Professional Portfolio: Begin with the End in Mind

Each student in the Graduate Program in Training and Development will leave us with a well-designed portfolio that documents the expertise  developed in our curriculum.   Many of our graduates have told us that their portfolio was essential to their landing a new job or promotion after graduation.  Here are just a few additional demonstrated benefits of portfolios:

  1. A portfolio will help you organize documents. Everything will be in one place, ready for future situations when you may be asked to show what you have accomplished and what you know.
  2. Portfolios promote the concept of lifelong learning and allow for both formative and summative self-evaluations (Treuer, & Jenson, 2003).
  3. Learners can participate actively in assessing their strengths, weaknesses, and growth and development over time.
  4. In academic settings, portfolios facilitate the assessment process. Multiple
  5. examples of expertise present a richer snapshot of learning.
  6. Students are no longer mere recipients of information; rather, they construct
  7. meaning from information and transform it into knowledge (Gathercoal, Love, Bryde, & McKean, 2002).
  8. A portfolio increases your visibility and will, quite likely, impress those who view it.

Whether you are just beginning your studies or nearing completion, you should keep thoughts about your portfolio front and center at all times.  Newbies can prepare for their final class, TRDV 499:  Master’s Portfolio right from the beginning by formulating career goals and connecting those goals to their coursework.  Most of the classes you will complete with us have a major project that has the potential for becoming part of your professional portfolio—this makes every class and every assignment important!   In TRDV 499 you will revisit those assignments, tying them to the theories you have studied, to form the basis of your portfolio.

Here are  strategies you can use to make the portfolio design process simpler and more effective from your first class with us:

  1. Save your projects.  Don’t just save them on your hard drive, but create a backup CD that contains all your assignments from each class that you complete with us.
  2. Keep theory in mind as you complete your projects.  Think about key theorists and research that you have used as you complete each assignment.
  3. Use APA style for all assignments and develop proficiency throughout your studies with us.
  4. Consider creating a digital portfolio that you can expand and add to throughout your studies.


Here is a digital portfolio created by a past student:

To learn more about web-based portfolios, visit Helen Barrett’s site at

What questions or thoughts do you have about professional portfolios?  How might you prepare and use your portfolio in the future?


  • I was fortunate enough to come across this article as I have been collecting many questions about the portfolio in my head. This article did a great job of addressing many of them for me. The timing is perfect as next semester I take TRDV 499 and will compile and analyze all the work I completed throughout my graduate classes. I guess I am a bit fuzzy still on application of one’s portfolio though I imagine that well be addressed quite thoroughly in the course itself. I did a career change and consequently do not have much experience in consulting. Therefore, I am leveraging my masters to get a job in this field, which is why it is so important my work be well crafted/designed and displayed. I’m excited to take this course in the spring and culminate all the work I did during my masters coursework.

  • Going green is another good reason to create an electronic portfolio. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Wow, this would have been cool to know about when I started this program so I could have started doing more blogging and learning about web-based portfolios. I think it’s a great idea to create an electronic version of your portfolio since it is more ‘green’ and also much more accessible to people you want to share with. I do think it takes some time to learn and feel comfortable with.

Please post a comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s