1. Create a table of contents for your projected portfolio
2. List the tasks that will be required to complete your portfolio
3. List any lost or missing content that would ideally be in your portfolio, and any plans to recover or reproduce that content
4. List any help you need or questions you have about the portfolio assignment
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of items organized in a notebook, file, or a similar format. By collecting this information throughout college, you can help to recognize the skills and abilities you possess in relationship to a career. This is also an excellent way to market your qualifications to an employer for an internship or full time employment following graduation.
Who uses portfolios?
The concept of using a portfolio originated in occupations where creativity is a necessary skill. Employers seeking to hire persons in jobs related to art, advertising, and journalism often require a portfolio in the hiring process to demonstrate their work. However, a portfolio can also help document work experience, achievements and skills in any field. In fact, developing a portfolio during college will help you to evaluate yourself and your career decisions. It can help you explore careers which match your interests which are documented in your portfolio. In addition, it can help you to compare your skill level to the level needed for your chosen career. Following completion of college, your portfolio can serve as an invaluable tool for you to demonstrate your skills to a potential employer during an interview.
When do I use my portfolio?
During an interview!!! Using your portfolio during an interview allows you to demonstrate, first-hand, examples of work that you have done, or illustrate your accomplishments. Be careful, though, as your portfolio is merely a tool to use during an interview to SUPPORT your case regarding why you are the best person for the job you are applying for. It should not be used as a show-and-tell item that is dropped onto an employer's table or handed to an employer for them to browse through (unless an employer specifically requests to do so). Your portfolio should be used by you during your interview to demonstrate points you have made to the employer regarding your experience, skills, or accomplishments that qualify you for that specific job.
How to develop a portfolio:
Step1: Collecting: At the end of each semester, collect and file evidence of all your activities, work, assignments, internships, accomplishments, special training and workshops. If you do not have past evidence or have only a few items, you may want to consider RECONSTRUCTING items. This may be retyping or redesigning documents from memory or from a rough draft. Do not be afraid to add the suggestions your professors gave you. Computers and the Internet have made it more interesting to present portfolios. You can set your entire portfolio on the web, or bring a laptop to the interview. If you are really a technology guru, you may consider making a CD-ROM complete with sound clips, video clips and animation!
POSSIBLE ITEMS TO INCLUDE IN A PORTFOLIO:
• Certificate of participation in a program
• Evaluation written by a supervisor or other individual
• Outline of a plan you designed to lead a program or presentation
• Pictures of members participating in an event you helped to plan.
• Invitation/Program/Poster designed for a special event.
• Records you maintained (non-confidential) for accuracy
• Special note or feedback for your help with a project
• Agenda describing items discussed in a committee in which you were involved.
• Sketch of a layout used to determine set-up of equipment and facilities for an event
• Record of your sales achieved for fund raising
• Example of assignment with special comments from instructor
• Actual item created through a class project or a picture of the item
• Report on a topic of special interest
• Outline of a memorable presentation to a class
• Transcripts of grades highlighting those classes you enjoyed most
• Certificate of completion of class or assignment
• Letter written to individual you were required to contact for a class assignment
• Pictures or souvenirs from a place you traveled to for a field trip or study abroad
• Positive evaluation received from instructor or supervisor
• Summary of a research project you designed
• Letter or certificate which recognizes you as a scholarship recipient
• Letter or certificate which designates you as a Dean's List member
• Graduation program highlighting designation as Valedictorian or special honors
• Summary of scholarly research project and/or results
• Newspaper article noting recognition of special honors
• Extracurricular Activities
• Special award for participation in an event
• Trophies/ribbons for winning or placing in a competition
• Newspaper clippings of individual or team accomplishments
• Pictures of team or individual participation in an event
• Letter or commendation from coach, advisor or other individuals associated with athletic achievement.
• Examples of handouts, letters, memos, reports, charts, graphs, brochures, etc. using computer software or program languages
• Correspondence written in a foreign language or documentation of a study abroad or foreign exchange program
• Evidence of a hobby, craft, or topic of special interest Certification of skill level such as Water Safety Instructor, First Aid, or CPR.
• Letter of recommendation from present or former employer
• Performance evaluation
• Special recognition from supervisor or customer for work performed
• Employee of the month award
• Clippings from employee newsletter relating to you
Step 2- Sorting: There are several ways to organize a portfolio including: chronological, subject, or by learning outcomes. Chronological sorting is organized by years or grades in school i.e. (freshman, sophomore, etc.). Subject sorting has a great deal of flexibility, it can be by grade level you have taught, school subject, (English, math, etc.) or by job or project, (independent study, lab experience, or internship). Learning outcome sorting is the easiest for employers to understand. In this format you first have to know what the learning outcomes are for your major and minor, then you can match project to these areas. For instance, general learning outcomes would be: communication, technology, teamwork, etc. You may want to ask your advisor about what your learning outcomes are!
Step 3- Filtering: When presenting your portfolio to a prospective employer or school personnel, you should only include items that are necessary. A good size portfolio for interviewing would be 15-25 pages, otherwise you risk overwhelming the interview. An easy way to filter your portfolio down is to use the job description. If the job asks for teamwork, public speaking, computer and communication skills, only include items that prove you have these skills.
Step 4- Final Touches: There are several items that should be added for interviewing presentation. These are: binders, table of contents, tabs and captions. To hold the portfolio materials you can choose from three ring binders, artist's portfolio cases, or zipper cases. Clear sleeves to protect your materials can be purchased as part of the case or separately. The table of contents and tabs can be created using your learning outcomes, subjects or job description. Captions should be on every piece of evidence in the portfolio. Captions lead the reader to the importance of the pieces. They should be concise, to the point, specific and eye-catching. Use a bright color to help them stand out, and a headline to capture the subject or point of interest.
Step 5- Interviewing: The best time to present your portfolio. There are two approaches when presenting your portfolio the wait method or the upfront method. In the wait method you do not present your portfolio until a question comes up about a skill that can be answered with "proof" in your portfolio. With this introduction, you may reveal the contents of the portfolio to the interviewer. With the upfront method, you make the portfolio very obvious upon entering the interview room, either by placing it on the interview table when shaking the interview's hand, or by showing the portfolio and asking if the interview would like to examine it now or later. With this approach, you take control from the very beginning.