How to build your ePortfolio
Step One: Begin drafting your narrative
It’s time to tell the story of YOU. That story should be a combination of your past, your present, and your future. It should describe your experiences (personal, academic and professional) and establish your vision for the future (professional goals and mission). It should illustrate how you are preparing yourself for life after undergraduate education, and show that you have reflected on what you have learned during your undergrad years.
The story you tell will be a NARRATIVE, not a list. While resumes are designed to be brief and easily scanned by future employers, portfolios are designed to tell a more personal story of your journey. For some of the sections below, you will write paragraphs to describe each element. To write these paragraphs, you may want to start by brainstorming a list, then converting that list into an outline, and then converting that outline into a paragraph. Don’t worry about getting it perfect right away. We will edit together later.
Your ePortfolio will likely not include ALL of the below elements. Rather, think of them as options. Write about the elements you most identify with, or that demonstrate your best personal and professional strengths.
- Introduce yourself, including your academic major and any other characteristics that you most want future employers, colleagues or professors to know. You may want to write this section last, after you have written the other sections.
- Describe your professional goals or what you hope to do with your education.
- Describe your mission (the impact you hope to have on improving the world).
- If your cultural values or life experiences have shaped your professional skills or approaches, describe these if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Describe any values that are important to your profession and/or your personal life (for instance, community service, volunteerism, entrepreneurism, international collaboration, innovation/creativity).
- Describe the most important lessons you have learned in college that will impact your future.
This should be the longest section. Use subheads if necessary. For any of these areas, feel free to include work in progress, as well as completed work. As you describe your experiences, you may want to use language that academics and future employers tend to use. If so, be sure to check out UNM5, which will help you translate college experiences into employer-speak.
- Describe any internships, job shadowing, mentorships or other career-prep experiences that demonstrate a commitment to your professional goals.
- Describe any leadership roles that connect to your chosen profession or shaped your skills/abilities.
- Describe the course(s) that have most shaped your successes and your futures.
- Describe the research projects you have been engaged in. What were your research areas or research questions? What were your findings? What did you learn from the process that has shaped your identity, self-efficacy or professional goals?
- Describe any professional conferences you have attended or presented at.
- Describe any experience you have with training, teaching or mentoring others.
- Describe your community service, community-connected learning experiences or volunteerism.
- Describe your greatest academic or professional success, that you are most proud of.
- Describe any other academic experiences that you feel have shaped you or have influenced your future choices.
Step Two: Assemble artifacts
Artifacts are “products” that can be collected and displayed online. Most often, these will be products that you have created yourself, though occasionally you may want to link to stories ABOUT you and your work that have been published elsewhere.
- Profile picture of you. This will be the first picture people see on your site. Use or create a picture where you are the main subject, where you fill the frame, and where the lighting is not too harsh or dark. Avoid using pictures where you are part of a group. If you’re not sure what picture would be best, no worries. We can talk through your options at the ePortfolio sessions. If you do not feel comfortable sharing a picture of yourself, that’s fine too.
- Photos, videos, documents or other materials that support ANY of the items you wrote about in the previous sections.
- Assignments/projects that you feel document your best work (especially those that demonstrate your abilities to write/communicate effectively).
- Photos that liven up your page, and show you in various academic, personal or professional contexts.
- A current copy of your resume.
Step Three: Identify an ePortfolio platform that you feel comfortable using.
Don’t get in too much of a hurry to find your platform. Once you build some content, you will have a better idea of which platform will serve you best. For instance, some platforms work better with photos, some do a better job of crafting stories, and others better incorporate videos.
When you are ready, we can talk through some options during our ePortfolio sessions. In the meantime, here is a PDF which lists some platform options.
We suggest using a platform that you will have access to after graduating UNM, so that you can continue to update and use your ePortfolio as move into graduate school and/or into your professional career.
Step Four: Create and publish your ePortfolio.
Once your ePortfolio meets your standards, go ahead and publish. We can help you expand visibility by linking to your ePortfolio on the UNM URAD Expo website. To post on URAD Expo, contact Tim Schroeder, URAD Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.