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Resume vs. Portfolio: Which One Does Your Career Need?

When it comes to job applications, the battle between resumes and portfolios rages on. The question is: which one is right for your career goals?

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between resumes and portfolios to help you make an informed decision. We’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of both options and help you choose the right one for your professional aspirations.

Key Takeaways:

  • A resume is a brief summary of your education, work experience, and skills.
  • A portfolio showcases your work samples, including designs, writing, presentations, and other creative outputs.
  • Use a resume for job applications that require detailed information about your qualifications and experience.
  • Use a portfolio to highlight your creative projects and demonstrate your skills in action.

Resume Deep Dive

A resume is a one-to-two page document that provides a concise overview of your education, work experience, and skills. A typical resume includes sections for education, work history, and skills.

One of the key benefits of a resume is that it’s quick and easy to read. Hiring managers can scan a resume in a matter of seconds to get a sense of your qualifications and experience.

That said, the brevity of a resume can also be a drawback. Resumes don’t provide a lot of room to showcase your accomplishments or demonstrate your skills. And since a resume is necessarily a summary, it can be difficult to convey the nuance of your professional experience.

Portfolio Deep Dive

A portfolio, on the other hand, is a collection of your work samples. Portfolios can include anything from writing samples and design samples to video presentations and animations.

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One of the key benefits of a portfolio is that it allows you to showcase your skills in action. It’s one thing to claim you’re a great writer or designer, but it’s another thing altogether to provide tangible evidence of your abilities.

That said, portfolios also have some drawbacks. For one, they can be time-consuming and expensive to put together. And if you don’t have a lot of projects to showcase, a portfolio may not be the right choice for you.

Which One Do You Need?

So which one should you choose: resume or portfolio?

The answer depends on your career goals and the job you’re applying for.

If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of technical expertise, such as an engineering or programming position, a resume is likely the better choice. Resumes allow you to provide a detailed outline of your skills and experience, which can be critical for technical positions.

On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job that values creativity, such as a writing or design position, a portfolio may be the better choice. Portfolios allow you to showcase your creative work and demonstrate your skills in action.


Should I use both a resume and a portfolio?

It depends. If you have a lot of relevant experience and want to provide detailed information about your qualifications, a resume is a must-have. If you have creative projects that demonstrate your skills, a portfolio can be a powerful addition to your application.

What if I don’t have any projects to showcase in a portfolio?

Try to create some! Consider taking on a side project or freelancing gig to build up your portfolio. If that’s not feasible, focus on creating examples of your work that showcase your skills.

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Can I submit a portfolio in lieu of a resume?

In general, it’s not a good idea to do so. Most employers expect to receive a resume as part of a job application, so submitting a portfolio in lieu of a resume can come across as unprofessional. That said, there may be some circumstances where a portfolio is appropriate in place of a resume (such as in creative industries).

Should I create a digital or print portfolio?

It depends on the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a job in a creative industry, a digital portfolio is a must-have. If you’re applying for a job outside of creative industries, a print portfolio may be more appropriate. In any case, make sure your portfolio is organized and easy to navigate.


In conclusion, resumes and portfolios both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on your career goals and the job you’re applying for. If you’re having trouble deciding, consider speaking with a career coach or mentor to help you make an informed decision.

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