Professional Growth: Showcase your talents with a career portfolio
Linda S. Smith DSN, MSN, RN, CLNC

July 2011 
Volume 41  Number 7
Pages 54 - 56
  PDF Version Available!

A NEW NURSING graduate I'll call Mary sat face to face with Ms. Jones, the cardiac step-down unit nurse manager at the local hospital. Mary had already submitted her job application and cover letter and was now being interviewed about her qualifications for an open position. Partway through the interview, Ms. Jones said, "Prove to me you're the right nurse for this job. What have you done, other than finishing school, that demonstrates the qualities we seek?"Having anticipated this question and opportunity, Mary had carefully reviewed and organized her career portfolio. From her portfolio binder, Mary showed Ms. Jones documents that clearly illustrated specific qualities and characteristics listed in the position's job description. Five days after the interview, Ms. Jones telephoned Mary and asked her to join their team as its newest member.You too can maximize your career opportunities with a polished portfolio. To learn more about why and how to prepare one, read on.For decades, photographers, models, actors, and artists have used portfolios to show off their work.1 Career portfolios are also becoming an expected and important component of the job application process for nurses.Career portfolios, also known as professional portfolios, augment your resume. Ideally, your career portfolio will be a snapshot or an annotation of your nursing skills and your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. Design yours to demonstrate who you are as a nurse and professional.To help you secure employment or graduate school admission, include documents that showcase your work and abilities.1 You can and should use your career portfolio during these interviews.2 You can also use it to validate life-long learning, proving your commitment to continued competence to employers and nursing boards.Not only does a career portfolio improve your chances at securing the nursing position you seek, but it can also help you prepare for the interview when you review its contents.If, during

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