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What is a Portfolio?

 What is a Portfolio?

What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of items that show what you’ve learned, what you know, and what you can do. It takes time and effort to develop a portfolio, but it is simple to maintain over the years. The process of developing and updating your portfolio will help you to reflect on what you have accomplished and what you would like to do in the future.

Career portfolios are used to plan, organize and document education, work samples, and skills. People use career portfolios to apply to jobs, apply to college or training programs, get a higher salary, show transferable skills, and track development. They are more in-depth than a resume, which is used to summarize the above in one or two pages. Career portfolios serve as proof of one's skills, abilities, and potential in the future. Career portfolios are becoming common in high schools, colleges, and workforce development. Many school programs will have students create, update, and use a career portfolio before moving on to the next level in life.

Career portfolios help with a job or acceptance into higher education institutes. A career portfolio should be personal and contain critical information. Items that should be included include (but are not limited to) personal information, evaluations, sample work, and awards and acknowledgments. Career portfolios are often kept in a simple three-ring binder or online as an electronic portfolio and updated often. A career portfolio is used as a marketing tool in selling oneself for personal advancement. In some industries, employers or admission offices commonly request a career portfolio, so it is a wise idea to have an updated one on hand.


What is a Portfolio?

1. What is a Personal and Career Portfolio?

A Personal and Career Portfolio is an organized collection of evidence that shows your accomplishments both in and out of school.

A portfolio contains samples of your work that exhibit and reveal the quality and variety of your learning, your accomplishments, your skills, and your experiences.

Is a portfolio the same as a résumé?

A portfolio differs from a résumé in the following key ways:

• A résumé is usually only 1 – 3 pages in length and is meant to summarize your accomplishments.

A portfolio most often contains many pages and is meant to show evidence of a wide

variety of your accomplishments.

• A résumé tells someone what you have accomplished.

A portfolio shows someone what you have accomplished.

2. What Are the Steps to Developing a Personal and Career Portfolio?

A. Gather Your Evidence

Collect the information and records that show your interests, involvements, and


B. Organize Your Portfolio

Arrange your evidence into sections that will help someone else see what you have


C. Assemble Your Portfolio

Format and compile your portfolio so it is easier for someone else to read and understand the information you have gathered.

D. A Final Check

You have much to be proud of in your portfolio. Check that it has updated information and that it shows your work in the best possible light.

How Will a Portfolio Help Me?

 A portfolio can help you to:

 • assess your knowledge and skills

 • prepare for interviews

 • review and evaluate past experiences and learning

 • present your knowledge and skills

 • highlight your transferrable skills

 • increase your personal confidence

 • be more competitive in today’s labor market

 • illustrate how your qualifications have progressed

 • set career and education goals

 • keep an ongoing record of skills and achievements

 • identify areas that require further study

 • create a system for documenting your accomplishments and results

How Can I Use It?

 A portfolio can be used in various situations. Once you’ve built your portfolio, you can customize it for different purposes or audiences by adding or removing items. You can use a portfolio when you want to:

1.     identify skills and knowledge

·       show examples of learning

·       develop and track learning outcomes

·       record self-assessment results

·       collect course work samples

·       help ease transitions from school to work

2.     identify new options and choices

·       take stock of your knowledge and skills and identify other opportunities

3.     recognize a need or desire for further learning

·       advance within your organization

·       conduct a personal assessment (ex: identify gaps in training)

4.     plan a career and learn about yourself

·       identify skills o explore career options

·       make decisions 

·       search for a job

·       market and promote yourself to employers

·       develop a targeted resume to prepare for an interview

·       support knowledge, skills, abilities, accomplishments, and personal characteristics referred to in your cover letter and resume

5.      gain credit in post-secondary institutions

·       challenge courses in academic or skills training programs

·       get credit toward a high school diploma

·       earn credits for occupational or professional licensing and certification


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