How to Use Schoolwork to Create a Portfolio

Posted: November 15, 2022 | Author: Kate Lyons | Read Time: 3 minutes

student portfolioStudying hard, participating in extracurricular activities, and making connections are fabulous ways to get the background necessary for you to kick-start your career. Creating a professional portfolio is a way to visually depict your skills and accomplishments for future employers to view. It’s the perfect way to summarize all of your hard work in an easy-to-glance-at format.

What is a Professional Portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of your best work and greatest accomplishments that show grad schools or employers what you can do and what you’ve done. The portfolio can be digital or printed, complex or simple, and it can consist of materials from several years or a few months. It can contain your resume, CV, personal statement, awards and recognitions, references, and professional headshot. Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for others to learn about your capabilities, history, and more about who you are.

What Schoolwork Goes into a Portfolio?

You’ll want to include any major project or assignment you’ve completed. If you’re interested in writing, include your term papers or any pieces you’ve written for journals or other publications. If you’re interested in graphic design or content creation, include some of the graphics you’ve made for class or a decal you designed for a T-shirt. You can include images of you performing in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, or study abroad. If you’ve done any work for an internship or student position, include the relevant tasks you’ve done. Maybe you helped to organize an event, cleaned out old storage space, or managed correspondence. All of these can be included in your portfolio.

How Do You Organize a Portfolio?

Organizing your information will help the viewer to better process what you have to offer. There are three main ways to organize your portfolio: chronologically, categorically, and thematically. Chronological order is organizing your material by when they were completed. This can offer the viewer how you have progressed over the years.

Categorically means sorting your materials into sections. For example, if you’re creating a marketing portfolio, you can organize your materials into sections like social media, graphic design, copywriting, document design, event planning, photography, videography, and project management. You will then put the relevant information into those categories.

Thematic organization is for those making a creative works portfolio. If you’re an artist, photographer, designer, or performer, you can create a portfolio that shows your versatility. If you’re a dancer, you can create a digital portfolio showing the different types of dance you’re proficient in. If you’re a painter, you can show all the different techniques you can use to create.

Where Do You Go to Create a Portfolio?

There are an array of software programs and websites designed to help you in your creative process. Places like Canva, Wix, Adobe Suite, WordPress, and Squarespace can help you with the design and organization of your portfolio. If you’re looking for a portfolio that you want to print, programs like Canva and Adobe can help you. If you’re looking to stay fully digital, you can use sites like Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, or Adobe Portfolio to show off your skills! Don’t count out places like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Vimeo to showcase the work you’ve done as a student.

When Should You Begin Your Portfolio?

Ideally, you’ll want to begin creating your portfolio during your senior year of high school or your freshman year of college. However, you can start at any time! It’s best to build your professional portfolio as you go so you don’t forget anything important. As you develop more skills and focus on what you want your portfolio to represent, review your portfolio each time you add something new. If there is something in it that’s no longer relevant, it’s okay to remove it. If you’re unsure if something belongs in your portfolio, reach out to the Career and Professional Development Center for advice.


Using your schoolwork to create a portfolio allows you to reflect on what you’ve learned, what skills you have, and where you’d like your future to go. A portfolio is not only for a future employer or grad school admissions committee. It also helps you to better understand your unique self by summarizing all the wonderful skills and experiences you have to offer!

Tags: Student Life Career Center

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