Career Advancement Career Portfolio Interview Tips

Building A Strong Portfolio To Attract Employers

Look around you. You could easily notice that products and services are way better than they were just a few short years ago. Take the automotive industry for example. Just recently, it was announced that popular Proton models are to be released soon with new and edgier facelifts. The front lights would have been improved including the grill, the bumper, rear design including some light refinements in the interior  but still with very little or no changes to the engine and transmission which is what really matters in a vehicle’s performance.

This isn’t limited to this consumer product alone but is happening across the board, even to how a product is packaged and the scent of it.

Manufacturers and marketers know full well how to tap on to the five senses of human beings and they produce staggering results. We are a consumer society, attracted to more on the outside than on the inside. Why do we paint our houses, dress well and do our hair?

Building a portfolio

The same would apply to your resume, CV or portfolio no matter which industry you’re in. Looking good and presentable will certainly produce results as you turn yourself into a desirable product wanted by many. Here are some steps you can take to achieve that goal.

1. A cover letter

2. A Resume

3. Testimonials

4. Certificates, Degrees and Diplomas

5. The actual job portfolio which showcases your achievements

1. The Cover Letter

Take a look at these two cover letters side by side. Can you tell which attracts you more? In addition to that, can you see which pertinent detail has been brought to the front, highlighted or placed somewhere else at “eye level” so that it’s easier to catch the attention of the reader? Can you see how differently fonts are used in the second letter?

There is a reason why newspapers sold at newsstands have a headline big enough and bold enough to be seen from a far distance and placed for easy visual perception. The same happens in supermarkets, where the items and prices on promotion are placed not down, but at customers’ eye level. Certain colors are also playing their part.

There’s also a personalised image mark or logo in the second letter and more personalised like a brand. What would you say about the first one? It’s quite outdated isn’t it? The details are obscure and it looks just like any other letter.

2. The Resume

Needless to say, the same treatment should be done to your resume.

In this age of digitalization, hiring managers might just be looking at your resume over a cup of coffee in the office pantry. The first resume certainly has a lot of text to go through in the traditional way. The second one is more adventurous. It’s been neatly spaced out, divided and important details placed comfortably. It also has a lot of white space. Some people would say that this space is wasted but this is the new thinking and concept. It also has made space for a nice photo.

3. Testimonials

As for testimonials from your teachers, colleagues and former employers, you do not need to retype them as the earlier two. Just present them as is to preserve their originality. No extra work here.

4. Certificates, Degrees and Diplomas

The same applies for these too. The only work you need to do for item 3 and 4 is to have them printed in quality paper when the need arises to have them physically mailed. Other than that, you should have them scanned clearly into .png images which we will explain shortly.

5. The actual job portfolio which showcases your achievements

The designers of the world keep a visual record of the work they’ve done. The significant ones at least. Some of these works are recognized, award winning and certified. These would include anything from logos, packaging to websites. A strong portfolio keeps designers in the market well placed.

There is no reason to believe that only designers can retain such a portfolio. An account executive can do the same but perhaps in another way.

1. Journaling

We discussed in earlier posts on keeping a record of your greatest achievements and about the power of the visual. It does happen every now and then, so for example, a car salesperson may close an important sale and post the photo on social media. Events like these are your journal worthy achievements and would become your portfolio.

So do you have any work achievements worthy of appraisal? A lot of people are good in what they do but haven’t taken the time to compile the good they’ve done. Soon, it’s forgotten. A portfolio and resume is a growing and changing thing, so there, you know what to do.

Plan your profile with pencil and paper. You will need to take your simple looking A4 black and white resume as well as your portfolio to the next level.

2. A Stronger Online Presence

Your Cover Letter and Resume are just the correct starting point when building your portfolio. The most important thing here is belief. One must have faith in oneself that they have the greatest talent to offer. Yes, building something for yourself is tiresome work, however it’s truly worth it. 

This is the final but continuous step of putting yourself online to be noticed.

The graphic below shows you areas of online exposure which can raise your online profile and attract employers. Note that you don’t have to put yourself everywhere as just a handful of sites will work wonders. Here are some of the brilliant online platform that could help to make your profile visually attractive to employers.

i) LinkedIn, with its huge network of professionals is a great place to update and streamline your online presence. To get some attention going in this area, you could post some of your achievements in ad style artwork on Instagram.

ii) Instagram – Instagram is this “huge magnet” that if used correctly, “followers” and traction can be built in small sizes in weekly intervals. In order to do that, you will need to create valuable content, constructive postings, not only to attract and retain the attention, but also to leave a good impression in the employers’ eyes while they are doing some check-up on your social media profiles. Remember that Instagram is very “visual driven” so you will need to go in and explore to see who is getting a lot of “followings” and why. Then, just duplicate their method.

iii) Twitter – It can also be used the same way as Instagram and you can grow an online presence from this point on.

iv) A personal website – The traffic generated by these can be channelled to Linkedin and ultimately to your personal website. For example, WordPress,, and many more, where you can build your own portfolio based on your creativity and attract employers. This is where the scanned pages of your portfolio should be uploaded and .png is the format of choice as it loads faster. 

This is how everyone is doing it so there and again, make plans over the next few months and reap the benefits of having this online presence. Compare yourself to the competition and examine the quality of their weekly Instagram and Twitter posts. An easy one stop place to look would be Pinterest to help you get started. Good journey into the digital world!