Should you or should you not bring a portfolio to an in-person interview? I think a lot of students toy with this question during interviews.
It’s all up to you and how you feel, however I did and I think it was a big selling point for why I got offered the internship and the job later on. It’s an easy way to help you stand out amongst other applicants, especially if what you have is creative, effectively translates what you’re trying to sell (you!), and is easy to navigate.
Few things I think are important to include in your portfolio (note: all of these things can be included and adapted into an online portfolio as well)-
- especially if you’ve added a job or volunteer experience since you applied, make sure you’ve included that and let them know that your resume is actively expanding
- for tips on how to format your resume, click here
- remember to make it specific to the hospital
- for tips on what to include in a cover letter, click here
Child Life Statement/Philosophy
- this is especially good to include if this wasn’t apart of the original application for applying to said practicum or internship
Relevant Job/Volunteer Experience
- remember to include those verification forms
- here is where you can also include any letters of recommendation
- again, this looks really good if this wasn’t apart of the original application as it’s something extra you can leave with them as a selling point
- not sure how to make yourself stand out for volunteering? click here for tips!
Awards, Certificates, Conferences/Memberships
- if you can get involved in any of the local ACLP divisions near you and attend those conferences, as well as any annual conferences, that will definitely help you stand out and allows your interviewers to know how serious you are about this field
Child-Related Course Projects
- did you create something impressive? include it!
- did you write a paper about autism? include it!
- did you make a powerpoint about normalizing the hospital experience? include it!
- did you help with pet therapy? did you create something to benefit the child life team? did you help with donations? include anything that you think will help you stand out!
- also include evaluations if your hospital provided one for you!
For volunteering or child-related jobs, as well as any projects for courses or practicum, make sure you get as many pictures as you can. Pictures can say a thousand words. If you show that you are always with children in all the pictures you include in your portfolio, it not only looks good, but it’s pleasing to the eye as well. Who doesn’t love a picture book? Here is a few I included in my portfolio. Make sure to obtain photo consents if you’re taking pictures in a hospital setting or any other setting that may require photo consents. These three were taken at my church.
PRO TIP: make extra copies of things like your resume, cover letter, child life statement/philosophy and your letters of recommendation. Keep them behind the front copy so that in a pinch, you can take them out of the binder to leave with your interviewers. Not everyone will have time to sit down and look through your portfolio with you, but if you can leave the important things, that looks SUPER good!
* if you can afford it – depending how many in-person interviews you get – it’s also really cool for you to say “this one is for you to keep.” That way they can look through everything, including all of your pictures and accomplishments.
PRO PRO TIP: This is uncharted territory for me, hence why I’m calling it a “pro PRO” tip. I do know that this is becoming more widely used and it’s the idea of creating a portfolio online and having business cards to hand your interviewer at the end of an interview with the link to your portfolio. OR if you’re virtually interviewing, send a follow-up email thanking them and include the link to your portfolio. I’m sure it looks really good and is something you can easily keep updating. While I don’t think hard-copy portfolios have gone completely out of style, I do think this is slowly but surely becoming the new thing for showcasing yourself for practicums, internships, and job interviews.
It’s all up to you, if you have the time/money to create a knock-out portfolio. Just know that a portfolio is another reason for someone to be looking for grammar mistakes, typos, and more. You’ll need to look it over to make sure it’s in pristine condition before handing it out to anyone!
In my opinion, having a portfolio allows you the opportunity to show yourself off more than any of the other applicants may have during their interview time. This is the cherry on top! This cherry just might get you the practicum/internship/job! YUM!