What is a Portfolio?
A portfolio is a place where you store things related to your training,
work experience, contributions, and special accomplishments. It is the
place to document all your work-related talents and accomplishments so
that you have a good sense of your "assets."
An effective portfolio is a visual representation of your experience,
strengths, abilities, skills - the things you like to do, and do best.
There are wide variations in professional portfolios and in where and
how they can be used. Here's a starter list of artifacts to consider.
Begin you collection with whatever is relevant to you.
What to Include in a Portfolio
- Transcripts (all)
- Diplomas, certificates, CEUs, licenses
- Course descriptions
- Assessments, test results (e.g. GRE scores), appraisals (e.g. 180° or 360° feedback), grade reports
- Awards, honors, honor society memberships
- Internships, apprenticeships, special projects (e.g. senior capstone)
- Writing samples
- Workshops, seminars, conferences attended
- Independent learning (things you've learned on your own, or taught yourself)
- Certificates/evidence of special training (military, private institute, business, etc.)
- Leadership positions held
- Hobbies or Interests (time devoted to or photos)
- Participation in team sports
- Service project participation
- Volunteer activities
- Organizations joined (all)
- Public speaking/presentations or performances
- Performance reports, appraisals (e.g. internship/student teaching evaluations)
- Letter of nomination and/or recommendation
- Accomplishments (could include newspaper clippings that detail your achievements)
- Military training, citations (complete description of duties, activities)
- Professional licenses
- Publications, reports, published articles
- Training materials
- Samples of brochures, flyers made
- Attendance records
- Organization charts
- Customer surveys
- Documentation of accomplishments - increase in sales, decrease in claims
- Computer-related items
- Major projects completed/participated in
Personal Qualities or Strengths
- Strengths (personal qualities that will help you contribute to an
- Teamwork and people skills, problem-solving, budgeting, planning and
organization, time management, energy, discipline, motivation,
persistence, responsibility, dependability, etc.
- Contributing to your family (teaching, caring for siblings, cooking -
all require planning, responsibility, dependability)
- Helping your friends or working on extracurricular projects (may require
teamwork, problem-solving skills, teaching skills, people skills)
- Raising a family and /or running a household (requires budgeting,
organization, time management skills, adaptability)
- Keeping fit and healthy; being a member of a sports team (requires
energy, discipline, motivation, persistence, teamwork)
- Notice that few of the items on the list are actually physical objects.
Others imply the existence of objects, and some are intangibles, like
activities or personal qualities. You'll need to bring out the
intangibles, by creating something to represent them visually, like a
fact sheet or companion page, which compliments your resume. Having a
visual representation of your accomplishment will give you an
opportunity to talk about why you have included a particular item and
what it represents in terms of your abilities.
Collecting Portfolio Artifacts
It is usually best to collect portfolio artifacts while they are being
created, but it is possible to create portfolio items that "represent"
your past accomplishments after the occasion has passed.
1) At the time
(artifacts made on the job/during the volunteer activity, or hobby)
- Reports or research summaries
- Training packets
- Graphics for annual report
- Sales percentage increases
- Handouts from training workshops
- Customer survey results
- Published articles
- Attendance records
- Computer printouts
- Brochures, flyers
2) After the fact
(representations of artifacts made at the time)
- Resume, certificates
- Pie charts of sales, bar graphs of savings
- Collage of travel experiences
- Title page of report written
- Photo of award or you accepting award
- Symbol that represents your philosophy, with text description
- Newspaper clipping describing event you contributed to
- Photo of product you helped develop
Keep in mind that your portfolio displays you to a reviewer; therefore
it must present you in a professional manner. Don't skimp on your
portfolio display system as "the book is often judged by the cover!" Buy
the best quality cover that you can afford; you can use this tool for a
very long time, not just for entry into graduate/professional school
and/or your first professional employment. Acetate or plastic sleeves
are a good way to display and protect materials.
Arrange your portfolio in much the same way you would organize your
resume, showing in priority order your information that relates to the
needs of your reviewer. A well-organized portfolio indicates that you
are a serious candidate. You may choose to include a table of contents
to help direct the reviewer. Plan to label and index materials, placing
like materials together under a labeled tab so that you can turn to that
section easily in the course of conversation with your reviewer.
Using Your Portfolio
Your portfolio will not speak for itself; you must explain it. Remember,
your portfolio is a means, not an end! Don't make the mistake of relying
on the portfolio to sell your skills to an interviewer. A good portfolio
can be a big help, but in the end it's you, not the portfolio, that will
need to prove your ability.
Always bring your portfolio to interviews. When the interviewer begins
to ask questions about your resume, you can use your portfolio to
support your responses. For example, an interviewer might say, "I see
that you have worked at your school newspaper. What were your favorite
assignments?" You might reply, "My favorite assignments include this
article (turn portfolio towards the interviewer and show him/her the
article in the portfolio) that required a lot of research and this
creative writing piece (show article) that I wrote for a special
During some interviews, you may not have the time to show your portfolio
to the reviewer in detail. If possible, carry extra copies of pieces of
which you are most proud (or those most relevant for that given
interview) so you can offer them to the reviewer to examine. If you have
a series of on-site interviews scheduled throughout the day with several
representatives of the same employer, offer to leave your portfolio with
the key person while, for instance, you go to lunch with several others
who might become your peers. You could also offer to send copies of the
materials to the reviewer as a follow-up to the interview.
If you do not get to share the contents of your portfolio at all during
a particular interview, given whatever circumstances, you can still use
your portfolio to prepare for an interview. Reviewing the contents of
your portfolio before an interview should provide you with fresh
examples that you can draw from during the course of your interview.
The Education Portfolio
Whether you are a 20-year veteran or just starting out, a portfolio should
be a key component of your teaching tools. Portfolios are a nearly universal
requirement for the hiring process, but if you already have a secure job you
should view a portfolio as your insurance against unforeseen district
shake-ups. Keeping one of these self-promotion tools up-to-date also can be
a good exercise in self-evaluation.
Think of a teaching portfolio as an expanded resume. A few personnel
administrators will welcome a variety of formats, such as a box of notes,
clippings, photos and objects. However the majority look for a standard
3-ring binder. Inside they will expect to find things that show a
teacher's strengths, goals and achievements. This variety of items could
include a resume, references, letters of recommendations, transcripts,
education philosophy, classroom management theory, examples of lessons and
photos of your classroom in action. It's not a scrapbook, but a
representation of your teaching abilities.
Click here for much more information
about the Education Portfolio and to learn about the 2010 Education
School District Portfolio Survey!!
The eRecruiting Portfolio
SU Career Services encourages students/alumni who have completed a
degree from Salisbury University to establish an Experience Portfolio.
for more information about the SU Experience Portfolio!
- Experience Portfolio enables students and alumni to share a richer
picture of themselves and gives them the ability to showcase academic
work, activities and "soft" skills.
An Experience Portfolio may be used in applying to:
Login for Experience Portfolio
- Graduate/professional school, scholarships, other academic programs, or work related positions
in education, college teaching, library science, social work, health
sciences, public history, public administration, city and regional
- OnlineExperience Portfolios are a
repository to store your documents such as resumes, reference letters,
Praxis scores, student teaching evaluations and other documents
often required by employers. You manage your own portfolio and send it wherever you choose.
- Click here for Instruction Sheet
- Click here for freshmen/sophomore Information Sheet.
- Click here for junior/senior Information Sheet.