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Your resume is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to job searching, and there are several other documents that come into play which may “make or break” your job search. Employers may ask you to provide a variety of documents, so preparing your “portfolio” before beginning your job search is a way to help guarantee your success. To ensure your portfolio is as effective as it can be, make sure that you follow the three steps below:

1) Avoid procrastination. One thing that most people fall victim to is habitual procrastination – waiting until the last minute to complete assigned responsibilities. Often times there are no negative consequences when doing this, but your career is too important to take any risks. Rather than waiting until a job opportunity arises to update your resume, take care of it NOW! Preparing a resume at the last minute increases your chances of making a mistake and allows you less time for proofreading. Be proactive, and set aside some time to work on your resume before it is too late.

2) Prepare ALL of your documents in advance. This seems like an obvious point, but many job seekers hurt their chances of landing a job by being unprepared. Sure, everyone knows that you need a resume to land a good job. Most people even have a cover letter ready to send. But what about a follow-up note? A list of references? Your salary history? Letters of recommendation? You never know what document(s) an employer will ask for, or when they will ask for it, so prepare each and every document that an employer may ask for. It is better to prepare these documents and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

3) Ensure consistency. Your portfolio represents you to employers, and you only have once chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one by ensuring your portfolio is consistent. On each document, use the same design, font, and margin settings. Inconsistencies between documents will show that your attention to detail is poor, and that will make a bad impression on employers.

By avoiding procrastination, preparing all of your documentation, and ensuring consistency within your portfolio, your job search should be much more successful.

By Drew Roark