There’s no denying it: We are living in a digital age. From our banking to our friendships, we e-exist. The job search today is as electronic as eBay. So shouldn’t your professional work experience be viewable in digi-form, too? The Job Maestro caught up with Jill Klees from the San José State Career Center to find out why e-portfolios matter.
Your Facebook page has all your data: your grad year and major, your award-winning yarn bombing blog, your passion for all things Pee-wee Herman, even your competitive dog grooming titles. Isn’t this an e-portfolio?
Not exactly. A person may use his or her personal website or social media as a place to summarize all of their work and interests. An e-portfolio, on the other hand, is a demonstration of one’s skills and achievements as they relate to a particular job. It serves as a way to dynamically supplement the resume.
Your resume reads like a list of Fortune 500 companies. Your references include Oprah Winfrey and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Your cover letter is so compelling it makes Winston Churchill’s speeches sound like nursery rhymes. What do you need an e-portfolio for?
Using a professional e-portfolio in your job search gives employers the ability to learn much more about you and your abilities than you could possibly describe in a resume. This can give you a competitive edge, strengthen your job search, get you an interview and help you land a job. E-portfolios allow you to:
- demonstrate your ability to effectively use and embrace innovative ideas and technology;
- highlight relevant major coursework, projects and experience that demonstrates your skill development for a specific job; and
- represent yourself and your skills in a lively, interactive, attractive format with examples of real work.
You’re ready to build your e-portfolio, but over the past few years you’ve done everything from teaching the trapeze to software design (and don’t forget that yarn bombing blog!). Do you put ALL of your work experience in an e-portfolio?
What you choose to include and how you choose to express your qualifications is up to you. E-portfolios can include a wide range of content, but it should all be tailored to the job you are applying for. Consider including relevant information not represented in your resume, such as professional philosophy, conferences attended, or demonstrations of technical abilities. Below is a list of some content options to consider including. I do not recommend using all of these categories. Choose those that are most relevant to your experience.
- Profile with contact information
- Background and professional philosophy
- Education, including related coursework, projects and other training
- Computer and technical skills
- Experience, work history
- Volunteer work and community service
- Interests and specializations
- Educational and professional presentations
- Professional affiliations
- Professional development, including conferences and workshops
- Awards and certificates
- Employer, faculty and peer comments and/or recommendations
Did you know? A recent study conducted by Hart Research Associates found that 83 percent of employers would find an e-portfolio helpful in evaluating applicants.