How to Create a Great Portfolio

Interviewing for a job can be a formidable process, especially when the competition is steep. Many people tend to be overwhelmed by the limited time provided to showcase their skills to ultimately land a job. Previously, a one to two page resume was all an applicant had to strategically list their background and talents, but more recently, with the added hurdle of the current economic state, employers have tightened the interviewing process and, quite frankly, a resume will not suffice to substantiate a candidate’s supposed fit with a company. One way to combat this issue is to create a career portfolio to distinguish oneself from competitors. This powerful tool has been far undervalued by biomedical engineering industry aspirants. As times are changing, it is important that job seekers are constantly developing their portfolio, no matter where they are in the job search process.

According to Sally Gerrish, Director of Student, Alumni, and Industrial Relations at the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, the career portfolio is a visual representation of one’s best work. It acts as a platform to display skills, leadership, and communication abilities. Quality, not quantity, is a key factor when trying to decide what to include in a portfolio. Gerrish recommends five to ten pages of examples showcasing an interviewee’s talents that pertain to the specific job applied for. These examples may include any project from BMED 2300 through the capstone senior design course. The Biomedical Engineering program offered through the Coulter Department fosters a commitment to excellence in student development through problem-based learning classes, study abroad opportunities, and hands-on experience with cutting-edge research.

Furthermore, leadership propensity and extracurricular involvement achieved through the countless organizations across campus separate Georgia Tech students from other students; an interviewer is able to grasp this magnitude of distinction through a simple portfolio. It is also advised that applicants incorporate an updated resume, awards, recommendations, and any other entry that reinforces the contender’s aptitude.

An interview is crucial for gaining employment. The portfolio acts as a security blanket and as visual evidence of an interviewee’s words. Presumably, people will undergo several career changes throughout their professional lives and, as a result, multiple portfolios may be required. Consequently, it is imperative to keep a digital copy of a master portfolio and regularly update it so as to make it easier to create customized portfolios specific to a particular job description. This beneficial tool, whether it is in a digital form or paper copy, is sure to leave an impact with employers by showcasing a candidate’s success and individuality.