Break out of Frames
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Portfolio Sampler
Martin Kimeldorf
By:   Martin Kimeldorf

Though this material is based on my personal experiences in the teaching profession, you can use my models to stimulate thinking about your own occupation. For example, just as I included sketches and computer art work to illustrate my learning and creative bent, you too can include samples of your energy and efforts from a company newsletter, marketing campaign, experimental repair, emergency procedure, community service initiative, budget planning, or webpage design.

In the Career/Outplacement Newsletter (Spring 1997) publisher Louis Persico described an engineer who brought an actual electronic connector that he designed to his interview. When asked about his achievements, the applicant replied, "I can tell you, but let me show you instead." In another situation, a public relations professional brought "before" and "after" articles from the local newspaper. These illustrated her ability to successfully polish the tarnished image of a local hospital. Then there was the human resource manager who employed a computer chart to sum up his efforts in financial and safety management. The chart showed annual savings of over $650,000 resulting from his efforts to reduce workers' compensation claims.

This portfolio sampler begins with the kinds of endorsements many people receive in the form of personal notes, thank-you letters, and e-mail acknowledgments. Later, I combine both a sketch and a computer chart (on a single page) to depict my passion for life-long learning. However, the computer graphic could easily have been paired with the letters relating to my training workshops and seminars. The articles and legislative proposal show how a given artifact may not always be about the portfolio author. In these two examples, I describe my contribution on a project which also involves a number of other people. And, when no single artifact tells the entire story, I then assemble a "collage" of pictures and text to tell the story.

At the top of each page in this sampler, you'll find a heading that introduces the content. Hopefully, the captions on each page help to explain the significance of a given artifact. While the layout in this portfolio has been somewhat standardized with a basic grid, I occasionally departed from the rigid frame structure to accommodate the practicalities of a particular page. (Please note that this sampler contains a variety of styles contained in different layouts. While your own portfolio should have a more consistent look, the goal of the sampler is to provide you with options and ideas.)

Had this portfolio been constructed for a specific job interview, then the captions would be a bit longer. The extra line would incorporate job-related language or "keywords" linking the portfolio sample to a specific employer's expectations. This essential work-world vocabulary could be gathered from job announcements, networking, and research in the library--or online. In addition, I would take only those artifacts or pages which directly relate to the needs of the employer.

Also, you might note that this sample career portfolio uses scanned images and typed text rather than original artifacts. As a result, it becomes a "virtual" portfolio. Because the samples are contained in a computer document, I can quickly modify the content, captions, and entire design to suit different purposes.

Please realize that there is no single way to construct a portfolio. My writing style, sense of design, or sequencing may differ significantly from your approach. In fact, most people will probably use less image-laden wording, and instead use more concrete language taken from their schooling and previous work sites. In the end, there are no hard and fast rules. There is only the invitation to be yourself as you try to effectively communicate your passions, experiences, talents, and accomplishments.
Martin Kimeldorf
About the author

Preface Intro Contents Pg. 1 Pg. 2 Pg. 3 Pg. 4 Pg. 5 Pg. 6 Pg. 7 Pg. 8 Pg. 9 Pg. 10 Resources

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      Martin Kimeldorf,      
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