What can you do as a student to move your future forward? Create a professional portfolio. The work you put into this organized collection of goals and accomplishments now, will prepare you to stand up to the competition later.
There are many documents and notes to keep, along with “to-do’s” to consider when building your portfolio. This list is a good starting point and you can add other things along the way.
- Make a list of all your accomplishments including awards you’ve received, achievements, GPA etc.
- Take a job at the school in the lab or other area within your program of study
- Volunteer and keep a list of all hours and work completed and funds raised
- Become involved and join local chapters and associations through your school or community
- Practice interviewing with friends, roommates or in the mirror
- Think like an entrepreneur and consider opportunities that can push you outside your comfort level
- Find ways to keep yourself updated with latest trends and developments in the industry
- Create your personal network including professors, local businesses, volunteers, mentors etc.
- Volunteer to speak at an industry seminar or event
- Attend industry events and conferences
- Keep a list of transferable skills
- Get personal networking business cards made with your name, phone, and email address
- Get a professional email address. (Sorry, email@example.com will not help you move forward in your career!)
- Ask people in your personal circle what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. Keep a list of your strengths and work on fixing your weaknesses!
- Ask for letters of recommendation from professors, managers, volunteer committee heads etc.
- Write down your goals and how you can achieve them
- Think outside the box to find ways to cultivate your combination of values, passions, talents and goals
Creating your personal, professional portfolio involves considerable effort but should also be fun. It's a good way to toot your own horn and the payoff might be just what you hope for; landing the perfect job upon graduation.