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Career portfolios are used to plan, organize and document education, work samples and skills. People use career portfolios to apply to jobs, apply to college or training programs, get a higher salary, show transferable skills, and to track personal development. They are more in-depth than a resume, which is used to summarize the above in one or two pages. Career portfolios serve as proof of one's skills, abilities, and potential in the future. Career portfolios are becoming common in high schools, college, and workforce development. Many school programs will have students create, update, and use a career portfolio before moving on to the next level in life.
Career portfolios help with a job or acceptance into higher education institutes. A career portfolio should be personal and contain critical information. Items that should be included include (but are not limited to) personal information, evaluations, sample work, and awards and acknowledgments. Career portfolios are often kept in a simple three-ring binder or online as an electronic portfolio and updated often. A career portfolio is used as a marketing tool in selling oneself for personal advancement. In some industries, employers or admission offices commonly request a career portfolio, so it is a wise idea to have an updated one on hand.
In the 21st century web technology has filtered its way into portfolios especially in the digital work place job market. While traditional C.V. style portfolios still dominate the portfolio world it is common to back it up with a website containing personal statements, contact details and experience.
Social portfolio web sites such as LinkedIn have become popular, as have services from websites which offer to host portfolios for clients.
Creative Professionals are also looking to portfolio websites as a means of presenting their work in a more professional and elegant manner.
A typical type of a portfolio is one used by artists. An artist's portfolio consists of artwork that the artist can take to job interviews, conferences, galleries, and other networking opportunities to showcase his or her work, and give others an idea of what type of genre the artist works in. Art Portfolios, sometimes called "artfolios", can be a variety of sizes, and usually consist of approximately ten to twenty photographs of the artist's best works. Some artists create multiple portfolios to showcase different styles and to apply for different types of jobs. For instance, one portfolio may be mainly for doing technical illustrations and another may be for surreal painting or sculpture.
Models and actors often use electronic portfolios to showcase their career with a digital display of their photos, biographies and skills. Talent portfolios can also include video.
Animators typically use demo reels, also known as "demo tapes", in place of or in addition to portfolios to demonstrate their skills to potential employers. Demo tapes have historically been short VHS tapes, but most are now DVDs. Demo reels are normally less than two minutes in length and showcase some of the animator's best works.
In industries that do not commonly use portfolios, a portfolio can be a way to stand out from the competition during job interviews. For example, programmers can use portfolios in addition to a resume in order to showcase their best work and highlight challenging projects.