Student Portfolio: Spotlight Your Hard Work

A student portfolio is one tool that helps connect your college coursework to your life and career goals. Until I developed a portfolio system, I lost evidence of hard work in my education and career. Many writings and projects portraying my talents and growth have slipped through my fingers.

Student portfolios are not something you prepare just in time for a job search. Build your student portfolio as you take your courses and end experience your college years. A portfolio is an excellent source for planning, tracking growth, and reflection. Collecting artifacts of your student work can be a labor of love. Student portfolios celebrate your ideas, development, accomplishments, and future ambitions.

Identify Purpose:

To begin, identify a portfolio purpose. You can collect artifacts that support your career goals, represent your values, or a combination. Knowing the basis for your portfolio collection helps you be more decisive in what to include. A student portfolio can be a depository to pull from when needed or published for others to see. Identify the purpose of the portfolio and write that purpose in alignment with a goal or value. Your student portfolio is more valuable to you when the collection is strategically meaningful.

Collect Artifacts:

Next, watch for artifacts aligned with your goals or values that best represent your abilities and experiences. The evidence you collect can be finished products or samples of your work throughout a process. For example, I may decide to save completed works that demonstrate my writing, planning, leadership, and collaboration skills. Or, I could also include project planning documents or outlines. Your portfolio can consist of course assignments, instructor or peer feedback, or organization/volunteer/civic projects. Include data that demonstrates impact of your volunteering or internships. Also, pictures of your involvement can portray your experiences. Be sure to include headings that make it easy for others to understand the importance of each artifact.

When choosing artifacts to post in your portfolio consider items that demonstrate your skills, demonstrate your interests, and align with the role responsibilities in your chosen career. Remember that the evidence that you collect will represent your experience and skills, as well as your personality and voice.

Choose Storage Method:

Also, decide how you would like to store your portfolio items. You may choose to have hard copies of your collection. It’s a good idea to have a digital portfolio for safe storage and ease of sharing. Several applications or web hosting sites can help you organize writing, projects, visuals, and videos all in one place. There are many acceptable formats for the portfolio ranging from a list with hyperlinked headings to thumbnails for visual representation with a description and link to the saved artifact. You may choose to share the portfolio link to your social media platforms and resume. if you are concerned about posting personal information for general public access, add password protection that can be shared with potential employers.

Don’t worry if you haven’t been saving products from your student journey. You can start from this point forward by gathering artifacts as you move along. Once you have a written portfolio purpose, it will be easier to regularly schedule time to add more items from previous semesters. Breathe and enjoy the process.

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