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How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

(OP)
Dear members,

Just a brief context, I am currently part of a MAI Course in Biomechanical Engineering with Management.
As we are all as students getting closer to the workplace and professional environment, it is important for us to improve in that perspective.

So today I would like to ask you on the following topic :

What makes a good, convincing and professional Engineer PORTFOLIO ?
Is a PORTFOLIO necessary for a good visibility on an Engineer's projects ?
How companies and other Engineers view such material ?


As an example, and if you would have any criticism on my recently created Portfolio, you can have a look at it at this link : http://engineer.yannblake.com/ and it may give you ideas/opinions on the topic in general.

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

If you type your portfolio on $100 bills, it will get noticed.

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

What you show is possibly interesting, AFTER you get an interview. From a pure resume perspective, TLDR!!!

You have possibly 30 seconds to get a prospective employer interested and engaged; I don't see anything that's doing that on your home page. SPELL CHECK EVERYTHING. Have someone else read and spell check.

Your projects, as presented, show almost nothing that can't be plagiarized from the internet.
> 4G/5G: nice that you can "depic[sic]" the hardware, but did you understand the hardware? What was your specific contribution to the project?
> Capsaicin: looks like a middle school project description, for the most part. What was the innovation? What was your contribution?
> Charger: pages of text and not even an actual, numerical, charging requirement?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

In my experience, and talking with my managers, it seems like colleges (or maybe just the one I went to) really push the "fluff" part of resumes/portfolios. That's not to say there's better ways to phrase things, but people who fluff up their resume to sound impressive are usually pretty obvious.

If you're right out of college no one expects you to have tons of experience. Just put your GPA, major class/research projects, internships, previous work experience, and maybe tweak your interests based on the posting you're applying to (don't lie and say you enjoy x if you don't).

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

I would also caution you on what you list as your skillset; I've had the misfortune of interviewing someone who claimed experience with a tool I was very familiar with and queried them about what analyses they had performed with the tool. Unfortunately for them, their response was, "Oh, I've not actually used it; I watched someone else use it." BZZZZZ!

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

Listing every class you took serves no purpose... during an interview, all they care about is did you get the degree (i.e., graduate)? You can mention a few key courses that are outside the norm, but listing things like freshman physics is just taking up space.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

I agree with all the responses I have read. So to add to them somewhat and add some of my own.
  • Fastest way for your portfolio to get to the "trish can is to mispull something". Spell check for sure.
  • You may find one really good page more effective than pages of fluff. As stated, there is a short window of time to get them noticing you. If you have not worked yet in your field, you really have no portfolio, you are more of a resume at that stage.
  • Listing all your classes will probably be a negative. Absolutely list things that are out of the ordinary for your curriculum.
  • When writing any narrative, have someone else read it closely. What makes sense to you when you proof yourself may not make sense to someone who has no idea what you are trying to say. Your brain is filling in blanks that a reader would not know to fill in.
  • You will be surprised what some of your potential employers use to screen someone. I worked at a place where a drafter had one line to hand letter to show how well they hand lettered. The personnel supervisor would immediately throw anyone's resume in the trash that did not neatly handletter the entire application. He saw it as a sign of sloppiness and I found it to be a sign of time management also. If I could only do one or the other, I would have probably thrown the neatly lettered one in the trash. I will note, most of the drafters where I worked could care less about a time frame. They were never in a hurry. Also for me, grade point averages out to 3, 4 and 5 decimal places lower them on my list. I will tolerate up to 2 decimal places. If they think I am going to hire a 3.5397 over a 3.5 just because of that massive difference in GPA, they may not be for me.
  • Exaggerating will tend to get you in trouble.
  • If you need to fill in "space" on your portfolio, spend some time on the direction you would like to go rather than fluff on where you have been. A resume also tells what direction you want to go. Especially as it relates to your potential employer. You will not make 1 portfolio/resume. You customize them to the target.

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

Quote (MacGuyverS2000)

Also, if you're not planning on being a researcher, you have a resume, not a Curriculum Vitae... see here for a brief overview of the difference:

CV is used a lot differently in Europe. It's very similar to our resumes.

I agree with most of the points stated. In university we were also encouraged to list hobbies and interests to help add content and differentiate us from other candidates. Something that can spark a conversation during an interview. I listed machinery and tools I had used that would be relevant to engineering (Lathe/Mill, CNC, hand tools, limited carpentry, automotive, circuitry and soldering, etc). Some were from labs in school, some were from extra-curricular activities, some were more "life skills" from helping at home and DIY projects.

Anything that shows you have more than a book-level knowledge of how things work, or a passion for the engineering field.

I would move the coursework list to one of the side topics in case someone wants to review it (add an education section to elaborate more on the topic as a whole, not just a course list), and bring some of that side-topic information in to fill its place. A one-line-per-topic synopses of each, including your role/education/outcome from the items. At your stage that is your professional experience and should take precedence over something like hobbies and what classes you've had.

I'd also restructure the skills portion, and try to make an engineering or professional skills list. Maybe this is my American coming out, but I'd consider 4 languages to be higher on the list than in the bottom "other" category.

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

In today's environment where everything is distributed electronically or printed on demand, you can really tailor your resume and portfolio to a specific position. As a hiring manager I really want to see what you can bring to the table to solve my needs. Even at that I would not go overboard with information not requested in the job posting - when you interview you can expand on yhe information that got you the interview.

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

I am a consulting civil engineer in California. Here is what my 39 years of professional experience tells me:
-- Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, etc. - To my knowledge, when it comes to job seeking, consulting engineers and civil engineers in government service simply do not prepare and present a portfolio. While job seeking, I have never even been asked to show a set of plans I had developed.
-- Architecture - Based on a conversation several years ago with one of my architect friends, it seems that some architects use portfolios as part of job seeking, others do not.
-- Interior Design (my younger daughter is an interior designer) - My daughter and her classmates prepared portfolios as part of their senior projects (~10 yrs ago). Some of my daughter's classmates used their portfolio while seeking their first job, some (including my daughter) did not need them. My daughter has changed jobs twice over the past decade and she did not use a portfolio to get either job.

I frankly question the usefulness of a portfolio developed based on school experience. If you designed pretty things,* I can understand how a portfolio showing professional-level signature projects would be a useful thing to have for job seeking. My opinion is that preparing a portfolio might be a useful academic exercise, but it probably will have little to no value for job seeking. Again, that's my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
------------
* For example, some architects (not all), some interior designers (not all), some bridge design engineers (not all), etc.

==========
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

Hey,Yann, I looked at the portfolio link that you have shared. It looks quite good to me. If anything, I would just run it through a free spellchecker or proofreading service like Grammarly or bartleby. This will make it look more professional and well formatted. Also very impressive that Saxophone and Debating figured on it. You might also additionally want to mention skills and insights that might make you stand out. This can be done in couple of sentences at the end or before you enlist the courses of each year.

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

I've had recent requests for a "listing of the total monetary valuation" for all my projects. This request is kind of unheard of, but I'm seeing more and more candidates emphasize the monetary metric over anything else in order to get their foot in the door. thumbsdown

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

Monetary value of projects is a plausible way of determining how much responsibility you could have possibly had. Resume writers can often spin up a buck ninety-five project into something that sounds like a million bucks. If the project was actually a million bucks, then an IPT lead could plausibly be responsible for a few hundred thousand dollars worth of scope.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

(OP)
Thank you very much for all your advice and contributions in this discussion !
I have carefully read all of your very detailed and helpful messages. It is very interesting to get different insights from your various fields.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about it !



My portfolio :
https://engineer.yannblake.com

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

Hello,

I would suggest you to get some projects at very low price so you can build up your name and portfolio!

https://wheelsity.com/

RE: How to make a good, convincing and professional PORTFOLIO ?

Don't forget that you may not own, or have rights to share, the work in your portfolio. Be careful about what you put in there.

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