I have an ePortfolio which is living document which I use for recording my achievements and facilitating my reflections on my work. I have developed it in a wiki and it is a 'one size fits all', but recently I have started wondering if this approach meets all my needs.
Function of my ePortfolio
Up until recently the main aim behind the development of my ePortfolio was my personal learning. I also wanted to show what could be done in the electronic environment to anyone interested in ePortfolios.
In three months time, my current contract will end and I will be looking for another job. So I am starting to think about how I can use my ePortfolio to support my applications for employment, or how I can feature it as I look for work as a consultant. But I am wondering if my ePortfolio will meet that need in its current state.
ePortfolios, employers and job hunting
I'll tell you what got me started thinking about the different types of ePortfolio.
I sent an email to a potential employer as a 'cold-call' measure. In that email I described my skills and experience, and offered my services as a researcher/teacher/project manager. I gave her the link to my ePortfolio so she could have a browse around to get a better sense of who I am and what I could offer her in terms of services. She very quickly acknowledged my email, but asked me to send her my CV.
This left me wondering if she had looked at my ePortfolio, and what she thought of it. When I reviewed it, I realized how much material there is in it - far too much for a future employer to wade through. This has left me wondering if it would put a future employer off, rather than attract the employer? If that is the case, how do I present my material in a way that will capture the essence of who I am and what I do, and also capture the employer's imagination?
Types of ePortfolio
A little while ago Michele Martin talked about the different types of ePortfolio in a post called "EPortfolios for Professional Development: Sarah' Stewart's Online Portfolio", and suggested I may need a ePortfolio that was a work in progress, and a presentation ePortfolio. I resisted this because I couldn't be bothered with keeping two portfolios up and running. But now I am reviewing that decision.
What do employers want?
In all the years I have been working in midwifery and education, I have never had a potential employer ask to see my portfolio. And I wonder they are that interested. Surely it's quicker to skim through a CV?
So my question is: if employers are too busy to look at ePortfolios, what is the point in me worrying about having different types? Are we doing people a disfavor selling portfolios as a tool for job-hunting when the truth is that an employer would rather read a CV or resume?
I am not at all sure I need a presentation ePortfolio that is different to my 'working one', and if I do, I haven't a clue how it should look. Russ Gifford has talked about this in his post "ePortfolios - used in business?" and says it should be organized. So maybe what I need to do is to present select and key material to highlight my work. Ross also says that we should get out and promote our ePortfolios.
So that is what I would love to hear from you - do we need a presentation ePortfolio that is more focused than our 'work in progress' portfolio? How do we promote them to future employers? Would we be better off making sure we have a tip-top CV? What are your experiences of using ePortfolios when you have been job-hunting? If you are an employer, would you look at an ePortfolio?