Developing a portfolio is an important element in pursuing a professional career in any field. In today’s competitive work environment, especially with use of the Internet and social media, it’s vital that you stand out among your peers. That’s especially true for personal trainers, who have to compete with other trainers who have multiple certifications and years of experience in the field. What is a Portfolio? A portfolio refers to a rather large collection of materials, documents, pictures, papers, letters, certificates, lesson plans, project, audio or video tapes, or other work samples a student or professional may collect over time. Components of a quality portfolio include: Resume: Summarize your job experiences, education level, activities and accomplishments in this one-page document. Letters of Recommendation: Strive for three to five letters of recommendation for your portfolio, each of which should acknowledge your work experience and job-related skills. Keep in touch with your references to make sure you have the most up-to-date contact information. Also, add letters any time you change job responsibilities or locations. Copy of Transcript: A transcript can provide an employer with more specific insight into various college or university courses you’ve completed. Copy of Diploma(s): This provides proof of completed education to prospective employers. Copy of Current Certification(s): Many employers will ask for a copy of your certification to verify that it’s current. If you have multiple certifications, include a copy of each one. Copy of Continuing Education Certificates: Completing quality continuing education courses shows the employer your area(s) of expertise, as well as your commitment to professional growth. Presentation Outlines: Providing examples of your presentation slides demonstrates that you have public speaking skills, which can be beneficial especially if your goal is to ultimately educate other fitness professionals (such as through in-house workshops). Published Articles: Samples of your published work demonstrates you have strong writing skills. Professional Contacts: It’s important to continually network with people within the industry and develop connections on a professional level. Use of Social Media: Take advantage of free tools like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn to establish your brand and professional image. Newly certified and seeking employment? Visit GymJOB.com and get advice on interviewing techniques, job searching, how to market yourself and more in order to find the right job opportunity for you.