The portfolio will serve as a demonstration of your skills and abilities to future employer. The portfolio should be a stand-alone document without any references to the Goals Statement or other materials you may submit to program faculty. Your portfolio should include the following components:
- Executive Overview of the Portfolio – a one or two page summary of what the reader will find in the portfolio. This is the cover page of your portfolio that should describe to the reader both your key areas of strength and as well as organization of the portfolio.
- Artifacts – a set of products resulting from your work related to your program. These can include products resulting from your courses, internship, assistantships, or employment in which you have applied the concepts and skills from your studies. You may have created these products in a team or alone. Each example should:
Provide objective evidence of your skills
Actual samples of your work are the best evidence you can provide of your skills. You may include information about rewards or endorsements but these should be used sparingly.
Demonstrate skills appropriate for your professional goals
If you want to work primarily in performance improvement, your portfolio samples should not be primarily screen shots. Instead, you may want to include executive summaries form various types of reports or studies, project management documents, etc.
Present your work efficiently and effectively
The portfolio should not be a huge collection of all products you have ever produce. Rather you should select excerpts that demonstrate salient features of the larger works. Your portfolio should be presented in such a way that in half an hour a reader could get a good sense of who you are.
Choose only work that is relevant to your professional goals. Of all relevant artifacts, choose your best work. Whenever possible, include only a brief excerpt or sample pages of your work rather than the entire product. Excerpts or sample pages should be accompanied by a description of what they signify. Do not reprint all your artifacts onto a single color of paper or reformat them into a consistent template. When you do that, you lose their authentic quality. Put your efforts at consistency into the annotation portions of your portfolio and show your artifacts in their original form.
You should begin assembling artifacts from the moment you enter the program. Yet, do not choose anything for the portfolio until you have created your goals statement.
- Annotations – brief explanations for each artifact that provides a complete picture of where it came from and what it signifies regarding your capabilities. When your annotation is well done, the viewer of the portfolio gets a complete picture of where the artifact came from, and what it signifies regarding your capabilities. Annotation for each artifact should cover the types of information listed in the table below, but does not have to take the form shown here.
- Where and when was the work done?
- Was it a class project? A professional consulting project? A project completed during an internship?
- Did you have access to specialists for parts of the project?
- Did you work within a budget? A limited schedule?
- Did you inherit this project from someone else?
- Was the content or the analysis provided at the beginning?
- Were the graphics adapted from elsewhere or created as original material?
- Was this a prototype? Draft? Proposal? A revision of existing material?
- Did the project go to completion?
- Was it developed further after you worked on it?
- Was the version you worked on the one that was finally delivered?
- Was your analysis used to inform another project?
- How many people used it or are using it now?
- Did you have a designated role on the project?
- What were your major contributions?
- Did you work collaboratively? On which parts?
- Did your role change during the project?
Present the annotations consistently throughout the portfolio so that they are easy to find. Placing the annotations on colored paper helps distinguish the annotations from the rest of the portfolio’s contents, and establish a baseline “look” for the portfolio.
These components should be developed and presented in a professional manner suitable for use in job interviews. Not only should you select only your best work in the portfolio but also put significant effort into formatting and organizing your portfolio so that it looks visually appealing and tells a “persuasive story” about your strengths and abilities. Give serious thought to how you will organize the portfolio. You may want to group the artifacts by major skill areas they represent or in some other meaningful way. Consider including dividers or tabs to make it easier for the reader to navigate the portfolio. The portfolio can be presented in either print-based, web-based, or in an electronic format. Portfolios created in electronic format must be presented to each reviewer on digital media as a collection of indexed files and/or interrelated and easily navigable media.