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Career Development Center University of Illinois Springfield

Portfolios for Grad School

Portfolios are significantly useful tools for marketing yourself. A portfolio can consist of a variety of items which may be examples of items listed on your resume or may illustrate accomplishments, skills, and achievements not listed on your resume. Like your resume, it is a good idea to have a master portfolio from which you can pull materials from for each portfolio you send out or present. Each portfolio you send out or present during an interview will consist of items applicable to each position or program.

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Organizing Your Portfolio

  • Determine the skills necessary for the position or program you will be interviewing for.
  • Choose documents and professional materials that will document how you have used those skills.
  • Use a professional looking portfolio notebook to hold your portfolio’s contents.
  • Utilize plastic page covers for arranging your materials and protecting them.
  • Label the different sections of your portfolio to ease finding information and grouping materials.
  • Be sure to update your master portfolio often for interviews or opportunities that come up at the last moment.

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What to Include in Your Portfolio

When developing your portfolio, consider including:

  • Resume and/or Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Official copies of your transcript.
  • A fact sheet, in list form, that displays your skills and professional interests.
  • A list of experiences that might not fit into your resume.
  • Certificates of awards and honors; certifications for special trainings.
  • A program or flyer from an event you planned or participated in.
  • A list of conferences & workshops you have attended with descriptions.
  • Samples of your writing, including research papers and other academic work.
  • Documentation of technical or computer skills.
  • Letters of commendation or thanks.
  • Letters of nomination to honors and academic organizations.
  • Newspaper articles that address achievements.
  • Internship or co-op summary report.
  • Personal statements, goals statements, statements of purpose.
  • Documents specific to your field (i.e. artist statements).
  • Photos demonstrating your professional experience, including captions.
  • A disk containing your e-Portfolio.

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Creating an e-Portfolio

An e-Portfolio, if requested or expected byan employer or school you are applying to, can be even moreeffective at showing your creativity and professionalism and iseasy for others to access. Use the new Optimal Resume portfolio module to build and house your professional e-portfolio.

By using an e-Portfolio, employers will be able to identify that you are familiar with various types of computer programs and technologies, which is very important, especially in fields such as computer science, graphic design, music, and others that depend highly on technology. Electronic portfolios allow for additional documentation than printed versions and can include items such as:

  • Audio clips, such as your boss giving a positive evaluation of you.
  • Video clips, such as you on the job.
  • Links to e-mail addresses.
  • Links to the UIS homepage and your program’s website.
  • Links to your professional networking website.
  • Online materials you have created, such as graphics or animations.

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Tools for Grad School Portfolios

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Additional Resources

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