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Using an ePortfolio in Your Job Search

At SI, Career Services staff encourage students to develop online portfolios -- or ePortfolios -- to demonstrate their work for employers. I've heard from students in the past that for a job or internship, they were asked only a few real interview questions, but their online portfolio was viewed by the employer several times.

ePortfolios are the easiest was to demonstrate to an employer what you are capable of. Behavioral interviewing, a big trend in interviewing these days, involves questioning the interviewee in a way that will allow the employer to determine from past experiences, how the candidate will perform in future situations. The best way to show how your past experiences will indicate your future abilities is through a tangible demonstration of your work. An ePortfolio is the most portable and professional method of showing your capabilities!

Join local employers at SI for the annual MSI ePortfolio Review Panel on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 in 311 WH at noon.

See below for an article from MSN on how to best use an ePortfolio in your job search.

Stand Out With an E-portfolio By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer Source

Take a minute to search your name on the Internet. What comes up? Your MySpace page? An old paper you wrote in college? A court document archiving your arrest from college?

While some of these citations are worse than others, none of them are items you want to showcase – especially to potential employers. And believe me, they’re looking. Thirty-five percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, according to a recent survey by Ponemon Institute, an information and privacy think tank. Nearly one-third of those Web searches lead to job rejections.

“If an employer is going to be searching for you online, would you rather them find pictures of you at a party or valuable information about your experience, expertise and career goals?? asks Kelly Driscoll, president and co-founder of Digication, an e-portfolio service.

Enter the e-portfolio, the newest career tool in our tech-savvy era of job hunting. Not only will an e-portfolio give you a competitive edge in the job market, it also gives you a positive digital identity when companies search for you online, Driscoll says.

“E-portfolios are becoming increasingly important to supplement, support and extend a résumé into a dynamic profile of an individual with not only descriptions of work that was done,? Driscoll says, “but actual examples that give employers the ability to learn much more about an individual before even entering the interview process.?

Want to learn how to hone your digital identity as a competitive advantage in your job search? Read on for a crash course on e-portfolios.

What is an e-portfolio?
An e-Portfolio is a collection of work published online to document achievements, accomplishments, ideas, progress, performance and activities, Driscoll says. It can also showcase, publish and compile your work to expand on a personal vision or life goal; create an archive of experiences; provide documentation for grants, accreditation or donation; and more.

Why should I have an e-portfolio?
The better question is, why not? E-portfolios give workers – young and old – the tools to communicate with a large audience and be part of a greater social network that extends beyond the office, Driscoll says.

“[Job seekers] can create and customize a true online depiction of who they are and who they want to become, where they come from, where they are going and what their plans are to get there,? she says. “It is a channel for expression that creates a powerful motivation for creating great content to share with … potential employers and the world at large.?

Additionally, the process of building the portfolio allows workers the opportunity to build necessary technology skills, acknowledge their strengths, recognize areas for improvement and set goals for themselves, Driscoll adds.

Where can I create my e-portfolio?
Not such a whiz with the computer? No fear – there is an increasing amount of tools that tech novices and tech-savvy individuals alike can use to create an e-portfolio, Driscoll says.

Job seekers can mimic the style of an online journal, organizing their work by time using blogging software, Driscoll says, or people can use a wiki to create a portfolio with open organization. Blogger (www.blogger.com) and PBWiki (www.pbwiki.com) are free, with options to remove advertisements for a small fee. Other easy-to-use tools are e-porfolio (www.eportfolio.org) and Digication (www.digication.com).

How can I build my e-portfolio?
Pretty easily, it turns out. Here are Driscoll’s five tips to follow for creating your portfolio:

1. Brevity is best – Like a great résumé, you want to provide clear, direct information about yourself, your work and your achievements. Providing snippets or brief introductions to your work that lead to or link to full descriptions and examples are best.

2. Organization is everything – Make sure your e-portfolio is easy to navigate and browse with the most important information available in the fewest clicks possible. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to impress someone if your best work is buried in too much information.

3. Make it searchable – Use keywords throughout your e-portfolio so that when employers are searching for potential hires they will more readily find your e-portfolio. Linking to related Web sites, resources and professional organizations will increase the searchability of your e-portfolio. Remember to include the Web address of your e-portfolio on your résumé and in the footer of any e-mails you send related to your job search.

4. Express yourself – E-portfolios should be uniquely you, so make sure you have some level of customization in how your work is presented. Keep it simple and consistent with readable font and files that are not too big to download to view (no more than 2-5MB).

5. Keep it professional – Unlike other online profiles like Facebook and MySpace, it’s particularly important that any writing and files (like images, movies, PDFs, etc.) in your e-portfolio are free of any grammatical errors, are of the highest quality and reflect your most positive aspects you want to share with potential employers.

Posted by kkowatch at January 7, 2008 10:01 AM

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