Portfolios for K-12 Employees
Your professional portfolio is a showcase of your work that will likely help you get a competitive edge in a tight job market.
A portfolio is a collection of items that helps you highlight your skills and strengths in order to market your qualifications to potential employers. An "e-portfolio" is simply an electronic or online portfolio. In Minnesota, anyone can create an e-portfolio using eFolioMinnesota™ at no cost. View a sample e-portfolio.
Below are some of the ways that you can create and use a portfolio.
Types of Portfolios for Teachers
Portfolios have long been utilized by teachers, schools, and licensing agencies. Common uses of portfolios for teachers are described below.
Licensure via Portfolio provides an alternative pathway to a full professional Minnesota education license.
Teachers currently enrolled in teacher education programs often use portfolios for their lesson plans, competencies, or to demonstrate video interactions with their students.
eFolioMinnesota™, a web-based portfolio can help you create an interactive showcase of your education, career, and personal achievements. You can update your existing teacher portfolio or create a new portfolio to search for positions not related to education or training.
How to Set Up Your Portfolio
Effective portfolios require effort to determine the best ways to showcase your achievements and skills to potential employers. Whether it's online or hard copy, follow these steps to set up and use your portfolio.
- Step One: Analyzing
Think about potential employers when deciding what you want to include in your portfolio. Employers want to know "why should I hire you?" Make a list of your skills, knowledge areas, competencies, and experiences. From this list, what do you want potential employers to know about you? Research industry trends and potential employers to know what they might want from their employees. A good place to start is to explore careers.
- Step Two: Collecting and Organizing
Collect evidence of your activities, assignments, accomplishments, training, and other items that demonstrate your expertise as an educator. These materials can include lesson plans, class projects, research papers, performance reviews, and recognition from parents and former students. Review your collection and determine how to organize it: by subject, learning outcomes (skills), grade, chronologically, etc.
- Step Three: Filtering and Presenting
When preparing for interviews, review your portfolio materials to determine which items best support the job description and desired skills provided by the potential employer. A good-sized, hard-copy, job-related portfolio may be 10 to 20 pages. You can present your portfolio online or in-person. Make sure your portfolio is well-organized with a table of contents or easy to understand themes. Think of how to briefly describe your reasoning behind why you included each item. Consider including captions, summaries, or highlights as explanation.
- Step Four: Interviewing
How you use your portfolio will depend upon your style and the interest of your interviewers. You can start the interview by asking the interviewer when they'd like to see your portfolio. Or you can wait until you are addressing questions that can be supported by showcasing your achievements and skills. If possible, you may bring a laptop to an interview to highlight your online portfolio. Follow these general tips for preparing for interviews.
Possible Items to Include in Your Portfolio
Use this list to help you determine items for your portfolio. When possible, include outcomes of your achievements. When using a paper portfolio, include a table of contents.
- Summary or objective statement
- Professional goals/learning outcomes
- Experience and skills (resume, education and training, certifications, languages spoken, etc.)
- Teaching evaluations
- Leadership experiences
- Professional memberships
- Letters of recommendation
- Transcripts and academic honors/awards
- Teaching (lesson plans, class projects, assignments, etc.)
- Individual or team projects (event promotion, research, technical, etc.)
- Writing (blogs, newspapers, journals, grant proposals, reports, marketing plans, etc.)
- Artistic (artwork, photography, etc.)
- Design (graphic, web, interior, apparel, exhibit, etc.)
- Multimedia (presentations, videos, music, interactive, etc.)