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					Thursday, September 24, 2009
Presented by The SI Career Development Office ePortfolio Series


What is an ePortfolio?
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Artists, photographers, and architects are the traditional users of portfolios A demonstration of your skills and abilities through past work done – and through the development of the portfolio A collection of documents, artifacts, and examples of your work A display of your work ethic, interests, and personality Can be used in an interview setting or as part of a job application

Who Should Use an ePortfolio?
Everyone!  Especially students that are pursuing careers in technology fields (i.e. HCI, SC, IAR, and ICD)  However, other students may want to consider ePortfolios as they can be an asset in the job application process

◦ Technology skills are never a bad thing – whether you are an advanced user or can just talk the talk, the skill is of benefit to the organization

Why Use a Career Portfolio?
As in interviewing, past performance is an indicator of future performance  A portfolio acts as a tangible example of your technology skills and abilities better than a resume or interviewing can  A portfolio…

◦ Enhances your ability to self-market yourself by further supporting your resume ◦ Through reflection, this tool helps you realize and be able to define you skills and abilities ◦ Builds confidence

How to Best Use Your Portfolio



Your ePortfolio url should be on your resume, included in your cover letter, on your business cards, and in your email signature Never just send your url to an employer without reason for them to look at it – you need to get them interested in order to want to view it In an interview, give teasers about what’s in your Portfolio – again, don’t just leave them with the url –
◦ OR take your laptop and demonstrate as you talk

Directly reference projects that are relevant to the function that you are applying for  Tailor your ePortfolio to your ideal organization type

Organizing Your Portfolio

Decide how you want to organize your portfolio
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ By experiences? By skill set? Reverse chronologically? Cross referenced? All of the above?

This will depend on whether you are targeting a specific job or industry or other factors  What suggestions do you have for organizing your portfolio?

Developing Your Portfolio

Complete a Skills Self-Assessment
◦ Start with an ideal job description (or several) and highlight the skills sought ◦ Develop a list of the skills that you have related to those sought in the job descriptions ◦ Think of examples of when and where you develop and used these skills ◦ If you don’t have the all skills they are seeking, what could you create that would demonstrate your abilities?
 Personal projects are okay!

Suggestions for Sections or Layout

Educational Projects and Related Accomplishments
◦ PDDs or clips of Transcripts, Dean’s Letters, scholarships, course papers, presentations, Power Points


◦ Demonstrations of technology skills, search skills, archival skills, instructional skills or whatever is most relevant to your targeted function or organization


Work Experiences
◦ Samples of work, positive evaluation, accomplishments, letters ◦ Recommendations from supervisors or project group members

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Extracurricular Projects and Related Accomplishments
◦ Flyers, programs, awards, letters of appreciation, certificates

Relevant Hobbies and Personal Interests
◦ Awards, certificates, photos ◦ Travels ◦ Blog and/or work website


What else would you include?

Finishing Touches
Your Index page should include an introductory personal statement to demonstrate who you are, your values and philosophy, and a summary of the contents  For each section or page, write a brief summary of the contents and their relevancy  You may want to develop a printable PDF that displays the most relevant example(s) of your work to leave with the recruiter – a good tactic to get them to want to look at the rest of your portfolio

 Of course, include the URL on the handout

Finishing Touches
 Check

over all of your work!

◦ Proofread all content for grammatical errors and other typos ◦ Then, have someone else proofread it ◦ Make sure that all of your links work ◦ Ensure that everything is labeled properly, especially links to attachments (PDF, Word Doc, file size, etc) ◦ Make sure that everything is in layman’s terms – your audience, possibly non-technical recruiters, need to be able to read your portfolio

Create your own Portfolio
For the less tech-savvy, use a portfolio site to showcase your work…  Carbonmade   Coroflot
◦ Several of these are job boards too!

Or use, a ContentManagement System (an in-demand tool/skill right now)  UM Sitemaker  Drupal  Joomla!  Wordpress
◦ These are all free and as a UM student, you get free hosting

ePortfolio Creation Assistance
The UM Knowledge Navigation Center offers assistance with a variety of software and tools including…
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Dreamweaver Sitemaker Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) GoLive Flash Frontpage Photoshop Illustrator & Other Content Management Systems…

They also host regular workshops and maintain guides to many commonly used web softwares.

The First of Many Tips for Your Portfolio



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Limit your samples; do not include everything you have ever created – only what’s most relevant If you do have many examples, place your best designs toward the front/top of the portfolio Keep the layout of your pages clean and simple, allowing for the work to speak loud and clear of your abilities To make it easy for people to find you, be sure to include full contact information somewhere on your site in a searchable text format Use your own domain name, if possible If you’ve developed websites for clients, don’t just list the URLs -- your portfolio should include images of those projects with captions

More tips…
Keep your portfolio up to date: check your links to make sure that your work is still working and available  When developing your online portfolio, be aware of download times – try everything out on several browsers (although you and I use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera, almost 40% of the world still uses IE)  Restrict the main points to one page  Your goal is to keep prospective employers on your own site for as long as possible – tell them where to go and what to look for

◦ Don’t let them wander around aimlessly as they might miss something!

And More Tips…
Give them something to take away – a PDF hand out with a link is helpful  Have a portfolio-only website – don’t mix your work site with your job-searching site  Sort the work into categories and make it easy for the viewer to navigate back and forth  You should also use META tags on your pages

And more tips….
Be sure that your code is simple, clean, semantically tagged, and accessible  For Tech-oriented students, don’t use CSS; employers expect more of you and expect your portfolio to equally reflect your design skills and abilities as much as the projects and work you are showcasing  Make sure your (X)HTML validates

And more tips….

In your code, make sure your title is appropriate and descriptive
◦ Guess how many pages come up if you search for Untitled Page in Google because people don’t re-title their site in Dreamweaver)

If you have the know how to increase the search engine optimization of your site, do so!  Make it easy for the site user to be able to click through your entire site easily

Displaying Your Work
As you work on your projects, take pictures of group meetings, notes, wireframes, doodles, etc – recruiters want to see the work in process as much as the final product  Describe your work in terms of

◦ ◦ ◦ ◦

What, Why, How, With Who, For Who, etc. Specify skills and tools used and always include images Give details in words, not just visuals If you can get a testimonial or quote from a client, include it! ◦ Use techniques and methodologies, not languages and tools

Include a blog on your site and regularly blog about relevant topics, what you are working on, your coursework etc  Include information on what (relevant) books you are reading, favorite products, favorite links, etc  Demonstrate your web presence (especially important for Social Computing students): Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Blogs, and other social networking tools/sites

◦ WARNING! What you include on these sites can hurt as much as help… be sure to maintain a professional web presence!

SI Careers ePortfolio Series Events
Mark Your Calendar!

ePortfolios Panel A Review of SI Students’ ePortfolios by SI Recruiting Partners Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:00 – 1:00pm 311 West Hall
If you would like your portfolio reviewed (publically) by recruiters and employers, send your portfolio to

Looking for Ideas?
Check out the MSI Student listing page… html View other sites via the MSI Students Listing (search for Web)

To Conclude…
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What’s an ePortfolio?
◦ A showcase of you and your work

Why should you have one?
◦ It’s the easiest way to showcase your work in a media that is transportable, easily adaptable, and tangibly represents your abilities


What’s most important?
◦ The first impression should be positive, so make sure that its simple and easy to use

Other Online Resources and Tips
Build A Killer Online Portfolio  5 Tips for a Better Online Portfolio  Creating The Perfect Portfolio


And many more!
◦ Search “online portfolio tips” – 14 million results!

Creating Your Skills Portfolio by Carrie Straub (Crisp Learning, 1997)  The Career Portfolio Workbook by Frank Satterthwaite & Gary D’Orsi (McGraw-Hill, 2003)  Creating Portfolios For Success in School,Work, and Life by Martin Kimeldorf (Free Spirit, 2004)  Step Inside Design  Creative Public Portfolio  Dr. Quincy Online Portfolios

Questions? Thoughts to Share?
Thank you for your time. This presentation will be available for viewing on the SI Career Services website under JOB SEARCH RESOURCES

SI Career Development staff can review your portfolio and provide feedback – email us at to make an appointment

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