Kimeldorf Library Portfolio Library Martin Kimeldorf
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Why use a Portfolio in Your Job Search?

  When the English author Charles Handy first poetically advised people in the early 1990s to view careers as a portfolio of work, he was trying to describe the fact that individuals have to manage their own careers the way one manages a financial portfolio. The metaphor also alluded to the fact that most people will be better off if they view their career as a collection of jobs, rather than a linear job-ladder.

In my book, Portfolio Power: The New Way to Showcase All Your Job Skills and Experiences, I am trying to turn Handy's metaphor about work into a flesh-and-blood job search tool by describing how to assemble effective portfolios and the different ways a portfolio can enhance one's career. I am in good company here. If you read any of the career newsletters or advice columns you'll note that job seekers at all levels (from college grads to executives) are advised to do three things to survive and thrive in these times:
  1. Think of careers as portfolios of work
  2. Think of themselves in terms of a "portable" skill-set and not as a job title
  3. Conduct their future job search in an entrepreneurial fashion, as if they were marketing a product called "Me Inc."
Using a real portfolio supports all of these concepts. A portfolio can help a job seeker or career changer present his or her talents in a convincing and fresh manner. Job seekers and career changers continue to search for a new angle in a world grown bored with resumes, and my book addresses this continuing need.

Portfolios help people portray their skill set convincingly during an interview, employee evaluation, college admission process, or loan application. Precedent and current practice supports my contention that the traditional portfolio can be used in new and creative approaches in career development. For instance, in the past artists, actors, and designers have successfully used portfolios in their search for freelance assignments. Today the temporary nature of most positions forces everyone to re-examine how they view their career. In a sense, today, we all work freelance -- and we all can profit from using a portfolio. In addition, schools in the US, Canada, England, and France currently use portfolios as part of education reform. Thus, the concept of a portfolio and its use in a job search is more common than you might suspect. Portfolio Power: [available online from] comes with a foreword by Joyce Lain Kennedy and endorsements of many experts.


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