A Portfolio will provide you with an organized electronic collection of materials, artifacts and evidence that summarizes, highlights and validates . .
– who you are as a person
– what you know and can do
– what you hope to do.
It will be an evolving work in progress as you add or delete documents that demonstrate your most current skills. With this in mind, you will want to follow a systematic process to help you identify what to put into your Portfolio. The CROS (Collection, Reflection, Organization and Selection) system is a tested and tried system that has assisted many people with the development of their Portfolio.
Step 1: C – Collection
Search through your file folders, boxes and computer documents for any evidence that says something about you and your skills. Keep an ongoing list of what you have FOUND. This will help you to keep track of what you have so that it is not forgotten later. When you find something useful, it often reminds you of something else that you have somewhere that might also be useable. Create another list entitled TO FIND. This list will include those items that you know you have somewhere, but you will have to keep searching in other places (Mom’s basement?) to find it.
Create another list of items under the heading: REQUEST. This list will include documents that you are not able to find, but you know that someone else may have this item. This will save time when you begin writing letters or emails to employers or colleagues to request these documents. You can do it all in one sitting, sending “copied” messages to several people, if necessary, to request the desired document.
One more useful list will be entitled CREATE. This list will include items that you know are lost or destroyed. This may be a long list if you have experienced the misfortune of a computer crash. The items destroyed may have to be recreated if you feel they will be a valuable addition to your Portfolio.
Reflecting on our lives in general allows us to gain a better sense of who we are, what we have done, what we know, and what our goals of the future are. It may also help us to see patterns in our lives, and to evaluate professional and personal growth. The reflection process is a necessary step in identifying what to put into an Portfolio. Here are five key questions to assist you with the first step of the reflection process:
1. What three words describe me best?
2. What are my five top skills?
3. What are my short and long term goals?
4. What are my greatest strengths?
5. What are my major accomplishments?
If you can find, create or request documents or artifacts that demonstrate the answers to these questions, you will have a great start on a useful portfolio.
Stay tuned for Step #2!