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How to Create a Portfolio

Think of a portfolio as a supplemental tool to use during your job/academic search. It shouldn’t take the place of a resume or cover letter, but an effective portfolio can help show off your skills and projects in a way that just can’t be matched by a resume alone. A portfolio is typically a website (digital) or .pdf (print) file that provides examples of your work and projects. The best portfolios show a little bit about you and a lot about the projects and work that you want to highlight for employers.

Reasons for Creating a Portfolio

A portfolio does a few things, it a.) provides visual proof of your talents and contributions to potential employers, b.) helps you stand out from the competition – not everybody thinks to do one, and c.) allows you to market yourself professionally.

Simply put, a strong portfolio allows employers to visually see what work and projects you’ve completed in a way that helps you stand out and look professional. Afterall, a picture is worth a thousand words!

What to Include

You could include your sketches, engineering projects, graphics, diagrams, video clips, a modified resume, and/or writing samples. Think about your past courses, internships, extracurricular, personal projects, or anything that shows off the knowledge you’ve built during your time at Ohio State. Elaborate on those projects to tell the story of your problem and solution.

Consider your audience when creating your portfolio. Are you trying to get in at a tech firm? One of the big four? A consultant group? A manufacturing company? Once you understand your audience, it’ll be easier to figure out what is best to highlight in your portfolio.

Where to Start

You can create your portfolio in PowerPoint and convert it into a .pdf, use a platform to host your portfolio, or create your own website. Some of the best resources to use at the start are sites like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. Take a look and decide which one works best for you!

Additional Tips

  • Make sure your “homepage” introduces yourself and helps the reader understand a bit more about the person behind the projects. Don’t go into your life story, but think of it like your elevator pitch for your portfolio.
  • Have clearly defined and concise sections as employers may not be able to look at your portfolio for long. Whether it’s due to the scale or the result of the project, include the most relevant and best ones early.
  • Add visuals when possible, or even consider uploading the project to the website if it’s a program or game.

This is a chance to be creative, so no two portfolios will look exactly the same. If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, search for other portfolios online or talk with ECS for help!

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

About the author

Richard (Alex) Broshious

Alex is a Graduate Associate at Engineering Career Services.