The portfolio and cover-letter are tools that help you present years of hard work in the most appealing way in front of the recruiter. If you’re able to present a portfolio and cover letter that can be appealing to the eyes of the recruiter, you’re already halfway into getting the dream job you’ve been waiting you’re entire life for. So getting your portfolio and cover letter right is an effective solution that you need to focus on before you take on that job interview.
To help you get started with your portfolio and cover letter, here’s a list of some of the dos and don’ts that you need to know:
1. Get the first line right
According to research, the cover letter or resume’ gets a slim 15-second glance and a mere mortal can only go through a sentence within that time. Which is why you’re the first line is your pitch that either makes it or doesn’t. Make sure the first line describes you and what you can offer for the job the best. It must be able to define your true potential in the most unique way possible.
Try to find a unique approach to this sentence as you need to stand out among the pool of competitors. This is your unique selling proposition and no matter how good the rest of the resume’/cover-letter/portfolio looks, this 15-second mark is what drives them to be interested in you in the first place.
2. Don’t be a Shakespeare
Nobody has the time to through a ballad. Therefore, the first step towards designing the right portfolio and cover letter is to be clear and concise. A cover letter must have a maximum of 300 words and it is important to keep it under this limit.
Focus on what is important and the points that can grab the most attention. Also, try to keep the introduction short and brief as that isn’t exactly the most attention-grabbing part of your cover letter. Even if a portfolio allows you to boast about your work without an actual limit, it is still important to focus on what matters and to be precise.
3. Define your process
The recruiter is not interested in you but is interested in what you can do for the company. The most efficient way to get this fact in the front through you’re portfolio and cover-letter is to focus on your process. Confused? Let's make this easy.
“The process” explains the approach you take towards a problem. The most significant way of conveying this to your recruiter is to highlight your role, task and the solution to the problem. This way the recruiter has every information he needs to assess your problem-solving skills and your efficiency. This is the most important aspect of your resume’, cover letter and portfolio and it is important to get it right. It defines you the best and do not hesitate to sit through a couple of nights to get this right.
4. Be Personal
Even though the process defines you in the best way, not everything about you can be defined through the process. Sometimes you would need to highlight your skills by being personal. This helps you to shed light on what you aspire to become, the journey you’re interested in and the challenges you’re willing to take on.
Having this as a part of your cover letter is important as it gives you a character and adds a personal touch. However, overdoing it can result in an ineffective impression, so make sure you know when to stop.
5. Do not mention about what the job can do for you
This is one of the most unnecessary parts of a cover letter or a resume that keeps popping up very often. People tend to focus on this aspect so as to showcase their need for the job but it never actually helps achieve that purpose. Focusing on this part will just draw your attention from the parts that would really help you grab the attention of your recruiter.
In fact one of the most effective parts you should focus on is exactly the opposite of this point, that is “What you can do for the job”. All said if you ever consider mentioning about what the job can do for you, do so by keeping these points in mind.
6. Layout matters
Getting your content right is one step of the process while presenting it in an appealing way is another. If the presentation of your perfectly tuned content isn’t effective, the purpose of your content might go to waste. By itself, the presentation of your portfolio is one of the crucial aspects of assessing. Portfolio design today has been exposed to some of the most unique styles. Want to know the tips and tricks about designing? Visit our Blog!
Portfolio design is now booming with options that have created a vast space for innovation. With the dawn of the digital era, portfolios have become more interactive. Online portfolios have become popular and people now can share their potential with the world.
7. Choose your tone
In our daily lives, our voice and tone change according to the context we’re in and also according to the people we talk to. The same philosophy applies to cover-letter and portfolio design. You need to understand what the recruiter expects from you.
Sometimes the recruiter may need you to be extremely formal but sometimes a little quirkiness might actually catch their eyes. Therefore studying their demography and how the way they choose to present themselves in certain scenarios could help you choose your voice and tone that can appeal to them specifically.
8. Show and tell
You might be the best problem solver in the world but there is no way one could see that in your portfolio and cover-letter unless you actually show them with examples. Many times, people choose to convey this fact without any evidence to support it and that might just be the difference between the one who got recruited and one who didn’t.
Therefore, demonstrate with scenarios wherein you have been able to solve a problem and that will surely have a great impact on the recruiter’s minds.
9. Be honest and confident
Never choose to be dishonest about anything in your portfolio and cover letter. Even if listing the skills you don’t currently have gives you access to many other points to boast about, sometimes it might give the recruiter the wrong idea about you. These “fake” skills might just be the reason some might choose to call you for an interview which can ruin your image and affect your career.
Another critical factor that plays a crucial role in a portfolio and cover-letter is confidence. Never be doubtful of your skills or of literally anything. Also never be uncertain of anything in your cover letter or portfolio. Avoid using words that indicate your uncertainty in your cover letter and portfolio.
10. Include a call to action
Including a Call to Action (CTA) is the right way to end your portfolio and cover letter. This is one of the crucial aspects that is sometimes is ignored. A recruiter who is interested in you must be able to know that you're willing to be contacted. He also needs the information that can help him to get in touch with you. Giving them these details is the very purpose of the inclusion of Call to Action in a cover letter and portfolio.
Using a polite call to action that helps convey your excitement helps ensure that a CTA’s purpose is achieved. If you choose a call to action that is impolite, it might obstruct the CTA from fulfilling its intended purpose. Read our blog to know more about "call to action".
In a nutshell
Your cover-letter and portfolio are in many ways are the face that best represents you. It may take a long time to perfect this equation but once you do, it doesn’t ever disappoint you. A tip that is most helpful when it comes to perfecting this equation is to keep reviewing it. Keep asking yourself if that’s the best way to represent yourself.
The more the number of drafts, the better your result. There isn’t a shortcut to this approach and there shouldn’t be one. It takes effort to get something to be as unique and good as you are. Once you get it there, I’m sure you can nail this first step towards your dream job with ease.
Hope this has helped you understand some of the most crucial aspects of the portfolio and cover letter. For more content like this, follow our blog. Share it ones who you think would need to catch up on content like this.