Do you have an e-portfolio?

Every college student has heard of a resume, knows what it is and has one. As PR professionals we need to go one step further- develop a portfolio. A portfolio includes your resume along with a sample of your body of work. I feel like it’s safe to assume that most PR students are continuously working on and updating their portfolios, or know what it is at the very least.

But have you ever heard of an e-portfolio? I hadn’t. This past weekend at the 2009 PRSSA National Conference, Indiana State University held a chapter development session in which they discussed what an e-portfolio is and its value.

According to ISU, an e-portfolio is a personal branding tool that allows you to do the following:

  • Market yourself during your job search
  • Build your personal brand
  • Highlight your experience
  • Identify your career interests

The e-portfolio doesn’t replace the traditional hard copy of your portfolio but adds to your appeal. Potential employers can go over your e-portfolio before the interview or after. You could even send your e-portfolio along with a request for an interview. Let them know what you have to offer from the start.

It’s also an effective way to showcase work you have done that is visual, audio or interactive.

According to ISU, your portfolio (hard copy and online) should include:

  • Resume
  • Personal code of ethics
  • Public relations materials
  • Research materials
  • Additional writing
  • Awards and achievements

I think the e-portfolio is a great idea. We would probably all agree the Internet is convenient and easily accessible for most people. Why not send potential employers and clients your e-portfolio? What do you think about e-portfolios? Is it an effective personal branding tool? Why or why not?

If you want to make your own e-portfolio, ISU recommends the following:

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15 Responses to Do you have an e-portfolio?

  1. Dawn Gilpin says:

    Kim, great topic for a post. I think you may have copied and pasted parts of it from something else–a Word document, maybe?–because there’s something weird going on with your formatting. Can you fix it? Thanks. I look forward to reading the ensuing discussion!

  2. wwillis says:

    I love this idea! In JMC 425 we’re actually making our online portfolios and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s a skill I know is going to make me stand out when I’m interviewing and searching for a job. By looking at an e-portfolio, a potential employer can really get a sense of who you are and what you have to offer.

  3. sferrer says:

    This topic really caught my eye because I believe it is very important to have a hardcopy of portfolios and an online version. When I traveled to the PRSSA conference in San Diego this past weekend, I did not want to bring hardcopies of my resume because I felt it would be inconvenient for the PR professionals who I networked with to be carrying papers around. I also believe an e-portfolio will also showcase your online skills. I actually want to develop an e-portfolio and provide a link to potential employers. Thank you for the Web site recommendations. I will use one of these helpful sites before my internship interviews and future career opportunities.

  4. Dawn Gilpin says:

    Just a test comment, disregard!

  5. ekozak says:

    I also attended this session at the PRSSA National Conference and found it really interesting. I think the best part of the e-portfolio is that you can send a single link that can be opened by the potential employer, as opposed to emails with multiple attachments that may get lost. The one down side is that you cannot customize your e-portfolio to each employer as you would with a resume, cover letter and the hard copy portfolio that you would bring to an interview.

    One point I disagreed with – the code of ethics. Although I see the reasoning behind including it, I hesitate to see potential employers being impressed with this. I would rather include just the items that are relevant to the potential employer.

    Also, the e-portfolio is a great tool that can be linked to blogs, your LinkedIn page, your Twitter page, etc. This means potential employers could see something they like on any of your social networking sites and seek out information about you. They might be so impressed that they could contact you for an interview, even if were not currently advertising any open positions.

  6. astrazzara says:

    I attended the e-portfolio seminar at PRSSA National Conference, and I think an e-portfolio is a useful tool to have. First of all, it puts all your information on one web page. The employer doesn’t have to do any searching for you, which I think they’ll appreciate. They’ll also be impressed that you took enough time and thought to create a meaningful representation of what you have to offer. If you go above and beyond on an e-portfolio, the employer will know you’re always willing to put forth that extra effort.

    The speakers mentioned putting writing samples for high school, poetry and items along that line, but I think that’s not applicable to most people. I think it should be quality over quantity, and not everything you have ever written in your life should be included in your e-portfolio. Focus on your best writing samples and present those to your potential employer.

  7. bgansar says:

    I don’t know why I have never heard of this or even thought about the idea, but it is genius and so simple. It sounds like with an e-portfolio you should be able to put a lot more examples of your work and things that are not so easy to show in an internview by just handing over a book of stuff. It can be a tool that you say “and if you go to my e-portfolio you can check out…” The employer can see things before and after-since normally your portfolio wont be left with them. The samples are there for their viewing at their convenience. PLUS it is so impressive to be able to say “Oh yea just check out my e-portfolio” (that I designed myself and shows off all of my work)! I am quite upset that I have not learned about this or had a chance to make one during a class and get teacher-feedback. But I guess I will just have to start on my own.

  8. bgansar says:

    Sorry I had a question that I forgot to ask… where do they suggest you do this? Just add it on to a website or what?

  9. ecain says:

    Kim, it is so interesting that you mention this topic. Last semester I took a class called the Sociology of Work for my minor and our final project was actually to create an e-portfolio. We created it on Google Sites and it included our resume and a skills section that was specifically for that class. I had never heard of creating a portfolio this way, but I thought this was a great way to market yourself outside of the traditional hard copy resume and cover letter. I think e-portfolios are a great new way to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants and in this job market that is very important. Overall I think that e-portfolios are great and I fully intend to make one once the hustle and bustle of this semester is over.

  10. kinoshita says:

    Whitney: You are absolutely right. An employer can get a better sense of who you are. I think an e-portfolio allows for a bit more personality because it’s more interactive and less restrictive. Online settings, in general, tend to leave more room for creativity than print. You can still provide the traditional resume and portfolio while providing a jazzier version online. Best of both worlds.

    Stephanie: I didn’t want to carry around my resume at conference either. I brought copies of my resume just in case but didn’t need them. My business card was adequate. I noticed most students had their resumes but weren’t handing them out. I agree an e-portfolio will showcase your online skills.

    Erin: You made several good points. It is a great way to aggregate all of your information. Yes, you do lose the ability to personalize and tailor your resume, cover letter and portfolio, but you can always bring those tailored pieces to the interview. Where the code of ethics is concerned, I see your point. I think it depends largely on you as a person and the employer. I think it’s a personal choice. If a company will be turned off by the inclusion of a personal code of ethics then maybe they weren’t the right company for you to begin with.

    Ashley: I agree wholeheartedly- quality over quantity. You don’t want to overwhelm your potential employer, especially if it’s with unnecessary materials. Perhaps other PR programs don’t provide their students with the same opportunities to create an extensive body of writing samples like Cronkite. I know I can’t include all my work. My portfolio for JMC 415 alone is somewhere around 20 pages.

    Brittany: Glad you found the post so informative. It’s simple and genius. You could include your e-portfolio link anywhere. You could ask potential employers if you could e-mail your e-portfolio before your interview or after. You could e-mail your e-portfolio to companies you are hoping to get an interview with. I don’t remember ISU stating specifically where to include it but probably the obvious places like resumes, business cards, in your e-mail signature and your LinkedIn account. I also think it depends on what stage your career is in. If you are looking for a job then include the link on everything. If you have a job and aren’t looking for another one then probably business cards and your LinkedIn profile will suffice.

    Elizabeth: Google Sites, huh? I will have to check it out. I only glanced at the ones ISU recommended and they were all free. I think the e-portfolio is very tech savvy and think a potential employer would find it impressive and appealing. It shows you are up-to-date, if not, ahead of the curve. Perhaps what we would call early adopters?

  11. bjohnson says:

    I think the e-portfolio is a great idea especially as we move into the Web 2.0 world. PR practitioners understand the need for quick messaging and from what I have observed they want to be able to see writing clips to get a better idea of the potential employee.

    I don’t think that the e-portfolio should have everything in it that one has written since grade school but I think the platform can serve a great purpose if it carries with it a person’s strongest pieces.

    I myself just got a Web site for my writing clips- similar to an e-portfolio, however, there are a few differences and I would like to be able to incorporate more of what the portfolio offers.

  12. sclarke says:

    This post was very interesting for me to read because I have been trying to figure out how to create a webpage to show my portfolio. I have never learned how to create a resume and post it online so an e-portfolio sounds extremely beneficial. Although I have hard copies of all my work, I would like to post it online so that employers can see before an initial interview.

    I agree with Erin, however, on the code of ethics section. That seems a bit irrelevant especially for a recent graduate. This is something that an employer may or may not be impressed with. I find it kind of difficult to come up with your own personal code of ethics when you have yet to enter the work force.

    I will look into those sites and work into creating my e-portfolio because that can look very good to any employer. Thanks for the insight!

  13. bihrig says:

    What a wonderful idea. I always wondered what the best way to present myself to an employer was. A traditional resume doesn’t cut it today especially in PR. I think the e-portfolio is very professional and relevant to PR work. Having an e-portfolio for offer to a potential employer is something I would provide at an interview. At first I though including with an application would be a good idea but changed my mind quickly. I would want an employer to met me in person first before they judge my work too much. Thanks for the information and links. I think this has been the most useful post this semester.

  14. edean says:

    Great topic! I had previously heard the term e-portfolio being thrown around but didn’t know they had Web sites dedicated to it. This is exciting news! At the conference, did they have reviews on each? I was upset I didn’t get to attend this so thank you for posting the information.
    I agree that it does show more personality and that’s what employers want to see if they’re going to take the time to interview you. I do think there is the potential to overload an e-portfolio. Like Ashley mentioned, it should be focused on your best writing samples. I love the code of ethics provided, I think this helps gear us in the right direction when as we go about making one.

  15. ncano says:

    This is the perfect topic. I was just discussing my resume with Dr. G the other day and she told me that having an online web site that is dedicated to showing your digital portfolio is the way to go. It’s easy to hand a business card to someone, but even better if you have a web site that you can put on that business card. It makes everything easier when you are trying to send in your resume because you do want to include your writing samples from 301, or show your blog off to the company you are applying to. It shows your credibility and adds to your visibility as an employer.

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