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On the hunt for a new e-learning job? You’re not alone. The recent economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has led many companies—particularly in the service, travel, and retail sectors—to downsize their training teams. Though there are more e-learning professionals looking for work right now, the good news is there are loads of amazing e-learning jobs out there. All you need to do is find the right fit for your skills and background, and make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Making sure you and your work stand out is one of the many things an e-learning portfolio can do! A great portfolio gives potential employers a better sense of who you are and your skills as a designer/developer, and demonstrates your personality and creativity in ways that don’t come through in a résumé (though you will for sure want an awesome résumé as well). 

Creating an e-learning portfolio is also super easy these days. In fact, your E-Learning Heroes Member Profile page showcases everything you’ve shared in the community, which also means it’s a convenient and free e-learning portfolio! Everything you share in the community includes downloads, examples, discussions you’ve started, and even articles you’ve posted. You can also upload your own course examples and downloads to your member profile page without sharing them in the community. Learn more about using your E-Learning Heroes Member Profile page as your e-learning portfolio in this article: Showcase Your E-Learning Work with New and Improved Member Profiles.

We’ve talked about why you need an e-learning portfolio and how to use your e-learning heroes profile page as a free portfolio, but you might be wondering: how do you know what to actually include in your portfolio? That’s the question we’re going to tackle in the rest of this article. I’ve pulled together loads of tips and ideas to help you beef up your e-learning portfolio for maximum impact.

Use live links to published projects instead of static screenshots.

There’s nothing more disappointing than clicking on someone’s e-learning portfolio link only to find that their site is full of static screenshots of projects you can’t interact with. Using screenshots just doesn’t give prospective employers a sense of your design capabilities like linking to a published project does.

Add more variety to your portfolio with weekly E-Learning Challenges.

There are many good reasons to build up a portfolio of work samples full of diverse styles, interactivity, and covering a broad array of topics. I find the weekly E-Learning Challenges on E-Learning Heroes are a great way to do this since they prompt you to explore innovative ways of tackling problems while you learn new skills—and stretch your creative muscles. The weekly challenges are also an easy way to create a free portfolio of cool, creative projects that represent your design perspective without the constraints imposed by corporate branding guidelines.

If you only have work from employers or clients right now, be sure to ask permission before uploading those projects to your portfolio so you don’t break any confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements. If sharing proprietary information is of concern, you can always offer to use only a portion of a project in your portfolio or to create a copy of the project, strip out any branding, and replace proprietary copy with lorem ipsum text. In my experience, most employers and clients are willing to work with you to arrive at a good compromise. 

Focus on quality over quantity.

A great e-learning portfolio should spotlight your skills and experience. That means your goal is to curate a small collection of high-quality work samples that demonstrate a range of skills. Don’t get too hung up on having dozens of projects in your portfolio. It’s better to showcase three or four beautiful, unique projects than a dozen mediocre ones with a similar look and feel.

Provide a brief description of each project.

Don’t simply post a bunch of links to your portfolio website and call it done. A great portfolio should look nice AND give prospective clients and employers context for each project. Write a brief description explaining why you chose to include each project in your portfolio. You can also highlight the challenges the project presented, the solutions you found, and any goals you achieved for yourself, the client, or the learners. Even just a few sentences will give visitors to your e-learning portfolio a better idea of who you are and how you work.

Feature your technical skills.

E-learning professionals are often masters of multiple apps—both for authoring e-learning courses and creating custom media to enhance their projects. If you’re proficient in multiple apps, be sure to name them and provide links to relevant samples in your portfolio. For example, if you’re a whiz in Storyline 360, call that out and link to a published Storyline project. If you’re a pro at editing video in Adobe Premiere or podcasts in Pro Tools, call those apps out too.

Showcase your professional background and achievements or endorsements.

To underline your professionalism, make sure your digital portfolio includes a page that highlights some key information about your professional background. You don’t want to make this into a copy of your résumé (although linking to your resume from this page can be handy), but you do want to give potential employers or clients a sense of your background.

To strike the right balance, consider including things like:

  • Where and what you’ve studied
  • Companies you’ve worked with or for
  • Any areas of e-learning specialization, such as creating K-12 education or training for the pharmaceutical industry
  • Any professional certifications 
  • Any awards or honors for your work

Another thing to include is any professional endorsements or reviews of your work. If you don’t have any yet, ask a trusted colleague or happy client to write a short recommendation of you and your work. 

Include links to published articles, blogs, and conference presentations.

While your e-learning portfolio should primarily focus on your e-learning work, it’s also a good way to share how you and your work are seen by the broader industry. For instance, if you’ve published articles in industry trade publications on e-learning–related topics or had one of your projects featured in a widely distributed newsletter, including links to those publications shows that you’re a thoughtful, well-respected leader and contributor. The same goes for speaking opportunities: provide the name of your session, where and when you spoke, a brief overview of the topic, and link to any published slides or video of your presentation.

Is there anything missing from this list? I’d love to hear your tips and ideas for what to include in an e-learning portfolio, so please leave them in a comment, below.

Want to share your e-learning portfolio? Post a reply with a link to your portfolio in this E-Learning Challenge

While you’re here, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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Trina Rimmer