In a post I wrote earlier, I already stated that resumes are not as important as the cover letter that accompanies them.
Resumes are overviews of where you worked, how long and what your job title is. And even though we spent a lot of time telling everyone how your job title doesn’t matter (it’s the work you’re doing that counts), we simultaneously put a lot of effort in actually getting a nice title since that’s the only thing that matters on your resume.
Now, it’s easy for me to say that a resume is useless, but as Henry Ford once said: “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”.
If you’re applying for a job, your future employer still has to be able to compare you with the other candidates. And if you (like me) feel that a resume is pretty useless, you’ll need to send in something else that shows what you’re capable of. This is where the portfolio comes in.
In a portfolio, you don’t focus on the companies you’re worked with, but the projects you’ve done. You show the things that you did (or helped in) and that you’re proud about. When using a portfolio when you apply for a job, the person who has to make the call will see what you’re about (not what your degree is and who you’ve worked with).
Designers, artists, musicians and so on often use portfolios. They are, however, rarely used outside the creative sector. Nowadays, our professional and private lives are more connected than ever. Some people have been working in open-source communities for years, doing great stuff, but can’t really add that to their resumes since it’s more of a hobby rather than a real job. When using what you do to promote yourself, you’ll be able to share your passion and you’ll give your future boss the chance to look at your cover letter much more personal.
You can check out my portfolio right here. I can warmly recommend trying to build your own, even if you’re not looking for a new professional challenge. Once you start putting the things you’re proud of together, it will be easier for you to explore what’s really driving you, what your passion is, what’s important to you (for the difference between urgent and important, check my previous post).