ePortfolio 101: Introduction to ePortfolio

An ePortfolio is similar to a resume. One major difference is that the resume is dead. ePortfolios are the new resume. Are you still sending that boring plain white document with blank ink to your future employers?

What is an ePortfolio?

ePortfolio is short for electronic portfolio, or as we like to call it, your digital portfolio.

An ePortfolio is a digital collection of the personal and professional experiences one completes throughout the course of life. Traditionally, the word “portfolio” was often reserved for creatives and makers like architects, engineers and artists. Today, on the other hand, you and I must also learn how to unlock our creative potential.

What is the purpose of an ePortfolio?

An ePortfolio is a powerful tool to look back on life’s journey and reflect on lessons learned. Sure, you will get more employment opportunities with an up-to-date ePortfolio, but the true value is in the reflection and learning which is documented within the ePortfolio itself, and not just the collection or showcase of your work.

The overarching purpose of portfolios is to create a sense of personal ownership over one’s accomplishments, because ownership engenders feelings of pride, responsibility, and dedication.”

-(p.10) – Paris & Ayres.(1994).

The e-portfolio is the central and common point for the student experience. It is a reflection of the student as a person undergoing continuous personal development, not just a store of evidence.”

-(Geoff Rebbeck, e-Learning Coordinator, Thanet College, quoted in JISC, 2008)

What should I include in my ePortfolio?

A few ideas you can get started with are papers you wrote in school, blog posts you write, journal entries, photos, videos, research projects, observations by mentors and peers, testimonials written or recorded of your satisfied clients, and/or your personal reflective thinking on how you feel during different moments of your journey.

The key aspect of an ePortfolio is your reflection on the evidence and why you may have chosen a certain experience and what you learned from it.

The process of developing your ePortfolio is the first time you will sell something. The thing you are selling, is you. Once you can pitch yourself then you can pitch anything to anyone.

Keep your ePortfolio fresh

You never know when the next opportunity will appear.

If you have to run around and stress out because you don’t have your ePortfolio ready to send to employers then you are placing an obstacle in front of yourself before you can start. Invest the few hours to get the website setup so all you have to do is send out a link to people who might be interested in hiring you. There will also be opportunities that find you. As employers search for someone with your skills you will want to be sure your website is ready to be easily found.

Rise above the noise with your ePortfolio

Business owners of today want you to show them how creative you are – they are looking for something different. They are tired of the same 1,000 resumes which came in from people from around the world. If they only knew all the business owner was waiting for was a URL to the ePortfolio of one of the applicants.

ePortfolios will make you money

We found that students who maintained their portfolio and updated it at least once per month were more likely to get high-paying jobs simply because they had a nice presentation of their experiences.

If you do not have previous work experience then you should be investing as much time as possible in your community. Find out what your family and friends need help with. Create something of value for them that meets their needs. Take your time with the project. Showcase that project on your portfolio.

How do I start building an ePortfolio?

I am glad you asked! Students accepted to this summer’s program in Princeton are provided with unlimited, free and lifetime access to their own ePortfolio. Each student will have an opportunity to get their ePortfolio up and running before the program launches.

We also have a few surprises for you. As you may know, the application process for the six month program is not easy. We wanted to make this part one of the most difficult parts of the program. It might not be easy, but at least you will earn a few new credentials so you can showcase your new badges on your ePortfolio before the actual program even begins.

How do you design an ePortfolio?

In the next few weeks you will learn how to customize your own ePortfolio using some basic CSS and HTML tricks. For now, I setup a starter package for you so you can launch it immediately and start inputting your information. As you discover features you would like included or if there are any aesthetics you dislike simply post your thoughts in the feedback channel.

Resumes are dead. We killed them. You’re welcome.

Just say NO to resumes. Say YES to digital portfolios.

Why is your eportfolio, or digital portfolio, important?

Introductions: Use your digital portfolio to facilitate introductions with potential mentors, advisors, and investors. It’s also a nice change from the crowded LinkedIn.

Relationships: Your portfolio and digital web space is a great way to continue conversations with people you meet in your local community. Get to know one another a bit more and then schedule your next meeting.

Showcase: We don’t want to forget about the exciting and proud component of showcasing the incredible work you’re doing in the community, with businesses, in school, with your family, and the various other learning experiences we go through in our lives.

Personality: Be yourself. You are the only person on the planet that can be you. No need to worry about being like anyone else. There isn’t room in the world for people trying to be like other people. Do you know who there is room for? You.

Relevant: Unlike the traditional ugly white piece of paper you had to cram random information on to make it seem like you were smart because you used a thesaurus to find 10 different ways to convey the idea that you are hard-working. DigiProfs lets you express yourself as needed. Never force another manufactured sentence about yourself again.

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