  • Samples of your work: Include easily understandable examples of problem solving and competencies.

  • Proof of performance: Insert awards, honors, testimonials and letters of commendation, and flattering performance reviews. Don’t forget to add praise from employers, people who reported to you, and customers.

  • Proof of recognition: Attach certifications, transcripts, degrees, licenses, and printed material listing you as the leader of seminars and workshops. Omit those that you merely attended unless the attendance proves something.

  • Military connections: The U.S. military provides exceptionally good training, and many employers know it. List military records, awards, and badges.

Your portfolio should document only the skills that you want to apply on a job. Begin by identifying those skills, and then determine which materials prove your claims of competency.

Make at least two copies of your portfolio in case potential employers decide to hold on to your samples or fail to return them.

Video resumes

A video resume (or video podcast) actually is a canned video interview in which a candidate speaks about her qualifications, goals, and strengths. Employers shy away from video resumes because they fear a candidate’s image and sound could bring discrimination charges against them.

Web and multimedia resumes

A Web resume (or e-portfolio or HTML resume) is an electronic document that you post on a personal Web site. The format may simply display credentials, or it may go glamorous with links to sound and graphics of your work samples. Job seekers in cutting-edge technology fields, theater, marketing, and design are attracted to the presentation.

A multimedia resume is similar to a Web resume, but it's on a disk that can be sent by postal mail. An attention-getting novelty in the 1990s, multimedia resumes are rarely used today.

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