Are Portfolio Careers the Future of Work?

John Krautzel
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Working a portfolio career serves many purposes. In the gig economy, where one person could have several side hustles to make ends meet, building a portfolio can form an important foundation for your professional life. Examine why the future of work might lay in this type of employment and how you can take advantage of it.

What Is a Portfolio Career?

A portfolio career means you hold more than one position at once that is the equivalent of full-time work or more. Your jobs may span different industries and skill sets. For example, you might work as a financial consultant during the day, but at night you moonlight as a piano teacher. Then, you might migrate to becoming a freelance writer, a server at a restaurant or a video editor to pay all of the bills.

A portfolio career is a great way to learn new skills. You can leverage your talents into business ownership, a career coach or total self-employment without a full-time office job.

Why Is a Portfolio Important?

Adding to your portfolio is important for a few reasons. You get to discover what you love doing the most among your side hustles and temporary gigs. You could have several interests you want to try before settling into one career about which you feel passionate enough to make your full-time career.

Earn necessary skills at each of these jobs to put on your resume. When you prove you have these skills through verifiable job references, you increase your value to an employer. Leverage your portfolio during an interview by showing real-world examples of the skills you learned.

A portfolio places all of your career accomplishments into one place in terms of your professional website. A potential employer can view all of your skills in a single place without having to ask questions about how you obtained qualifications for the job. It's relatively simple to align all of your positions in one place when a one-page resume just isn't enough to showcase your skills.

How Does a Portfolio Career Figure Into the Job Market?

Three aspects of the contemporary labor market and the future of work make a portfolio of various jobs important.

1. Having several gigs at once helps you integrate a work-life balance into your career. You get to choose what jobs and benefits edify your life. You may feel more money is important at first, but then you want better health insurance later as you grow your family. A portfolio lets you shift from one type of job to another quickly and effectively.

2. Rarely does one person stay at one job for an entire career. Thanks to technology, there are so many more choices for earning money than there were in the 1980s and 1990s. Diversifying keeps your skills relevant, but it also ensures you're never unemployed should one industry have a downturn.

3. No single job is perfect. Keeping your skills fresh in one main job and a few side hustles can lead to professional bliss.

A portfolio career may start as a financial necessity, but then you might grow to love the variety of having more than one chance to grow your skills and your income base. Keep this in mind as you expand your skills with your portfolio.

Photo courtesy of heric reis at


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