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In today’s dynamic and globalised job market, the concept of a “career portfolio” is more relevant than ever. This term, originally coined by Charles Handy in the 1990s, has evolved to represent a collection of one’s diverse skills, experiences, and roles. It’s a powerful tool that allows professionals to showcase their adaptability, lifelong learning, and a multi-disciplinary approach to work.

The rise of globalisation, remote work, and AI (Artificial Intelligence), along with the predictions of the Future of Work 2030, have all contributed to the importance of a career portfolio. Globalisation has led to a more interconnected world, encouraging professionals to diversify their skills. Remote work, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has broken geographical barriers, allowing professionals to engage in diverse roles from anywhere in the world. The advent of AI and automation has shifted the types of skills in demand, emphasising the need for creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

A career portfolio aligns with these changes, demonstrating adaptability, lifelong learning, and a multi-disciplinary approach to work. It’s a more flexible and adaptable approach to career development compared to the traditional career path, which is often linear and focused on climbing the corporate ladder.
Everyone already has a career portfolio, even if they don’t realise it. The key is to identify what’s in it and how these elements can be combined in different ways to create value. This portfolio is created by you, reflecting your professional identity and potential. It includes your unique combination of skills, experiences, and talents that can be mixed, matched, and blended in different ways.

The benefits of a career portfolio include greater ownership of one’s career, a unique professional identity, lifelong learning, and increased access to leadership opportunities. It also helps professionals become “un-automatable” and better prepared for future job opportunities.

Building a robust career portfolio involves several key steps:

Identify Your Skills and Experiences: Start by taking stock of your skills, experiences, and roles. These can include traditional jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, or even personal experiences that have shaped your professional identity. Evidence-based diagnostics can provide valuable, unbiased insights into your strengths and development areas, and match you to roles that you might have previously not considered.

Build out your resume: Include project descriptions and work samples that demonstrate your skills and experience. This can include achievements, awards, professional development, certifications, volunteering or community work, published articles, testimonials and references.

Create Your Portfolio Narrative: Develop a narrative that ties together the diverse elements of your portfolio. This narrative should explain how your skills and experiences make you a unique and valuable professional. Outline your career goals and objectives and your plan to achieve them.

Use AI Tools: AI tools can be a great asset in building your career portfolio. They can help you identify skill gaps, suggest relevant training opportunities, and even match you with potential job opportunities based on your skills and experiences. These tools can leverage the detail in your portfolio to create aligned and succinct applications.

Pursue Professional Development and Training: Lifelong learning is a key aspect of a career portfolio. Pursue professional development opportunities, such as workshops, courses, or certifications, to continuously update and diversify your skills.

Earn Credentials: Credentials, including digital credentials, can add value to your career portfolio. They provide tangible proof of your skills and competencies. Digital credentials, such as badges or certificates, can be particularly useful in the digital age, as they can be easily shared on social media or professional networking sites.

Engage a Career Coach: A career coach can supply valuable guidance and insights as you build your career portfolio. They can help you identify your strengths, check blindspots, explore potential career paths, and strategise on how to highlight your skills and experiences effectively.

Update Regularly: Your career portfolio is not a static document. It should evolve with you as you gain new experiences, learn new skills, and grow professionally. Regularly updating your portfolio ensures it accurately reflects your current professional identity.
A career portfolio is a powerful tool that allows you to adapt to changing work trends, stand out in a competitive job market, and take ownership of your career. So, if you’re a busy professional considering a job change, it’s time to embrace the uncertainty of the future of work by taking ownership of your career portfolio. Your future you, will thank you.

SoftEd is now part of the wider Skills Group offering a range of services including capability mapping, career coaching, and credentialling.

We support Human Resources Directors, Learning and Development Managers, and Team Leaders wanting to drive capability uplift and mobilise talent. We will help you identify the capability and skills in your team and develop career development and training plans. Contact us for more information on how we can support you.

Please note that these references were used to provide information and context.
They do not necessarily reflect the exact source of each piece of information used in this piece.

  • Harvard Business Review. (2021). Why You Should Build a “Career Portfolio” (Not a “Career Path”).
  • Time. (2021). Why the Career of the Future Needs a Portfolio Approach.
  • TestGorilla. (2023). Career portfolios: A new approach to career progression.
  • Indeed. (2023). 12 Elements To Include in a Career Portfolio (With Tips).
  • FlexJobs. (2023). Portfolio Career: Definition, Pros & Cons, and Getting Started.
  • LinkedIn. (2023). The Career of the Future Looks More Like A Portfolio Than A Path.
  • Wikipedia. (2023). Career portfolio.
  • Fortune. (2023). What is ‘career portfolioing’? Business school professor lays out research.
  • MojoHire. (2023). Career Portfolio not Career Pathing.

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