How to create a digital leave-behind of the work in your portfolio

Are hardcopies passe

In many industries, such as communications, journalism and graphic design, it is helpful to bring a portfolio of work samples with you to job interviews. Potential employers can review your portfolio to gain an understanding of your skills, experience and talents.

If you have a portfolio, is yours still in hardcopy format, such as in a book or binder? Or, have you created an electronic version of your portfolio? Learn more about digital and hardcopy versions of portfolios here.

Bringing “leave-behind” is a way to provide your top, most relevant work samples to a potential employer so that they can review the samples in more detail after the meeting. Preparing a leave-behind in advance and having it ready to share can also demonstrate how on-the-ball you are.

Leave-behinds are traditionally hardcopies. But if you have a digital portfolio, you might want to consider using a digital version of the leave-behind too. An example is using an inexpensive USB stick to house PDFs of your best, most-relevant work samples. Have it ready to hand over at the meeting. Label it with your name, but don’t expect to get the USB stick back! Or, you can compile the PDFs using a free online file-sharing service like Dropbox, and then email the link to the potential employer promptly after the meeting.

Would you create a digital leave-behind of your work samples? Share in the comments.

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Should I use a digital version of my portfolio?


A professional portfolio allows you to showcase your best work with a networking contact or potential employer by having carefully-selected work samples at the ready. Whether you’re a communications specialist, writer, graphic designer or photographer, a portfolio is an asset when you’re looking for a job.

When I was a budding public relations (PR) professional, I spent hours creating my portfolio early in my career. I selected different examples of my work on many different types of projects, such as news releases, social media campaigns and events to ensure the breadth and depth of my expertise and experience shined through. I scanned and formatted letters of reference and notes on my past performance to complement these samples. Then, I spent hours printing and compiling the everything on high-quality paper, and I put it all in a binder with customized tabs and plastic page covers. The finished product was in a large, heavy book. It required constant maintenance to keep it relevant.

However, this was before tablets were mainstream.

The tablet has made it possible to create a digital version of a portfolio rather than a paper version. Compiling your work samples on a tablet can save the trouble of constantly printing new materials for a binder. You can easily and quickly tailor your digital portfolio by selecting or removing different files or images. Plus, the finished product looks professional, sophisticated and innovative, and can demonstrate your familiarity with using digital technology.

That said, you should keep hardcopies of some types of work samples handy as they can be more impactful in the original form. This could include clippings of articles or ads in newspapers or magazines, flyers that you designed, or an annual report.

Would you use a digital version of a portfolio to showcase your work samples? Share in the comments.

Image credit: Laine Jaremey.