Getting Started

Types of Portfolios

Portfolios provide a practical solution to the problem of documenting and presenting achievements. The selection of specific artifacts to include in a portfolio depends on how the finished product will be used and the anticipated audience. Developing a portfolio can also be a helpful reflective process as you prepare to enter the job search, even if you are the only one who sees it!

Study or Assessment Portfolios

Popular in several academic disciplines, including teacher education, these portfolios consist of examples of student work that are used to assess their learning while in school. Courses in these programs may have specific assignments designated as “portfolio assignments” that are uploaded into a student’s portfolio as well as submitted for a grade. Blogs and study portfolios are also often used for peer review and evaluation, and for reflective assignments replacing paper-based journals. Study portfolios can be developed through specialized products (e.g., Chalk & Wire, Optimal Resume), in Learning Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard, eCollege) using built-in blog tools, and with blog platforms (i.e. WordPress, Blogger).

Career Portfolios

Similar to study portfolios, this type also includes a group of artifacts, but the items are selected to specifically represent work-related skills and achievements that would be of interest to a particular employer. There are no specific requirements and job seekers can pick and choose what makes the most sense for their job search needs.

Organizing a Career ePortfolio

Before you get started, think about how you would like to structure your portfolio and what kinds of items you would like to include. The options are as varied as your creativity and imagination.

Structure

How will you set up the navigation in your ePortfolio? You could use your resume or CV as a guide and create pages or tabs that include the same headings (i.e. Work History, Education, Training, Awards, etc.) Another option is to structure your presentation around relevant models, competencies, or standards in your specific field. With his approach you organize the items you present to demonstrate how you have met the standards or worked in various stages of a process. Take a look at the Examples page for an illustration of these ideas.

Artifacts

Each item that you include, whether it is a document or presentation, photo or video recording, should focus on the kind of work you want to do in the future. Pick only the best examples of what you have done so far and consider fine-tuning these for inclusion in your career portfolio. Create new samples from scratch to showcase specific skills you want employers to see. Be thorough in your search for possible artifacts! Look at previous course assignments, internships and previous work experience, and other things you’ve done that are related to your job and career search. You can also create pages or posts to serve as lists of accomplishments, publications, certifications, etc. Link to sites that provide more information and keep everything up-to-date.

Why use a blog?

Blog platforms are:

  • Flexible – the format allows for many uses from basic journaling to serving as a content management system for course delivery.
  • Easy to use – these systems have user-friendly administration dashboards with WYSIWYG editors that make posting doable for all of us, even those with little technology experience.
  • Affordable – many blogging platforms offer free accounts and ample storage space, and have the features and functions you need and lots of options for customizing.
  • Accessible – each blog is accessed via its unique URL, which is easy to include in a variety of documents and correspondence.
  • Quick to setup – theme options allow you to quickly set up a basic site with a professional look.

Features:

The functions and features of a standard blog lend themselves to portfolio presentations.

  • About Page – Self-promotion is expected here! A great place to list a bio, contact information, and a brief narrative about what you are looking for and your qualifications.
  • Pages and Posts – Two ways to organize the blog side and keep up-to-date with your artifacts and information.
  • Widgets and Plug-ins – A host of options allow you to embed multimedia, link out to other sites, and more.
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