PROJECT 23: Career Portfolio (REQUIRED)
This project is a required final exercise. Its goal is to encourage you to review the content covered in the class and, based upon the projects that you completed, develop a strategic career plan portfolio that you can use many times during your working life as a strategy foundation.
The career portfolio is not intended to create a lot of new work for you. If you have been reading the textbook, attending lectures and discussion sessions, and completing appropriate career-related projects, most of your written work is finished.
A career portfolio is a compendium of many facets of your past behaviors, competencies learned, evaluation of your competency proficiency, and future career activities.
If a career partner of yours reads your career portfolio, they will shortly have a thorough understanding of your past, present and future as it relates to your career plans and aspirations in the next three to five years.
Regardless of which of the eight career tracks you originally selected, your final career portfolio will become your personal strategic plan. It is amazing the number of high-powered MBA graduates who are willing to spend years working on a corporation’s strategic business plan but spend almost no time working on their own personal strategic career plan. This is your opportunity to do your own strategic career planning as your textbook has defined it.
The projects that you selected to complete should be related to the career track that you selected to pursue. The eight tracks are:
Ø Search Track
Ø Management Skills Track
Ø Graduate Study Track
Ø Entrepreneurial Track
Ø Foreign National Home Country Employment Track
Ø Independent Career Track
NOTE: Project 23 must be presented orally to your Career Counselor at your last lab session in Week 10 following all other projects that you wish to submit.
CAREER PORTFOLIO STRATEGY
In Project 2 you were asked to read this last project so you would have a road map of where this career course was planning to take you. The class goes fast. You made many tactical, as well as strategic, decisions as you moved through the course. Some of the projects were probably more useful than others.
Your Career Counselor tried to gently guide you in the direction that you indicated might best fit your competencies and long-term career interests. Your short-term needs were not abandoned as you also prepared the highest quality tools for your immediate job goals, whether that included an internship, full-time employment, graduate study, or some other short- or long-term career plan.
Career Portfolio Components
A career portfolio is a selective (not all inclusive) and purposeful collection of career-related materials that you assemble. The goal of your portfolio is to demonstrate your VIPs to yourself and carefully selected career partners, counselors, and advisors. It is more than a resume, transcript, test results, or listing of experiences and high achievements.
Portfolios are personal and they focus on a positive reflection of your past behaviors. Portfolios provide a meaningful documentation of each of your VIPs. Once collected like this, it is very easy to keep updated. You are likely to return to your portfolio for update purposes once or twice per year.
Portfolios provide an indication of your career progress and help you to periodically assess if you are still on the right career highway. Detours are inevitable but before you veer too far off-course, you need to let up on the speedometer, recheck your location, and re-map your new route if you have gotten off-track.
This is your personal career plan strategy. Think of your career portfolio as your personal and private website. Everything that goes into your extended resume becomes part of “My Career Website.” What do you include in the open website and in that very important “password-protected” part of your site?
Your “Career Portfolio” page may contain the following internally linked components. Which components do you want to publicly discuss with future head hunters; namely, search firms who come to you in the years ahead?
Career portfolios may contain the following:
Ø Job resume
Ø Networking recommender resume
Ø Work samples
Ø Interview preparation responses
Ø Career testing results
Ø Academic transcripts
Ø Sample cover letters
Ø Interview S.T.A.R.s
Ø Past, present and future job descriptions
Ø Career profiles for potential career fields
Ø List of competencies
Ø Community involvement
Ø Past performance appraisals
Ø Skill listings: computer, languages, communication, etc.
Ø Networking contacts
Ø Past employment contacts and communications
Ø Past work projects completed
Ø Awards, recognitions, successes, etc.
Ø Graduate study plans
Ø Career failure analysis
Ø Career mobility factors
Ø Leadership activities
Ø Volunteer projects
Ø Certifications and licenses
Ø And other items relevant to your unique career interests.
You are likely to draw your future career tools, marketing techniques, job search strategies, and job promotion skill set from this collection of career-related elements. Whether your aspirations involve further education, multiple job changes, multiple employer changes, your own full-time or part-time business, etc., you need an organized storage chest of your competencies.
Future career partners need to know where you have been in order to help locate your future destination. Your portfolio will keep your past well-organized and provide a vehicle to maintain your needed documentation. Share the important and relevant parts with your Career Counselor.
Some individuals even make a website using Microsoft FrontPage, DreamWeaver, or other software programs for this data and password protect it. Networking, more than any other job search strategy, is your number one way to advancing. Networking is greatly facilitated by having a career portfolio primed up and ready to deliver to a networking partner.
Your portfolio should contain career-related content that expands, supports, and elaborates on the information typically found on your multiple-page networking recommender resume. Throughout your academic career and employment you should collect and preserve documents for your portfolio. It should always be an available overview that you can use to showcase your competencies when the headhunter calls.
Be careful to maintain your portfolio in a secure location for legal and safety reasons. Be especially careful about what you post on your website or distribute in other ways.
Complete all parts of the project.
A. The career portfolio project is your final exercise. You probably already have most of the materials in some type of electronic word-processed format. For many students this will be a simple organized collection of the eight to ten projects that they completed in the course. It will be a compilation of what you wrote in the class supplemented with what you learned and achieved.
Re-package your projects and materials mentioned in the list above. Order them in a manner that fits your future career resource needs, but try to follow the outline of the chapters in Career Planning Strategies: Hire Me! (5th Edition).
Earlier during the first two class weeks you prepared a plan for completing your projects based upon the most common career tracks that were recommended. You were given some flexibility in changing your mind as you gained more career information as you progressed through the course. In Part A, discuss how your original plan came together and what changes you felt that you needed to make and why you changed. Spend about two minutes reviewing where you were at the beginning of class and how your career plans matured as you progressed during the past ten weeks.
B. You will have 10 minutes to present your career portfolio. Come to this meeting with a minimum of all your previous projects.
Based upon the description of a career portfolio, please use your past projects and other documents in your presentation. File them in a file folder or notebook titled “My Career Portfolio.” You will need to show the portfolio and everything in it to your Career Counselor. It will be returned to you for your personal use immediately after your final exercise.
You were given great flexibility in the design of each project. You were encouraged to adapt the generic projects in such a way that it would benefit you now and in the future based upon the career track that you selected.
Parts of this career portfolio are what you will share with your future networking partners, career coaches, mentors, career counselors, family, and recommenders. You need to be able to use it as an outline and present your background and career interests to a career advisor within 10 minutes.
C. Verbally deliver your career portfolio to your Career Counselor in 10 minutes. This does not include Part A. Stay on track. This is similar to an interview where the potential employer says “Tell me about yourself.”
As you tell your story, use the information that you accumulated in this course and inserted into your “Career Portfolio” folder as a guide. Use your completed projects as your story outline.
As you talk about your past accomplishments, relate your story to your future plans. Go beyond graduate school and your first job after college as you relate your plans. Pretend that you are delivering this to a trusted career mentor/coach that you truly respect. Focus on the next three to five years as you cover your past and relate your accomplishments and competencies to the future. Part of your presentation should be future-oriented.
D. On this final exercise you will receive a “Satisfactory” grade if you follow all the directions. To earn an “Outstanding” grade you must clearly articulate a sound career planning strategy for yourself.
As you sum up your background in the last two to four minutes, describe what you consider to be your top five competencies, your level of expertise in each, and how you acquired each competency. Discuss your future! How did this course facilitate your career planning strategies?
E. At the end of the counseling session your Career Counselor will give you an assessment of your performance. Hopefully, you will leave with some recommendations that may improve your next performance in delivering your career portfolio. Of course, depending on whether it is to a career coach or in a job interview, the information that you share with each will be different.
F. Your career portfolio is a great way to finish this course in career planning strategies. Your Career Counselor would enjoy having your personal feedback on how this class can be enhanced in the future. Your candidness will have no impact on your grade.
Clearly, we hope that you learned a lot from your first to your last meetings with your Career Counselor. Our goal is to redesign the class each semester so we can continuously improve this course. We need your final thoughts on your recommendations for future classes.
The faculty and staff wish you the best of career success as you start to implement the strategies that you were taught in the textbook, projects, lectures, and discussion sections.