By Liam Horan, Career Coach & Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers
When I was in college, the design students lugged their portfolios around in massive satchels draping from their shoulders, writes LIAM HORAN, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
Steal a march
Anyone walking with a hump these days either had a life of hardship on the farm – or a few years in design school. The technological revolution has made the lifting easier and the transporting simpler – and the impact greater.
‘Show me, don’t tell me’ is a maxim I’ve mentioned here on occasion. If you’re a teacher and you want me, a principal, to know you have good PowerPoints for your classroom, show me them. Don’t just tell me about them.
I return to this topic again today because of an interesting new development in this sector. Some time ago, I was interviewed about ePortfolios, or electronic portfolios to give them their full title.
The interview was conducted by Orla O’Loghlen, working on a project bringing together Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Hibernia College. The project was supported by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. It was funded by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2016 (Building Digital Capacity).
Her findings can now been distilled into a very informative site, www.eportfoliohub.ie.
The part that interested me was the use of ePortfolios in job-searching. Some findings jump out of the various reports. One doesn’t surprise me – 91 per cent of employers would view an applicant’s ePortfolio if a link were provided.
Another is that 59 per cent of employers think that requiring applicants to submit an ePortfolio could enhance the recruitment process. Phrases used by employers included:
‘I think it would add to the whole application process and assist in building a better knowledge and picture of the applicant.’
‘It will increase information that we have regarding the employee so in turn it will support decision making process.’
‘Narrow down the right people to interview.’
‘To gain a better understanding of the quality of candidate, experience, skills, communication skills etc.’
‘Better understanding of skills acquired by applicant.’
‘Better forum to display certain skills, i.e. chef.’
Yet, and here’s the rub, despite all of the foregoing, 96 per cent of recruiters are not familiar with ePortfolios. Apparently a nice idea when flagged to them, but not currently a major part of the mainstream recruitment process.
So what does this mean for a candidate?
Push open a door
In my view, it’s very simple: with an ePortfolio, you will not only push an open door, but you will be an innovator in so doing. Technology will make the ePortfolio commonplace before very long.
You can steal a march now by having yours. What should go in your ePortfolio?
The employer survey is again instructive: include your CV, say 66 per cent of employers. Fifty-nine per cent say your ePortfolio should feature ‘visual representations of your work’. Half of employers would like to see a reference there.
Other items proposed include projects, written work, video/audio recordings, presentations, case studies, reflections on work and, for teachers, lesson plans.
The study suggests that ePortfolios will not replace CVs any time soon – only 35 per cent of employers see that happening. But, in my opinion, and in the opinion of some others quoted in the report, they will at the very least act as a powerful addendum.
If you’re a job-seeker, perhaps it’s time to google ePortfolio to see what building your own might do for you.