A Career Magic Wand: 8 Ways to Leverage Your Portfolio

by Niké Basurto, MSW, CAE


Hermione Granger, Wand Wielder Harry Potter

Sometimes I wish that Hogwarts existed and that magic wands were really a thing. After creating brownies that didn’t make you gain weight, I would really like a magic wand to help guide me through my career. Seriously, take a second to think about it. Would you ask for easy breezy interviews? Or maybe you would ask for a magical resume or a “Room of Requirement”, where projects ideas would just magically appear on demand?

It’s not made out of unicorn hair and an oak branch, but your work portfolio can be almost as useful as a magic wand for your career. Your work portfolio (sometimes referred to as a career portfolio) is a set of professional products you’ve created that showcase your learning and development and/or organizational development skills. In TRDV 499 Professional Portfolio, a required course in the Graduate Program in Training and Development, we organize and fine-tune our portfolios based on projects completed throughout the program.

Okay, back to the magical powers of your work portfolio. How are some ways to leverage your portfolio outside of getting a great grade in TRDV 499? Glad you asked!

A Work Portfolio Can…

Give you an advantage in a job search by:

  • demonstrating your experience
  • showcasing your skills
  • standing out from other applicants

Give you an advantage in interviews by:

  • showcasing your potential value to the organization
  • giving you a reference point to connect your work product as a solution to their pain points
  • bridging the gap between past work experiences and future career aspirations

Boost your current work situation by:

  • demonstrating new ideas and solutions for your department or organization
  • promoting your value which you could leverage for a pay raise or promotion
  • revealing skills you are able to contribute to expand your future opportunities in the organization

Portfolios can be web based or electronic documents. You might want to print out some samples for interviews or to share with decision makers in your organization. Some organizations are even requesting work portfolios as part of the job application process.

There you have it, the magic of your work portfolio! Go forth an use your power wisely.

Building a Work Portfolio Instructional Design
Building a General Work Portfolio ( a little dated, but good overview)
Sample Instructional Design Work Portfolio
Case for TRDV Portfolio Form Completion

Thanks to Harry Potter for the magic wand inspiration.

Also, a very special thanks to current students, graduates of the TRDV program and other professionals who responded to my LinkedIn request for contributions to this post:

Mary Channon, MATD
Tom Ford, CSOP
Kerri Leo, MATD, CAE, CHCP
Amy Lyons, MATD
Howard Prager
Ute Westphal, MBA

Let’s Continue the Conversation
Are there other ways a work portfolio could be useful?
What are some work portfolio pitfalls to avoid?

Version 2Niké (Nee kay) Basurto, MSW, CAE
Niké is a seasoned nonprofit professional transitioning into instructional design and training with a passion for organizational development, dancing, laughing, fabulous live music and a great meal. Currently, she is a full-time student in the MATD program at Roosevelt University and is thoroughly enjoying working as a Graduate Assistant for the Training and Development department.  Feel free to connect with and follow her:


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LinkedIn Groups: Are you in?

LinkedIn Groups: Are you In?

by Vince Cyboran, Ed.D.

There are a variety of reasons to join LinkedIn, such as networking, job hunting, or keeping up with colleagues from former jobs. But some people also use it for learning, and by that I mean informal and incidental learning. Much like subscribing to trade publications—think Chief Learning Officer—you can browse the posts of fellow group members and read in detail the ones that catch your eye. LinkedIn groups offer advantages over trade publications. The chief one is participating in online conversations about a topic.

To access potential groups, simply click Groups from the Interests menu.


Then click Discover. Based upon your profile, you will be presented with a list of possible groups you might want to explore and join.


Some groups are completely open to all newcomers. Others require approval from a moderator. And some groups are ‘Invitation Only.’


After you’ve joined groups, each time you access LinkedIn and click Groups, you will be presented with a listing of your most active groups. This provides with a quick means of determining where you might want to focus your energies. For example, here are my most active groups for today.


If you are new to the field of Training & Development, you might want to spend time reading and absorbing new information before jumping in with quick responses to queries or sharing your opinion on topics. And, of course, you may find yourself expanding your professional network as you discuss topics with your fellow group members.


  • If you are a member of LinkedIn groups associated with T&D or OD, which would you recommend to someone who is new to the field?
  • What have you learned recently from a group?







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My Generation: My Learning?

by Vince Cyboran

Generations at workMuch ado has been made about the differences among generations:  Veterans, Boomer’s, Gen X, and Gen Y (Millenials). Certainly, a cottage industry has grown around capitalizing on what to do with these generations in the workplace, including how to address their training needs. While some authors focus on how to cater to the learning needs across the generations (Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 2013), most focus exclusively on Gen X and Millenials. For example, when training Millenials, Werth and Werth (2011) recommend including multimedia elements, and Carstens and Beck (2005) recommend that the trainer include the use of games.

Finding empirical evidence to support generation-specific recommendations for training different generations is made more problematic by the lack of specificity in how the topic is approached. For example, a recent forum on LinkedIn posed the question: “Do you find Millennial Learners Are Not Traditional Learners?” One might ask, “What is a traditional learner?” Further, one might ask: “What exactly are you asking?” Such topics-because of their non-specificity–invite diffuse discussions.

While it is true that the different generations have been introduced to various technologies at different points in their lives, there is no solid, empirical evidence that the act of learning itself differs by generation. In our effort to provide learners and organizations with the best and newest techniques, we sometimes get distracted by bright, shiny objects: micro-learning, gamification, etc.  We suffer from what the late educational theorist Paolo Freire described as the ‘fetish of method’ (Bartolomé, 1994). That is, if we can just use the right method in our training, all will be well.

Questions to consider:

  • What challenges have you experienced with cross-generational learning at work?
  • What advice do you have for designing or delivering cross-generational training at work?


  •  Bartolomé, L. (1994). Beyond the methods fetish: Toward a humanizing pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 64(2), 173-195.
  •  Carstens, A., & Beck, J. (2005). Get ready for the gamer generation. TechTrends, 49(3), 21-25.
  •  Werth, E. & Werth, L. (2011). Effective training for millennial students. Adult Learning, 22(3), 12-19.
  •  Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2013). Generations at work: Managing the clash of boomers, gen xers, and gen yers in the workplace (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: AMACOM.
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The CPLP: Driving Success

cplp_v3Celebrating its 16th birthday this year, the CPLP exam has established itself as the certification of choice for workplace learning professionals who meet the testing criteria of five years of experience in training related areas (your MATD counts toward this). The CPLP certification offers training professionals a way to demonstrate and communicate their mastery of the ATD competencies.

Even though our curriculum is mapped to the ATD competency model, our students and alumni still need to prepare for the exam.

To learn more about the updated exam visit the  CPLP Certification section of the ATD website. Also, check out an upcoming webinar on Friday, September 16th  CPLP CERTIFICATION: WHAT’S NEW? WHY NOW? 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW .

If you plan to take the exam, here are ways to prepare:

  1. Review a free planning guide from ATD: CPLP Interactive Guide.
  2. If costs are not prohibitive, consider these resources:
    1. ATD Learning System: a comprehensive document that contains all potential content for the exam, with information about each area of expertise, review quizzes, and case studies. At a cost of nearly $500, this is an investment.
    2. Attend a two-day workshop offered by ATD for nearly $1,000 but registration also includes electronic access to the Learning System.
    3. Trish Uhl, a consultant who specializes in CPLP test preparation, offers access to content on her site, the Owl’s Ledge, for 30 days for around $100.
  3. For a no cost or low-cost option, consider joining a study group. Study groups typically meet weekly for a period of time just before the exam. Study groups can be very motivating also a good way to get to know others in the field. Here is a list of study groups and contacts from Trish’s site.


Some study groups have created and published extensive content online that may also be helpful. See the Austin CPLP Study Group and the Atlanta CPLP Study Group wikis.

Most importantly, think about your learning style and formulate a plan that works for you. If you are a “social learner,” consider a class or a study group. If you are self-motivated and learn well from text, you may benefit from the study guide or online content.  In any event, create a plan of action and plan to spend at least 5 hours per week preparing for at least 6 weeks prior to the test.

Check out related posts on our blog: Professional Designations: Do you need more letters after your name? and CPLP and You- Frequently Asked Questions Answered!

Questions for discussion. . .

  1. Are you considering the CPLP? If so, why or if not, why not?
  2. If you’ve taken the exam, can you offer words of wisdom about preparation?
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The American Dream Reconsidered: The T&D Perspective

AmericanDreamBeginning on Monday, September 12 and closing  with a campus-wide service day on Thursday, September 15, Roosevelt University will be hosting the inaugural instance of this conference on its Chicago campus.  You are cordially invited to attend. Here is the link to the program. Attendance is free, but you must register.

One session you maybe particularly interested in is a panel discussion featuring College of Professional Studies graduates.   Participating in the panel are the following T&D graduates:

  • Erwin Acox, Chief of Human Resources, Cook County Recorder of Deeds
  • Rayford Barner: City of Chicago and National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Trainer,
  • Zindie Nyirenda: Author, founder of Light on the Hill for Africa, and senior instructional designer, Pfizer, and
  • Fraser Smith: Associate Professor of Naturopathic Medicine, National University of Health Science.

The panel will be moderated by current T&D graduate student  and graduate assistant, Niké Basurto.

Questions to consider:

  • How do you see T&D–and OD– contributing to the American Dream?
  • How do you personally view the American Dream?





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Fall 2016 Kick Off


We want to extend an enthusiastic welcome to all TRDV students! We’re so excited to have you join us as we get back to class this week. Whether you spent your summer cheering on your favorite baseball team, chasing Pokémon, enjoying music festivals or laying by the pool- we hope you enjoyed it!

As we kick off the semester there are a few things to share with you…

We have a change in the TRDV Program Chair position. We want to let you know that Dr. Vince Cyboran is replacing Dr. Kathy Iverson as Chair of the Graduate Program in Training and Development (TRDV). Our department rotates the Chair position biennially and Kathy’s term is up.  Kathy will continue teaching and return to the chair position in 2018.

Are you looking for a way to get more involved and expand your academic/professional network? The student group is going in to its second year and looking for new members. The goal of the group is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for TRDV students. Please contact Tara if you are interested in joining the group thawkins@roosevelt.edu.

Speaking of professional development and networking we have two outstanding events happening this fall. The American Dream Reconsidered conference begins in Chicago on Monday, September 12 and closes with a campus-wide service day on Thursday, September 15. On September 12 the TRDV program will have panel of alumni sharing diverse perspectives as they debate the current status of the American Dream. For more details please visit http://blogs.roosevelt.edu/americandream/.

In November we are partnering with the Chicago International Society for Performance Improvement (CISPI) for their annual Cracker Barrel event. What is a Cracker Barrel, besides a roadside restaurant you visit while on a road trip? It’s a series of small table discussions running simultaneously over one hour. Each table will have an expert sharing his or her knowledge and experience on a particular topic. In the past topics have included creative performance improvement, starting your own e-learning business, steps to effective leadership and the soft side of project management. Plan to join us on November 2 on the Schaumburg campus.

We’ll have more details about both events in upcoming posts but please be sure to mark your calendar with these dates.

Finally, we hope you have a wonderful semester!



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On Summer Break Until Classes Resume on 8/29

See you back here on 8/29.


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