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Professionalism & Etiquette – Portfolios and Proof of Work

Cite this article as: Jason Mance Gordon, "Professionalism & Etiquette – Portfolios and Proof of Work," in The Business Professor, updated December 15, 2019, last accessed April 8, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/knowledge-base/professionalism-etiquette-portfolios-and-proof-of-work/.

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You have spent a great deal of time developing your knowledge, skills, and ability. There is no reason to let any of that effort go to waste. You should work to find a way to translate any of your prior work into a portfolio or proof of work. This can be useful when you seek promotion or when you are searching for a new job. In fact, some jobs will require you to demonstrate past proof of work when applying for the position.

Professional Business Portfolio

The term “business portfolio” is used to refer to a collection of prior work. Commonly, it is used by business development folks to sell new clients on the company. In this situation, however, we are reviewing its use for personal career goals.
Generally, a portfolio can either be physical or electronic. The modern standard is that all portfolios be in digital format. There is no standard organization for a business portfolio. It will depend largely upon the type of work or skills that you are attempting to demonstrate. Often, they come to look like a large, substantiated resume. Common elements might include:

  • List of certifications and official qualifications
  • Lists of accomplishments (go deeper than the resume)
  • Work performance reports or reviews.
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Writing samples
  • List of projects you worked on.
  • Displays of technical or analytical skills.
  • Awards or News Articles about your work.
  • Business documents displaying your work product

Portfolios are common for fields that require presentation or artistic skills, such as marketing (including advertising, sales, and public relations).
Here are some general tips for putting together are portfolio:

  • Make certain your name and contact information are at the front.
  • Provide an outline/index/table of contents of what is included inside.
  • Make it as concise as possible.
  • Make certain it is well organized and easy to read. This will involve using colors, tabs, pagination, etc.
  • Avoid displaying work that is easily attributable to a former client (unless you clearly print that you have permission to use the work for demonstration).

Proof of Work

Proof of work is a less formal version of a portfolio. Most business professions do not require formal portfolios. Proof of work, however, is extremely useful for every professional. It is particularly useful for statistical analysis, computer programming, strategic analysis, business planning, financial modeling, or economic analysis. If you are in school, much of the work that you created for classes

How you use proof of work will change depending on your situation and objectives. It can be attached as a sample of work when applying for jobs. It can also be posted on LinkedIn as a testament to knowledge, skills, or ability. The wonderful thing about LinkedIn is that you can simply link to a separate database or URL that contains your work.

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