When you begin looking for a job, it’s a good idea to present concrete examples of what you can do, so that a recruiter or potential employer will want to offer you the job. This is the purpose of the e-portfolio! It is also a considerable asset during job interviews. In this course, we will explain the purpose of, and how best to use an electronic portfolio. This tool is a great way of presenting tangible examples of your skills and accomplishments to potential recruiters or employers.
What is an e-portfolio?
What is its purpose?
The job interview is going well and then all of a sudden, you’re asked the dreaded question: ‘So what can you do?’
You launch into a big description, where you attempt to talk about everything you have learnt and your previous experiences. But what the employer really wants to know is, not what you are capable of doing, but actual proof that you have done it.
Despite your best attempts to describe your skills and what you are capable of, potential employers often have difficulties in getting an accurate sense of your professional worth. This is due to the fact that an ‘ability’ or a ‘skill’ (within a professional context) is not visible. What is visible however, is the outward proof of that skill: the activities and results obtained.
What exactly is an e-portfolio?
You may already be familiar with the e-portfolio from an educational setting. It may be an exercise set by one of your teachers for one of your semester modules. It is a tool that provides students with an opportunity to interpret and reflect on their learning, and may be used by teachers to assess students’ progress.
However, the topic here is the e-portfolio used in the context of professional development: it allows you, in digital format (easy to access) to show a continuum of work: concrete examples of your educational achievements and previous professional experience. It provides you with an opportunity to showcase your skills.
According to the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the e-portfolio may be defined as ‘a developing set of electronic documents and resources, presented in a digital environment, which describe and illustrate the learning, experience, skills or career of its author’.
The e-portfolio is made up of two spaces:
An archives space, where you can collect and store documents,
A publishing space, where you can showcase a selection of the documents and resources stored in your archives.
NB: The e-portfolio is ‘the intellectual property of its author (in this instance, you!). The author is the sole owner of the content which relates to his private life, he alone has control over its use, and decides which data to publish’.
For more information, see the following resources: livre blanc sur le ePortfolio, Ministère de l’enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (French Ministry of Higher Education and Research’s White Paper on the e-portfolio)
What do you need to get started?
What do you need to create your e-portfolio?
Set up on your computer or on the cloud a file of digital archives especially for your e-portfolio. This file should contain educational records and academic and/or professional documents, as well as your CV;
Gather as much supporting documentation as you can on your educational background and work experience or internships (dates and durations of courses, internships, responsibilities, etc.).
Next, you can:
Create your account on an e-portfolio tool:
Eduportfolio: we will use this version for the purposes of this course. Available in 7 languages, it allows you to create ‘showcases’. This provides you the opportunity to publically share projects completed in the course of your studies (whether individually or in a group) and to publish your professional work in website format.
Mahara: used in numerous third level institutions, Mahara may be used in your university. It is often linked to the Moodle learning platform and is designed to show off your academic accomplishments.
Wataycan: this is a professional e-portfolio tool where you have space to store documents and files, and a space for publishing information in CV or website format.
Publish your e-portfolio in blog format:
Wordpress: the great variety of Wordpress and its design have contributed to its widespread use. Easy to use, this tool provides yet another means of publically sharing your e-portfolio.
Compose your e-portfolio
Showcase your skills
We are living in an age of economic recession. The recruitment of a future employee is no longer based on academic credentials alone. Skills (defined in English as the ability to do something well, expertise) are all important: an e-portfolio is therefore an easy and perfect way of showing off your skills or expertise. Have a look at the following course to guide you: Taking stock of your skills.
A skill is the practical implementation of knowledge or learning. It is what you put into use during an activity in a given situation.
Skill name: Stock management
Context: Managing the inventory of goods in a retail business during the winter sale period
Examples: Stock management for the Auchan Group in January 2014 and the Monoprix Group in January 2015
Examples documenting your skills
The e-portfolio is a portfolio that allows you to:
Keep a copy of documents that highlight your skills
Showcase these skills to the outside world (publication)
The biggest part of your ‘work’ here is to make a list of all of your experiences (academic, professional and otherwise) and the skills you learnt from these. You then need to gather or collate the supporting material (the concrete proof of these skills):
Your diplomas/degrees, training certificates, etc.
Digital badges obtained from online courses (Moocs for example)
Any digital output: Internet sites, logbooks, documents relating to projects (proposal, planning, results, etc.), photos, videos, and so on.
Don’t forget to include any supporting material relating to skills acquired outside of an academic or professional environment. Perhaps you held/hold a role of responsibility in a club or association. Are you in charge of organizing events for example? What have you learnt while travelling or while participating in group projects (involved with a newspaper for example, or the production of a musical or cultural event)? Don’t be afraid to include these experiences and skills!
Using the forum for advice
Are you uncertain about including a certain document in your e-portfolio? Ask your question on the forum by describing the contents of the document: does it outline the context, a situation where you highlighted a certain skill or know-how? Does this document show what you learnt? Does it demonstrate a result?
The steps to follow
To facilitate the creation of your e-portfolio, here we simulate the creation of an account on eduportfolio.org
Step 1 : Describe your profile
This is the first thing that a potential employer or recruiter will read about you in your e-portfolio. Don’t use casual language. You should introduce yourself in a friendly but professional manner. There is no set format but remember to outline the objective of your e-portfolio: in search of work (specify what kind), the ongoing improvement of your career, a showcase for your achievements and accomplishments, etc.
Step 2: Describe your skills
Once on the platform, create a ‘My skills’ section.
Let’s go back to the example we had earlier ‘stock management’. You are then asked to assess this skill:
in what situations did I make use of this particular skill? (context)?
what results did I achieve after implementing this skill?
Remember that you may have made use of the same skill in different situations or contexts.
Step 3 : Give examples and supporting documents of your skills in action
You are asked to provide proof or supporting documents highlighting your skills. For this example, we have chosen to show off this particular skill by attaching the calendar or planning schedule for the period of stock management.
Don’t forget to provide a short summary of the contents of the documents in your supporting materials file.
Step 4 : Vary the supporting materials
It’s always a good idea to vary the supporting materials by creating special sections:
References: it’s important to showcase positive feedback you may have received while on work experience/internship: post-internship feedback, references from colleagues, etc.
Informal learning: achievements related to a journey undertaken or involvement in a club/association, etc.
Step 5 : Showcasing your skills
You have now created the most important part of your e-portfolio: you have completed the ‘showcase’ of your skills palette, and provided the supporting evidence or documentation for this.
You should now create a ‘Diplomas/Degrees’ section where you list your educational qualifications and detail one or more skills developed over the course of your studies. This type of information will provide the recruiter/potential employer with an insight into what you have obtained during your studies.
Example: Project management as part of your Masters in International Business and Fair Trade Practices
Now, let’s see how you can best highlight or showcase all of the supporting materials that demonstrate your skills, with the aim of attracting the attention of an external audience. But first, let’s try a short exercise.
I suggest using the table below to help you collate all of the different documents you will need to create your e-portfolio. Make sure to download it before getting started.
You plan to apply for a job in a company and you need to choose from your e-portfolio documents to help you create your profile for this job.
Remember to underline the key words of the job offer to help you identify exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate.
Thanks to the grid below, make a note of what is necessary to include in your applicant ‘showcase’ e-portfolio. To help you do this, think about what you would say in an oral interview if you didn’t have any supporting documents or materials to show.
Job: E-learning project manager
Your role is to accompany the e-learning projects of our key accounts and training organizations throughout the product lifecycle (pre-sales, implementation, support, and development), etc.
Reporting to the Director of the Department, and following a period of training in our tools and methods, your missions include:
Advising clients in the implementation of their blended learning projects.
Overseeing project management: management of the project team, coordinating schedules, managing budgets.
Designing, implementing and integrating all types of training resources.
Configuring the application and assisting the customer in his familiarisation with it.
Your successful role in this position will eventually allow you to evolve towards broader responsibilities (project management, etc.).
This position, based in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, involves travel throughout the country.
Educational background Bac + 5 (Multimedia, Instructional Design, Business Schools),
Project management experience,
Proficient with new technologies and IT,
Excellent interpersonal skills,
High level of English.
Characteristics of the job
Supporting documents in my e-portfolio
Related information –(knowledge-based)
If yes, documents:
If yes, documents:
If yes, documents:
If yes, documents:
Publish your e-portfolio
Different applicant profiles
Your e-portfolio contains data. This data attests to both your knowledge and your skills. You are now ready to present and publish your e-portfolio so that it is visible to an external reader or third party. This type of portfolio is referred to as a ‘showcase’ in the Eduportfolio platform.
Depending on the jobs applied for, you can tailor your e-portfolio to suit the requirements or criteria of these different positions.
You can also tailor it to suit the level of experience required for each post. We strongly recommend you have several e-portfolios (and therefore several versions of your CV) to correspond to the different types of job offers on the market.
For example, if you are looking for a job as ‘Project Manager’, several activity sectors and positions are potentially available to you.
If you have some experience in this type of role, you can create a project management profile to suit a project management role in a consultancy firm for example, or in a large distribution company, or the solidarity economy sectors, etc.
For each showcase e-portfolio created, choose what you want to highlight depending on the type of profile you would like to display: you may therefore decide to emphasize (or not) certain elements.
For example: When applying for the role of Project Manager in a large company or consultancy firm, you may wish to highlight your skills in the domain of Organizational Management.
However, if you are applying for the role of Project Manager in the solidarity economy sectors, you may wish to emphasize the skills and experience you acquired while working on a Design project in collaboration with Paysans du monde.
The same applies to your work experience and internships. Don’t forget any informal experience either! If you’ve managed a team in a club/association in the organization of an event, this is one of your skills that is also worth highlighting.
Test your e-portfolio
Well done! You’ve now created most of your e-portfolio!
Don’t hesitate to show it to people you trust—friends/family, colleagues or a career guidance counsellor. An objective opinion is always useful in ensuring your presentation is coherent, clear and above all, attractive!
This course was developed with the support of: