A portfolio for a job interview is a compilation of your professional background and credentials. You can use it to give interviewers more concrete proof of your experience and suitability for the job.

A typical job interview portfolio consists of a summary of your previous work experience or a list of clients or companies you’ve worked with, samples of your work, a range of ideal skills you possess that are an excellent fit for the role, and professional or character references.

Read on to learn more about the importance of an interview portfolio and find out what should be included in it so that it gauges the interest of potential recruiters.

Key Takeaways

  • A portfolio for a job interview is a compilation of all your job experiences, awards, professional recommendations, and sample work.
  • Submitting an interview portfolio to your recruiters helps make your job application stand out and lets you underscore skills and work experience relevant to the role.
  • A typical portfolio for a job interview contains a striking cover page, your professional background, awards, certifications, recommendations, and a summary of your expertise.

What is a Portfolio for a Job Interview?

A portfolio for a job interview, also called an employability portfolio, is a combination of all the credentials and sample work that you have accomplished from your previous jobs. It represents your professional milestones, capabilities, skill sets, and behavioral edge over other candidates for your target role.

These days, job hunting has become more competitive, with approximately 90% of job seekers using social media to find work opportunities and several companies offering both office-based and remote job openings.

As such, it is not enough to simply tell recruiters about your skills and level of expertise in your respective field. You must also have solid proof to support your claims to increase your chances of impressing the interviewer and possibly landing your dream job.

An effective job interview portfolio should cover all the key aspects of your employment history. It must also be tailored to suit the role or job you want to acquire. That said, it is best to keep your portfolio detailed and up-to-date at all times.

5 Important Reasons for Having an Interview Portfolio

5 Important Reasons for Having an Interview Portfolio

Aside from giving interviewers evidence of your accomplishments, having an interview portfolio is also a great way to keep track of your career milestones. Here are additional reasons why setting aside some time to build your portfolio for a job interview is important:

#1. It Provides Visual Aids for Your Job Experience

Recruiters go through mountains of application forms and read through dozens of resumes on a regular basis. Adding a visual element to your portfolio makes your application more interesting and memorable.

You can include photos and video snippets depicting you with former colleagues while on the job or sample presentations and promotional videos you’ve created for clients and projects in the past.

Or, if you’re applying to work for a non-profit organization, it would be ideal to add photos with short descriptions of the volunteer experiences you’ve participated in.

#2. It Helps You Stand Out

Your portfolio is also like an advertisement for your professional track record.

Imagine applying for a job with several other applicants who are also eager to showcase their skill set. Surely, you would want to make a good first impression and draw the attention of the recruiters to your credentials instead.

You also want to make your job interview portfolio unique and not look like a carbon copy of every other portfolio submitted by other applicants.

#3. You Can Emphasize Relevant Skills

Whether you’re a freelancer or someone looking to land your next permanent and long-term job, a portfolio for a job interview allows you to highlight experiences and skills that are relevant to the role or position.

For instance, if you are applying for a managerial role, you can format your portfolio for a job interview in such a way that hiring specialists will see your leadership skills listed first.

At the same time, you can tailor your portfolio to present your latest work experience or your top proficiencies first. In this manner, recruiters can see the most recent job positions you’ve filled and check relevant skills and qualities more easily.

#4. It Effectively Piques the Interest of Other Recruiters

According to Canva, over 57% of recruiters and hiring managers now prefer resumes containing visual details.

With that in mind, your portfolio for a job interview should strike the perfect balance between having text-based information and visual aids to support the skills and experiences listed on your resume.

The goal is to capture the recruiters’ attention for all the right reasons and keep them engaged enough to read through your resume and portfolio from beginning to end.

#5. It Shows Your Dedication to the Role

Preparing a portfolio for a job interview is no easy feat. It takes time, effort, and attention to detail.

The more elaborately you prepare your interview portfolio, the more likely hiring managers will get the impression that you can be hardworking and committed to producing excellent work. Conversely, your portfolio gives you an opportunity to showcase your creativity and presentation skills as well.

What Should Be Included in Your Interview Portfolio?

What Should Be Included in Your Interview Portfolio?

When creating an interview portfolio, the key is to make it visually appealing while also ensuring it passes the so-called 60-second test of recruiters.

The 60-second test is a term used to refer to the time that recruiters spend on each resume when reviewing which job applications they deem should move on to the next stage of the hiring process.

We’ve enumerated the six essential elements that your portfolio for a job interview should possess to ensure it passes the 60-second test and make interviewers curious enough to want to book you for a job interview.

#1. Introduction


The first and most crucial detail that you must focus on is an interview portfolio cover page. Try to add a personal touch to your cover page’s layout and make sure it represents your branding.

Think about how the cover of a book captures your attention, from the intricate to the intentional details that add clues to the context of the story. Using that analogy, visualize your cover page and think of a layout that represents you as a professional.

Don’t forget to include your full name and job title on the cover page. Moreover, you can take it a step further by adding the interviewer’s or recruiter’s name on the cover of your portfolio.

You can add something along the lines of Prepared for [Recruiter’s name] or Portfolio Prepared for [Interviewer’s name].

#2. Professional Background

When adding your professional background, follow the reverse chronological order, meaning that your most recent roles or jobs should be at the top of your professional experience, followed by work experiences that you’ve fulfilled at the beginning of your career.

If you are a fresh graduate or a student, you can focus on listing your educational background instead, as well as relevant school activities that underscore your qualities and skills to work under pressure and collaborate with a team.

These school activities can range from joining school organizations, managing class teams, and organizing events at your university or college.

Ideally, recruiters prefer going through your career experience with a single glance. However, the length will also depend on the amount or level of professional experience that you have. At best, try to keep your professional background around two to four pages long.

#3. Awards & Certifications

You can set aside one to two pages to cite all the certifications and awards you’ve received from your previous jobs. Some examples of awards and certifications worth including in your portfolio for a job interview are:

  • Performance-based awards, such as Employee of the Month or Employee of the Year, Best in Leadership, and Excellent Attendance Record awards
  • Certifications that focus on business, language, leadership, or technical skills
  • IT, Microsoft, or Google certifications
  • Certifications of completing entrepreneurial or business-related courses
  • Academic achievements, including school leadership awards, peer awards, and cum laude distinctions
  • The most recent feedback on your performance from your boss or manager

#4. Professional Recommendations

Professional Recommendations

Attaching a letter of recommendation from your previous boss helps boost your credibility and impress recruiters even more with your track record. Professional recommendations are also more detailed compared to the usual testimonials or professional references.

When choosing a former colleague or supervisor to create your letter of recommendation, focus on finding a reference from your recent work. Make sure you get permission from your preferred references first so you can include their name and contact information in your interview portfolio.

If you’re a student, you can ask your college professor to provide your character references or create a recommendation letter for you.

#5. Work Samples

The section showcasing your sample work illustrates the specific capabilities that you possess that fellow applicants do not. Your work samples can be either of the following:

  • Design samples, graphics, or layouts
  • Marketing presentations and materials
  • Business or project proposals
  • Project plans
  • Database infrastructure
  • Marketing and team performance reports
  • Published articles or a blog page, if you have one
  • Video presentations
  • Links to your website
  • Links and screenshots of websites you’ve created


For fresh graduates and students, some sample work you can include in your portfolio for a job interview includes:

  • Essays, journals, research papers, and creative writing samples
  • Short films
  • Photography and short documentaries
  • Artwork, paintings, designs, sketches, and 3D renderings
  • Proposals and activity plans for school organizations

#6. Sign Off or Close

Sign Off or Close

The sign-off or closing section of your job interview portfolio is where you should summarize your skills and credentials in two to three sentences. You can also cite specific problems that you believe you can help solve with your capabilities and expertise.

To ensure you leave a strong and lasting impact, use power phrases similar to the examples below:

  • I am a solution-oriented and dependable PPC specialist whose commitment is to help your business achieve results with accuracy and precision.
  • Throughout my years of experience overseeing administrative services, I have consistently demonstrated a high level of leadership competence and encouraged my colleagues to prioritize efficiency in fulfilling their responsibilities.


If you want to take it a step further and provide more concrete contingency plans for your potential employer, you can also use the 30-60–90 plan, wherein you offer solutions to specific or typical concerns involved in your specific industry, segmented in 30-day intervals.

You must also include your contact information and a link to your LinkedIn profile.

4 Expert Tips for Creating a Job Interview Portfolio

Now that you know the essential components of a portfolio for a job interview, here are some professional tips to help you create a portfolio that best suits your professional profile and career:

#1. Include Your Best Work

An effective way to create an outstanding portfolio that’ll increase your chances of landing an interview is to include your best work. Your best work means a sample of your work that has earned the most praise from your clients and colleagues.

It can also be your previous work that has helped your team attain key performance metrics and objectives.

If you are a digital marketing specialist, you can send copies of promotional campaigns you’ve created that help your employer or client achieve their core business goals. Meanwhile, if you are a web designer, then compile the design work that you feel most proud of.

#2. Tailor It to the Job

You don’t have to add all of your job experiences, especially if they are not directly related to the role or position. The goal of preparing a portfolio for a job interview is to market your expertise and showcase your professional branding.

By editing your portfolio and ensuring it contains relevant experiences and skills, your credentials become more to the point. Consequently, recruiters can easily gauge whether you are a good fit for the company or not.

They can quickly go through your list of skills and job experiences to assess whether your level of expertise meets their expectations.

#3. Proofread

Never forget to proofread your portfolio and resume, no matter how perfect-looking or spotless they may seem. You may have missed out on a couple of typos or mistakenly added the wrong year when listing your educational and professional background.

Take the time to check the quality of the images in your portfolio and make sure they are of excellent quality. If you added videos or links to your website, open each link one by one to guarantee that all links are working perfectly.

#4. Use Free & Available Tools Online

Take advantage of free and available tools online, such as Canva, Google Slides, Google Docs, and Microsoft Office, which you can use to build your portfolio. Most of these sample tools also offer templates and examples of portfolios for job applications.

You can also use ZapResume’s resume and cover letter writing services and the online resume builder to create a winning resume to pair with your portfolio.

Portfolio for Job Interview: Example

Here is a portfolio for a job interview example to serve as your basis in building one on your own:

Professional Portfolio

by Julianne James, Managing Director

Prepared for Natalia McGrane

Managing Director, Texas Corp

March 2021–April 2024

  • Supervised a team of 15 employees in implementing projects and strategies aimed at enhancing the company’s core operations and retention rates.
  • Proposed and designed sales and success campaigns that significantly led to the improvement of the company’s overall ROI rates by 25%.
  • Collaborated with fellow managers and various department heads in administering training programs meant to boost the efficiency, technical skills, and critical thinking of employees.
  • Directed cross-functional collaboration among executives and managers to help them develop and customize risk mitigation strategies for different clients.


General Manager, Texas Corp

May 2017–February 2021

  • Periodically evaluated the key performance metrics of the company’s operational departments.
  • Facilitated various skills training programs for managers to boost their knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.
  • Managed and strengthened the company’s internal operations, employee engagement, and retention programs.


Lead Information Officer, Brimswell Inc.

June 2015–April 2017

  • Worked closely with the company’s Director of Information and Technology in preparing and executing data management strategies and improving existing IT policies.
  • Trained and monitored the performance of a team of 10 IT professionals.
  • Managed, enhanced, and regulated the company’s software development, IT systems, and data processing best practices

Awards and Certifications

  • Director of the Year, 2021
  • Certified Business Manager, 2021
  • Certified Management Accountant, 2018
  • Employee of the Month, 2016 and 2017

Professional Recommendations

Julianne is very goal-oriented and tenacious. She is consistent, innovative, and straightforward. She’s the type of leader you know you can depend on in times of crisis. Any team or company would be lucky to have her.”—Jarvis Colton, CTO-Global, Texas Group

If perfection is what you seek in a leader, then Julianne is what you are looking for. She is a leader who faces obstacles and challenges head-on. When a strategy doesn’t work or when employee performances are lacking, she doesn’t sugarcoat or mince words. Her methods may be more direct and bold, consistently meets expectations, and brings you quantifiable results.” —Martha E.S., Client Relations Executive, Brimswell Inc.

Sign Off or Close

Faye Wattleton once said, “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” With almost a decade of experience in managing and leading teams to success, I am confident that I can brave any obstacle or storm and create a path to excellence for your company.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the secrets to creating an impressive portfolio for a job interview, you can boost your chances of getting considered for an interview and even land your dream job!

Remember, your job interview portfolio is akin to an advertisement of your core competencies and most notable achievements in your career. As such, you must take your time experimenting with different layouts and finding one that best showcases your unique set of skills and qualifications for the job.