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Do you need to provide a leave-behind of the work in your portfolio?

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Is your portfolio still in hardcopy format? Or, are bringing an electronic version of your portfolio to job interviews?

If you’re using a tablet to display your professional portfolio, a brief leave-behind is a memorable way to share your top, most relevant samples at a meeting with a client or employer.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo credit: Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Should I have a hardcopy or digital version of my portfolio?

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A professional portfolio helps to showcase your best work with a networking contact or potential employer. Whether you’re a communications specialist, writer, graphic designer or photographer, a portfolio allows you to demonstrate your expertise and skills with strategically selected work samples.

When I was a budding PR professional early in my career, I poured over my portfolio. I scrutinized and selected different examples of my work on many different types of projects, such as written news releases, social media projects and events to ensure my expertise and experience shined through. I combed through, scanned and formatted letters of reference and notes on my past performance to complement these samples with third-party references.

Then, I spent hours printing and compiling the work samples on high-quality paper, putting them all into a binder with customized tabs and plastic page covers. The finished product was in a large binder that weighed a ton and required constant maintenance to keep it relevant.

However, all this was before tablets were mainstream. A tablet with a nine-inch display is about the size of paper, but looks much more sophisticated.

The tablet has made the evolution from a hardcopy to a digital version of a portfolio possible. Thankfully, showcasing your work on a tablet can save a communications professional the trouble of printing materials and keeping up a binder. In an interview or meeting, using this technology in an innovative way by flipping through polished work samples can reflect positively on your professionalism, potentially having a positive impact on the image you put forward overall.

What are your thoughts on digital portfolios? Would you bring a digital version of a portfolio to an interview in other industries than the communications industry?

How do I know what experience to include on my resume?

Let’s get to the bottom of why laundry lists should stay in the laundry room… and not be on your resume.

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Have you ever seen a professional resume that listed someone’s entire work history? If you answered “yes”, you probably found yourself distracted by irrelevant employment or volunteer experience, rather than thinking about what made the person a good candidate for the job or industry.

Even if scooping ice cream, working at the University of Toronto library while completing your undergraduate degree or dog walking are among the recent jobs you’ve had, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be including these roles among your relevant professional experience on your resume.

One way to rule out a previous job or volunteer role is to think about the transferable skills you gained.  For example, if you were a server in the past, did you wait tables for two months while backpacking in a foreign country? Or, did you work at work at one establishment for an extended period of time, increasing your responsibility by leading shifts or locking the doors at the end of the night? The latter scenario may convey to a potential employer that you have many valuable transferable skills – such as leadership, managing others, dedication to succeeding in a job and being responsible and trustworthy – although at first glance, the basic job of being a server not directly relate to your professional career.

The key is identifying the transferable skills you have from previous roles, and highlighting them on your resume in a way that is aligned with the job or volunteer role you want.  If the skills don’t match up, get rid of a job that doesn’t relate from your resume altogether.  In other words, the roles you include should be on your resume because they demonstrate your skills and abilities, not just to fill a “laundry list” of every job you’ve had.

A last thought – you may need to get creative if removing the irrelevant experience from your resume leaves gaps in your employment timeline.  Consider adding headers into your resume that group “Relevant Experience”, which includes all work and volunteer roles that are directly related to the job in question, vs. “Other Experience”.  This type of structure can help demonstrate that you’ve been employed consistently over the years.

What tips do you have for identifying relevant work experience? Do you consider the transferable skills in previous roles, or other factors, when populating your experience on your resume?

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisgold/4785018920/”>ChrisGoldNY</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://c