Portfolios are significantly useful tools for marketing yourself.



A portfolio can consist of a variety of items which may be examples of items listed on your resume or may illustrate accomplishments, skills, and achievements not listed on your resume. It is important when sending a copy of your portfolio with an application to consider what materials will be pertinent to the position. Like your resume, it is a good idea to have a master portfolio from with you can pull materials from for each portfolio you send out.

Organizing Your Portfolio

  • Determine the skills necessary for the job you will be interviewing for
  • Choose skills that will document how you have used those skills
  • Use a professional looking portfolio notebook
  • Utilize plastic page covers for arranging your materials and protecting them
  • Label the different sections to ease finding information and grouping materials

What to Include in Your Portfolio

When developing your portfolio, consider including:

  • A table of contents.
  • Resume and/or Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Official copies of your transcript.
  • A fact sheet, in list form, that displays your skills and professional interests.
  • A list of experiences that might not fit into your resume.
  • Certificates of awards and honors; certifications for special trainings.
  • A program or flyer from the event(s) you planned or participated in.
  • A list of conferences & workshops you have attended with descriptions.
  • Samples of your writing, including research papers and other academic work.
  • Documentation of technical or computer skills.
  • Letters of commendation or thanks.
  • Letters of nomination to honors and academic organizations.
  • Newspaper articles that address achievements.
  • Internship or co-op summary report.
  • Personal statements, goals statements, statements of purpose.
  • Documents specific to your field (i.e. artist statements).
  • Photos demonstrating your professional experience, including captions.
  • A disk containing your E-Portfolio.


When applying for an employment position,employers will typically request references, which should be supplied in a list format. Place the list of your references on a separate page from your resume, using the same letterhead containing your name and contact information in order to make all of your documents look uniform and professional. Perhaps the most important thing to do while creating a references page is to make sure that you gain the permission of the individuals you are listing. Employers will contact them and it is imperative that they know you are listing their names and contact information on a document. By doing this, you can strengthen the relationship you already have with your references.

Why Not to Include References on Your Resume

  • Space on your resume is limited and extremely valuable to market your skills.
  • If you were to upload your resume online, your references sensitive contact information may be visible to many people.
  • Presenting your references on a separate document will make you seem more professional and organized.
  • If the instructions of an application specifically tell you to place references on your resume, follow those instructions, as employers may have specific preferences.

What to Include on Your References Page

  • Typically 3 individuals are enough to include, unless otherwise directed by the employer or school.
  • You should choose individuals whom you have a professional relationship with, such as professors and supervisors. These individuals should also be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, personality, and professional/academic background.
  • List your references in the other that you would want them to be contacted, as most employers will simply work their way down the list.
  • Include the name, title, organization/employer, address, e-mail address, and phone number of all individuals you want to list.
  • You may also include 1-2 short sentences describing your relationship with each person and the environment in which you corresponded.

Download a Sample References Page (WORD DOCUMENT) kinestic copy (1)

Creating an E-Portfolio

An E-Portfolio, if requested or expected by an employer or school you are applying to, can be even more effective at showing your creativity and professionalism and is easy for others to access. Many employers and schools only want your resume, cover letter, etc. sent electronically, so it is important to also have a virtual version of your portfolio organized and ready to send. By using an E-Portfolio, employers will be able to identify that you are familiar with various types of computer programs and technologies, which is very important, especially in fields such as computer science, graphic design, music, and others that depend highly on technology. Electronic portfolios allow for additional documentation than printed versions and can include items such as:

  • Audio clips, such as your boss giving a positive evaluation of you.
  • Video clips, such as you on the job.
  • Links to e-mail addresses.
  • Links to the UIS homepage and your programs website.
  • Links to your professional networking website.
  • Online materials you have created, such as graphics or animations.

You can also supplement the hard copy of your portfolio with a CD or PowerPoint presentation containing your E-Portfolio!

Tools for Portfolios

Additional Resources

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