A friend of mine currently works for an e-learning agency, but always keeps an eye out for other opportunities in the marketplace. Recently, she asked me how she could get ready in case the right gig came along. It’s a great question and I’d like to share my thoughts on it, and get your input as well.
Be ready for opportunities
It takes time to collect all the information required to apply for a job or a project. And often, you need to submit it sooner rather than later. So take time regularly to revisit and polish up the work in your portfolio. Even if you’re not looking for a job right now, maintaining your portfolio will save you a ton of time and effort when you need to show your work. And if you don’t have access to projects any longer, or you’d like to show them in progressing states of development, you can always recreate samples in Articulate Storyline.
Organize your projects
Friends say that putting a portfolio together takes an enormous, focused effort. It’s not easy to show a succinct yet complete overview of the types of projects completed, industries worked in, software used, and skills developed. Imagine the collection of your work as a visual means to tell your professional “story”: what you’ve done, where you’ve worked, how you did it, and what you learned. When you have the right pieces in your portfolio, you have a fantastic visual toolkit that captures your professional development, strengths, and interests.
Know your skills and strengths
Despite the gray hairs they create, challenging projects are opportunities to develop and grow your skills. So try to periodically reflect on what you’ve learned and how this is shaping your professional development. For example, where do you want to be in X years, and what’s the skill set needed for that? If you have a certain job or project you’d like to pursue, this exercise will make it easier to match their needs with what you can offer. Then, be ready to highlight what you can provide on top of that. Standing out against your competitors is key.
Maintain your portfolio
The most daunting part of creating your portfolio is simply getting started. After the initial effort, it’s relatively easy to keep it updated with projects you’ve done and skills you’ve learned as an e-learning developer. Put a periodic reminder in your calendar or at the end of your project plan that nudges you to make those updates before immersing yourself in your next project. Investing a little time regularly will save you a lot of time later on!
Remember, an e-learning portfolio makes it easier for employers to get a feeling for your work, and to evaluate whether you’re a good match for their company or for a project. So use yours to help you stand out. Make sure it’s neat, current, and helps sell them on your professional experience. When that dream job comes knocking, you’ll be glad your portfolio is crisp! :)
For inspiration on creating awesome e-learning portfolios, check out the submissions from our E-Learning Challenge #46: Show Us Your E-Learning Portfolio.
We also have an area in the E-Learning Heroes Community where you can submit the link to your portfolio: Do you have an e-learning portfolio? Share your links here!
Follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any comments, please share them below.