Put the “Pro” in Professional: Create an ePortfolio

There will come a day when we graduate students are thrust into the chaos of a job search. It might be in December, it might be in May or it might be much further down the line. Regardless, it never hurts to be prepared to promote yourself in the best way possible. According to a recent Forbes article, over half of hiring managers would rather see a candidate with a personal website than any other form of personal branding, although less than 10% of candidates actually have one.

Why should you have an ePortfolio?

Many students wonder why an ePortfolio or a personal website is useful. When they think of an ePortfolio, they think of a collection of work for a specific class or program. While this may be true on a base level, an ePortfolio can be much more than that. An ePortfolio can be your statement about yourself as a professional. Lisa Meloncon, an associate professor who teaches technology classes for the Professional Writing & Editing program, feels that ePortfolios have become an essential job search tool for both academics and professionals. An ePortfolio helps you expand upon the limited amount of information you can illustrate in traditional tools like your resume and cover letter.

“EPortfolios or personal websites provide students the opportunities to showcase their best work and demonstrate in meaningful ways what skills and knowledge they can bring to potential organizations.  The electronic identity adds another dimension to the resume and cover letter because it contains tangible examples that potential employers can see.”
—Lisa Meloncon, Associate Professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature

Where do you start?

It’s simple; you start by compiling your most impressive work. Pick work that really exemplifies who YOU are as a candidate for a job. Make sure to include a few key sections in your portfolio, like the following:

  • About me
  • Resume
  • Professional work (including relevant projects, responsibilities, and promotions)
  • Academic work (including course work, conference presentations, and published work)
  • Contact information

The best part about creating an ePortfolio is that you are in charge of what it looks like, what goes into it, and over all what it says about you. You tailor your materials for the job you’re interested in. For someone who plans on teaching in the future, including materials such as lesson plans, syllabi and your teaching philosophy will help in your job search.

No matter what kind of job you’re interested in, you need to remember that this ePortfolio is an extension of your resume, meaning that it is not a static product. Each time you accomplish something that could further your job search prospects, you should update your ePortfolio. 

How do you put it together?

A student works at a computer.

If you’re particularly bold and knowledgeable, you can create your website from scratch (thus showing off your technological skills). However, for those of you that don’t fall under this category, you can use a template from an online tool. There are all kinds of options for tools to use, but here are a few common ones:

Take a look at the help guides on their sites to decide which one fits your work most appropriately. Each of the tools has its strengths and weaknesses, so make sure to choose one that fits your purpose the best. If you’re looking for more tutorials on how to use a particular tool, check Lynda.com and Youtube.com. There are also webinars and workshops offered from time-to-time through UC.

What now?

Once you’ve created your ePortfolio, make sure to have someone review it. This person can be an advisor, a professor, your program director and/or your fellow students. Their feedback can provide you with valuable insight on materials you might be missing or places in your ePortfolio that need strengthening.

After you’re done polishing your work and the flow of your ePortfolio, don’t forget to promote it. Put the web address on your LinkedIn profile, at the bottom of your email signature and on your resume. As you promote yourself, continue to update your resume and ePortfolio at the same time. If you get in the habit of maintaining these job-seeking tools, you will find it easier to stay on top of the job hunting process. 

Written by Hillary Oberpeul, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate School Office