Online Portfolios: The Evolution of Sharing Professional Achievements

 

  BY CLARA NYDAM, CAREER PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL – MADISON

 

Online Portfolios: The Evolution of Sharing Professional AchievementsIf your work involves creating documents, designing websites, developing plans, creating spreadsheets, or anything that would be more clearly explained using a visual format, an e-portfolio will help you communicate your capabilities much more clearly than a traditional resume. These portfolios are a much more up-to-date and tech-savvy approach compared to using the traditional binder.

These systems, also known as e-folios, provide tools enabling you to organize, manage, and display your academic and career information through multimedia platforms that effectively promote your achievements. Eventually they may replace the printed resume altogether. Portfolios are already being used and taught in many schools. Young people entering the workforce are coming with skills to take advantage of this emerging career advancement technology, and you can learn to do the same with popular sites like LinkedIn.

Once you have a LinkedIn profile, it can be developed as a simple, easy-to-use e-folio system. However, most people don’t take advantage of the visual display capabilities available. Work samples including videos, presentations, photos, letters of recommendations, awards, and other graphics can be added to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections LinkedIn profiles.  Scroll down to the section you want and move your cursor over the “add media icon” (it looks like a square with a plus sign).

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/Wix.com_Logo.pngIf you want to develop a more sophisticated e-folio, there are several online platforms that you can use at no cost. Some states provide platforms; Minnesota residents can create an e-folio atwww.efoliominnesota.com. There are also other free sites where individuals can select an attractive pre-designed template and enter any content they’d like to share. Among them are www.wix.com andhttp://yola.com.

The following tips will help you develop and use an online portfolio to showcase your career achievements:

  • Display a summary of your objectives, goals, and accomplishments on the first page that visitors see and make sure the contents of the portfolio relate back to that information.
  • Select work examples that reflect your objective. You may include the following in your portfolio if applicable:
    • Professional philosophy/mission statement
    • Resume
    • Reference list
    • Samples of your best work, including reports, papers, studies, brochures, projects, presentations, videos, and other multimedia content
    • Testimonials and letters of recommendations
    • Favorable employer evaluations and reviews
    • Awards and honors
    • Professional development activities, including seminars, conferences, and workshops attended
    • Transcripts, degrees, licenses, and certifications
    • Military records, awards, and badges
    • Volunteering/community service
  • Concisely reflect on the challenges you’ve faced, the skills you’ve used and developed, and provide a concise description of each piece of work you include.
  • Proof your portfolio and get it critiqued before sending its link to a referred user.
  • Don’t include photographs of yourself unless it conveys a skill or it’s included in an “About Me” section.

Online Portfolios: The Evolution of Sharing Professional Achievements

When you are preparing for an interview, select only the items from your portfolio that are most important to show your relevant qualifications. Make high quality color copies to display at appropriate times in the interview. Use a small three-ring binder with sheet protectors for interview presentations. Practice displaying your portfolio pieces before using them in interviews, and send copies or e-folio links to the interviewer(s) following the interview.

While the most obvious help your portfolio might be is selling your qualifications for a job, a career portfolio can also be useful in helping you realize themes in your work that can assist in your decision making about your next steps. Remember your portfolio is a living document; it needs to be kept up to date. If it is, it may very well attract a new employer

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