As you approach your final year of college, the looming question of what comes next can be stressful and overwhelming. "What do you want to do after college?" is a common question from friends and family, especially if you're studying in the humanities and arts. You may be wondering if it's best to gain some real-world experience or start preparing for graduate school applications.
The job hunting process can be tough, with endless scrolling on job sites and the pressure to secure a job after graduation. While opportunities may seem plentiful, the competition is fierce. So, how can you stand out from the crowd? One way is by creating a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of your best work, showcasing your skills and abilities to potential employers. Not only will it help you stand out from the competition, but it will also give you the opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and growth as a student. So, as you navigate the job hunt and consider your options post-graduation, don't forget the power of a strong portfolio.
What’s a Portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of your best work that is intended to showcase what you can do to potential employers. Portfolios are most often created as websites, but with sites like Squarespace and Wix, building and designing your portfolio will turn out easier than you think. You can find some examples of portfolios here.
What Should I Include?
Portfolios can include anything you think would help future employers better understand you and your work. Additionally, they aren’t limited to any specific field. If you’re a writer, you may want to include essays or creative writings you’re most proud of. If you’re a musician, you could include clips of your best performances.
Regardless of your discipline, however, it's important to tailor your portfolio to the specific jobs you're applying for. While it's important to showcase work that you're proud of, you'll be more likely to stand out to employers if you include pieces that are relevant to the organization or job you're applying for.
Your work is important, but employers want to put a face to the name. Consider creating a homepage for your portfolio with a picture of yourself and a short bio. Employers want to get to know you as a person too!
Why Are Portfolios Important?
Not only will a portfolio allow potential employers to see your work in advance, but it also shows your dedication and work ethic. In many cases, portfolios aren’t needed when applying for a job, but including one during your application process demonstrates your efforts.
The work you include also illustrates the range of skills you developed throughout college, based on the variety of assignments that were required. For instance, including an essay about human rights along with a reflection on visual rhetoric shows your capability to adapt your writing to different contexts.
Be Proud of Your Work!
No matter how you go about creating your portfolio, use that time to reflect on how hard you worked during your college experience. Coming from a college student myself, it’s not easy balancing projects, papers, exams, and other assignments, all while trying to produce your best work. Focus on what made you proud and be confident taking these next steps to pursue your post-grad career!
Kristine Dizon is a multi-faceted performer, teacher, writer, author, linguist, and entrepreneur. She is Founder & CEO of the Music & Language Learning Center, The Modern Artist Project and co-founder of the Gran Canaria International Clarinet Festival and American Single Reed Summit. She is an artist for Uebel Clarinets and Silverstein Works. Learn more at www.kristinedizon.com.