E-Portfolios – The New Resume for Students?

The traditional resume is far from dead. You’ll need that for most internship or job applications. But many colleges and employers are wanting a more insightful (and creative) view of your talents – even if you aren’t in a creative major or profession. And you will want to stand out from the crowd.

e-portfolio by CarbonmadeCreative professionals need a repository of work that shows engagement and abilities. This need to showcase creative work was the first application for e-portfolios. Whether you are focused on a creative profession such as photography or trying to stand out competitively as a business major, an e-portfolio is quickly becoming a popular and effective tool. Creativity is an asset valued greatly by any employer in any industry.

A portfolio is a collection of work developed across varied contexts over time.
The electronic format allows faculty and employers to evaluate student and applicants using technology, which may include the Internet, video, animation or audio. Electronic portfolios are becoming a popular alternative to traditional paper-based portfolios because they offer practitioners and peers the opportunity to review, communicate and assess portfolios in an asynchronous manner.

For college students, an ePortfolio is a collection of a student’s work in electronic format. You should include a welcome/introduction to your ePortfolio. This is the first virtual impression that people will have of you, so make it a great one! You may even want to include a video welcome where you explain the organization of your ePortfolio and direct the viewer through the site. Your ePortfolio may contain all or some of the following:

  1. Supporting files of various formats (text, pictures, video, etc.)
  2. Evaluations, analysis and recommendations
  3. Evidence of General Education competencies
  4. Writing samples (which might include several drafts to show development and improvement)
  5. Projects prepared for class or extracurricular activities
  6. Evidence of creativity and performance
  7. Evidence of extracurricular activities, including examples of leadership

Employers are starting to look at the portfolio as a means of assessing the total talent of an individual.

Since we now live in the internet age where anyone can access anything anytime, it is imperative that you have an online portfolio. The only real problem is figuring out where to put your work – there are so many online portfolio tools and communities, it can be challenging to determine which one will work best for you. Many e-portfolio solutions are offered at no cost. Below are just a few that have different strengths.

Online Portfolio Strategy

Online portfolios are an easy way for potential employers to view your work samples.

The Internet makes it easier than ever to share your work samples. Include your portfolio’s web address on all job search communication. If you participate in online networking, add a link to your online portfolio. This will make it easier for your network to recommend your work to others.

Organize your work samples thoughtfully as you would with paper portfolios, but take advantage of the Internet’s ability to link pages with one another.

Research your technical options carefully. Free services allow you to get up and running quickly with limited design skills, but may come with some disadvantages:

  • They may restrict how many files you can upload as well as the type AND size of the files.
  • They may allow limited customization.
  • They may insert ads on your pages. (This is how some can offer it for free.)

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Which you choose will depend on your needs, time, budget, and web skills. Carefully compare features to determine which one meets your needs.


Free or subscription-based portfolios tend to allow larger and a wider range of file types. These files are uploaded directly to the host site. There are a variety of free portfolio options. Most are geared toward presenting graphic elements rather than text. These are ideal if you need to showcase work visually.

Check these out to find the best fit for your needs:

Whatever your discipline or career direction, you can rest assured that there is an online portfolio tool specific to your niche waiting for you to create your very own portfolio and help you market and sell your talent.

Carl Nielson is the creator of Career Coaching for Students and Student Resource Central, the most comprehensive one-stop resource for career exploration, major and education institution research and leading thought for students in high school and college.

5 responses to “E-Portfolios – The New Resume for Students?

  1. Pingback: E-Portfolios - The New Resume for Students? | d...

  2. We are incorporating eportfolios into our high school career and life management classes, starting from Grade 9 – by Grade 12, not only should students have a great understanding of how these work, but they will have their 21st Century Learning skills and progression documented, journal reflections completed, and a handy place to keep all their “exemplars”. We are using the opensource Mahara eportfolio and highly recommend it. I also work privately with students and we are using these for scholarship applications now. Karen Girard http://www.karengirard.com

    • Karen, congratulations on both the use of an e-portfolio and the work you are doing with the high school. You are demonstrating a great model for high schools to leverage external resources to provide “best-in-class” state-of-the-art strategies, expertise and tools.

  3. Pingback: E-Portfolios – The New Resume for Student...

  4. Pingback: E-Portfolios - The New Resume for Students? | J...

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