Building your portfolio

What's a portfolio?

A portfolio is a way of documenting all aspects of your professional and personal growth as you progress through university and your career.

A portfolio isn't the same as a CV - a CV is only a summary of your education, employment history and achievements, whereas your portfolio allows you to expand on these experiences and provide evidence of your achievement. Your portfolio complements your CV.

Your portfolio can include:

  • descriptions of your activities and achievements (for example, descriptions of the research project you did last summer and the award you won in the state debating competition)
  • your birth certificate
  • transcripts of your academic records (from uni and high school)
  • written references from employers or colleagues (for example, from your employer when you worked for five years at a fast-food restaurant)
  • official letters certificates (for example, a First Aid certificate)
  • publications (for example, a scientist might keep a copy of her published journal papers)
  • examples of your work (for example, a writer might keep samples of good writing, a photographer might put in a series of favourite photographs)

Do I really need a portfolio?

If you want to make the task of applying for jobs easier, then Yes!

When science students graduate, most are faced with the daunting task of applying for graduate jobs. These require extensive written applications that address a series of selection criteria. Most students do not begin to document their skills and achievements until the end of their degree by which time relevant achievements are forgotten and the evidence is lost.

Starting a portfolio at the beginning of your degree will help you keep track of what you have achieved. It can also help you focus on your goals and how to attain them.

How do I construct a portfolio?

Click on each step below to learn how to build your portfolio:

  1. Collect records of your activities and achievements
  2. Reflect on your skills
  3. Update your portfolio