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What kinds of work samples can or should you include in your portfolio?

You might be surprised by the variety of work samples you can use. Check out the list below to get started.

How many work samples should you include?

In general, be selective about what you feature. If you include too many examples, employers may experience information overload. They may also question your ability to identify the work that best illustrates your skills. If you include too few, employers may think you are inexperienced. Keep it simple and showcase only your best. Most of the time, less is more.

How should you get started selecting your work samples?

Start by creating an outline. Make a list of your skills, knowledge, and experience. This will help you categorize your work. The type of work samples you include will depend on your occupation and industry. Here are some examples:

Occupation You could include
Artist Photographs of your paintings, illustrations, sculptures, etc.
Chef or baker Photographs of your culinary creations
Dancer, actor, musician Video and/or audio recordings of your work
Designer Photos of graphic, interior, or web design work
Facilitator or trainer Copies of presentation or training materials, participant evaluations, and video recordings of your presentations
Mechanic Pictures of auto restorations
Multimedia specialist Copies of interactive programs you have created
Photographer Prints of your photographs
Public relations specialist Copies of press work and marketing plans as well as results of event promotions
Office support staff Brochures, reports, newsletters, spreadsheets, and other examples of work that you have completed
Researcher Copies of research reports, peer reviews, technical documents, and articles in newspapers and professional journals as well as any awards received
Sales person Graphs showing sales results
Tailor or seamstress Pictures of the clothing that you have produced (and wear your own creations to the job interview)
Teacher Copies of lesson plans, class projects, and assignments
Writer Copies of blogs, newspapers, and journal articles as well as grant proposals, reports, marketing plans, etc.

Other sources of work samples include hobbies, sports, scouts, hunting, fishing, crafts, volunteer work, and other interests. You could even include leadership, teamwork, or “before and after” examples. Make sure you update the samples in your portfolio regularly.