There are 4 steps that you will go through repeatedly in the development of your ePortfolio.[i]
- Collect: deciding what files to keep in your portfolio
- Select: particular items for reflection that help you demonstrate specific skills or knowledge
- Reflect: on the experience or work in terms of what you learned and how you grew (see below)
- Connect: between various experiences to increase your understanding – showing connections between schoolwork and extracurricular or travel experience for example
You can use your ePortfolio to keep track of all kinds of files that might come in handy in the future – if in doubt – save it! You can always choose later what to export in your specific “presentations” for specific audiences. You might want to include…
Examples of your work:
- Essays, articles or other written work
- Promotional materials – infographics, design work, social media campaigns
- Links to blogs or websites
- Programming and coding work
- Photos of you in action, displays you have created, videos
- Certifications, transcripts, diplomas
- Training or professional development
- Awards, scholarships
- Evaluations & reports
- Testimonials or letters of recommendation
Reflections on your work and career: [images/graphics?]
- Personal statement/profile
- Volunteering, work, extracurriculars, travel – especially stories/reflections from these experiences
- List of accomplishments
- Skills inventory, personal qualities
- Your values, interests, issues that you want to tackle/solve
Technical job search documents:
Asking yourself thought provoking questions, reflecting deeply, and connecting to key skills can all help you to be much more effective in your reflections – which will result in more useful content for your ePortfolio and in future applications.
Questions you might want to ask yourself when reflecting on an experience:
- What was the most challenging thing about this experience? How did I overcome it?
- What results or accomplishments came from my work? Did I achieve my goals? How?
- How did this experience change me? What do I do/see differently now? What impact did I have on those around me, or the environment I was in?
- What was the most significant thing about this experience for a potential employer? What do I want to make sure they know about it?
- Any other key skills or qualities I demonstrated that I want to include?
Tying your reflections to a skills framework can help ground your story in valuable skills and knowledge.
Consider using the Queen’s Learning Outcomes Framework for ideas of key skills of value to employers, grad school committees, and other audiences:
- Knowledge and Intellectual Capacities: Knowledge in area of specialization | Creative Thinking | Problem Solving | Critical Thinking | Quantitative Literacy | Information Literacy
- Research-Focus | Practice-Orientation: Foundations for lifelong learning | Application of knowledge | Knowledge Creation and Dissemination | Inquiry & Analysis
- Leadership: Initiative & Persistence | Nurturing Self & Others | Integrity & Social Responsibility
- Interpersonal Capacities: Collaboration | Written & Oral Communication | Digital Literacies
- Personal Capacities: Self-Management | Disposition to improve | Ethical Reasoning | Respecting diverse ways of knowing
- Community Engagement: Civic Engagement | Global Learning | Intercultural Competence
Sample reflection on an extracurricular experience:
Working as a tutor this past year was very rewarding for me. It helped me to hone my understanding of key math concepts by needing to explain them in different ways to my student who was struggling and very resistant to learning. By coming up with examples that related to his own interests (mostly sports and pizza!) I was able to get him to start connecting to the ideas – and in the end his marks and his attitude both really improved. At first, I found it hard to be motivated in the face of his negative attitude, but through perseverance and creativity, ultimately I made a difference, and made a connection to someone that really benefited from having someone believe in him. I think while my math skills were refined, more importantly I learned about discipline, motivation, and communication – in fact this is encouraging me to continue to explore my dream of being a high school math teacher!
For help reflecting on your experiences and articulating what you've learned check out
While you work on your ePortfolio, you will probably start noticing certain patterns and themes, especially if you are thoughtful in including reflections on your various projects, extracurriculars, and other experiences. Having a sense of these patterns can help you think about the potential fit of careers of interest. A few things you might want to be paying attention to:
- Am I noticing any important skills that I really like using? That I’m not using but want to use more?
- Are there important values that I’m discovering? That are being satisfied or NOT satisfied? (this could be things like creativity, making a difference, solving problems, seeing results, being appreciated, and so much more)
- Have any particular topics, issues, or interests caught your attention? Specific things you are curious about could come up in or outside of the classroom – and could really be anything!
As you reflect on these themes, you might want to make some reflections in general about what you’ve been learning about yourself and how they might tie to your career goals. For help reflecting on what you have learned in your experiences, check out our Build Your Own page and Skills and Experience worksheet. These reflections can also help you work on resumes, grad school applications, or tell compelling stories in job interviews.
You might also see that there are some things that you aren’t getting enough of yet – that you want to explore further. These could take the form of skills you want to develop, values that you want to serve, or interests to pursue. All of these can inform your goals for the immediate future as you continue to develop yourself professionally. For ideas on where to go next, check out the Majors Maps and Grad Maps.
For help exploring careers that might be a good fit for you, swing by Career Services for drop-in career advising, take one of our Design Your Life workshops, or make a one-on-one appointment with a career counsellor.