Why an Interview Portfolio Will Land You the Job (Featuring a Sample)

Jan 7, 2020 | Guest Experts, Interviews

A graphic detailing the title of this post on Sample Interview Portfolios featuring a photo of guest author Merryn Roberts-Huntley and Let's Eat, Grandma's yellow pencil logo.

Even if you’ve made it to the interview stage, you still need to stand out. Learn how to do so with this sample portfolio for your next job interview.

By: Daniel Lorenzo | Marketing Manager for Let’s Eat, Grandma (with Merryn Roberts-Huntley of Made to Hire)

You spent hours on your resume. You prepared for the interview and answered their questions well. You even sent a thank-you note… and still didn’t get the job.

What were you missing? A secret weapon.

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Most job seekers simply bring a copy of their resume into the interview. Imagine the impression you’d make if you came in with a full booklet! With a simple set of additional documents, you can make a better case for your qualifications than anyone else.

Find out why and how to create a portfolio for your next job interview (we’ve even included a sample portfolio) with these tips from Merryn Roberts-Huntley.

What is an Interview Portfolio?

An interview portfolio (or career portfolio) is a set of documents you can bring to a job interview for reference. It goes beyond your resume with supplemental documents to further show your suitability for the job.

These are documents that you would not submit with your application – it’s way too much information for that point in the process. 

Rather, the genius of using a portfolio for a job interview is that the documents provide a specific, personal, and interactive experience for the interviewer(s). You have a captive audience, now wow them!

You’ll reference each document throughout the interview. So, print one copy of your portfolio out for each person who will be interviewing you. (Email the recruiter to find out how many interviewers there will be if you need to.) 

They’ll be provided with visual references of the specific, relevant stories you give as answers to their questions (you already know that you need to answer with specific, relevant stories, right?).

Ready to see a sample job interview portfolio and find out what to include?

A Sample Job Interview Portfolio: 7 Things to Include

Here are seven items (one optional) that you’ll include in your portfolio for your next job interview. (Example images are included for each.)

An example of a cover page, one of the essential elements of a job interview portfolio.
An example of a visual resume, one of the optional elements of this sample job interview portfolio.
A sample of a professional recommendation letter for a job written by the employee asking for the recommendation. Courtesy of Merryn Roberts-Huntley of Made to Hire.
An example of an applicant's suitability map, one of the essential elements of a job interview portfolio.
An example of an applicant's 30-60-90 day map, one of the essential elements of a job interview portfolio.
An example of an applicant's work sample, one of the essential elements of a job interview portfolio.

#1) Cover Page

Starting with a cover page gives a great first impression. The interviewers will be honored by the personal touch and impressed with your dedication and level of detail.

Include your name, the job title, and the phrase “Packet Prepared For ___” filled out with each interviewer’s name.

#2) Resume 

This sounds familiar! Include the resume you used to apply after the cover page to refresh them on your background. (If you need tips here, check out these blogs.)

#3) Visual Resume (Optional)

Did you want to show off your creative side with a non-traditional resume, but decided against it? Now’s your chance! 

Creative resumes are often unique and eye-catching, but they don’t always work in applications. While they’re great for specifically creative/visual positions at small companies, they’re risky for traditional companies and roles. Plus, ATS systems can wreak havoc on them, so they might not make it to human eyes.

If one of these factors made you decide against applying with a visual resume, include one here. It will show off your creative side and catch the interviewers’ attention.

#4) Recommendation Letter

We’ve written before on the power of including a professional letter of recommendation. We recommend writing your own letter before asking your reference to edit and sign it. (This makes getting an effective letter from a busy person much more likely.)

The letter only needs to be around a half a page, and it will lend considerable credibility to your interview portfolio.

#5) Suitability Map

This one is a gamechanger. If you got the interview, your resume was already tailored to the job description. The suitability map goes one step further to secure your chances.

 A suitability map is like a diagram that matches your qualifications to the demands of the job. With exact phrases from the job description paired with your applicable experience, it’s a simple visual checklist of why you’re qualified.

Since you can’t include the entire job description, focus on 5-7 qualifications that you want to draw attention to. This will highlight your best experience and draw attention away from anything you feel less confident in.

#6) 30-60-90 Day Plan

You might seem qualified, but how do the interviewers know if you’ll transition well? Because you’ll show them exactly how you will.

Including a 30-60-90 day plan shows that you have the future in mind. It lays out how you’ll transition into the role and ensure your long-term success.

#7) Work Samples

Finally, bring it all home with tangible examples of your most notable projects. Include 2-3 of these to supplement your specific stories with visual breakdowns. 

These will help the interviewers follow along; you can reference them for the context and detail you need to illustrate your expertise.

That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Hopefully, this sample job interview portfolio has inspired you to go create your own. Do so, and you’ll start seeing results – we promise.

For more interview advice like this sample interview portfolio be sure to check out Made to Hire.
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