Woodruff and Colleagues

ncreasing Team Productivity

When in my studies for my BA, Psych and Career Development, one of the course requirements was to build a portfolio.  I’d heard of portfolios before but thought only artists and architects used them.  It was a very enlightening, albeit time-consuming, experience, and I’ve always appreciated having it available to me since.  We had to gather and organize all of the materials we had created in the past to prove to potential employers that we actually had the skills and had applied them.  A portfolio is a very powerful item to have with you in an interview!  I drew from essays in school, to collaborative teamwork, to having acted in a play, to recording and translating coaching sessions.  I even included the video recording from when training in the Xerox Sales Training program.  Once we had created both the box of every document, video, recording that was organized in a very specific way, and the take-along binder of specific pieces of our work that we may take to an interview, we had to submit them for marking.  I had to drive 3 hours to the instructor’s office to drop them off, and went back to pick them up a few weeks later.  Apparently, I had done an excellent job as my mark was 100%.  Some of the things I learned from that course I still do for myself and encourage my clients to do.  Identifying skills was a big part of it, as was the very detailed and unique way to present your list of references.  I recall the very first time I used my portfolio in an interview, and I had been coached to use a PowerPoint presentation as well (The role I was applying for required excellent facilitation skills).  I got the job, but what really struck me was when one of the interviewers approached me afterward and told me I’d “blown them away!  Nobody did anything even close!”.


I’ve worked with thousands of clients, and I cannot recall even 1 who had created a portfolio.  The big problem is that it isn’t something that can be created within a day or two in preparation for an interview, partly because it’s time-consuming to gather and organize all of the material, but also because some of the material may not even be at your fingertips.  I encourage you to start now to build a portfolio, and if you have teenagers in high school, encourage them to start now too.  Draw from the multitude of technology available to us today.  Take videos, include pictures of you working on a team, put those essays to good use, and, of course, enjoy re-visiting your accomplishments.


Would you like the shopping list for what you’ll need to create your own personal portfolio?  You can get it here.

The content in all blogs is the point of view of the blog author and is based on their experiences.   Readers have the option to disagree, and/or, disregard any information in any blog.

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