Portfolios needed?). Portfolios are more comprehensive than an

Portfolios are an important tool for professionals for several reasons, as they
are the best way to show your education, training and experience. They may be
considered an in-depth summary of your career, presenting accomplishments,
skills, abilities and interests, as well as work samples, evaluations, awards,
acknowledgments and professional goals and objectives (citation needed?).
Portfolios are more comprehensive than an overall summary or curriculum vitae.

Portfolios are also useful for personal reflection and
assessment of your professional growth, helping you identifying needs for
future learning, options and opportunities. Therefore, you will be able to
plan, organize and document your education, and track thus your personal
development (citation needed?). A portfolio will provide you with the
necessary tool to increase your confidence and help you being more competitive
regarding your personal abilities and achievements.

As an educator a portfolio may be useful to show to a prospective employer your
lesson plans or samples of your educational projects you have assigned in the classroom.
Furthermore, portfolios can help you improve your public visibility as well as
your presence online. Portfolios are therefore very helpful to apply to teaching
positions, to college or even to training programmes. Thanks to a
portfolio you may show your potential and get a teaching job, a higher salary or a promotion.

Although portfolios were associated in the past with
creative professionals, nowadays portfolios are used in many a profession, in
particular by freelancers, such as independent or self-employed professionals. Portfolios
are still more commonly used by all kind of artists, such as graphic designers,
photographers, catwalk models, animators, illustrators, make-up artists,
theather performers or writers. However, portfolios are now frequently used by other
professionals such as teachers or educational staff. (citation needed?)

Different kinds of portfolios exist (citation

A career portfolio is a general term for professional portfolios. At the
beginning they used to be paper-based, and portfolios in book form or in a three-ring
binder contained all the necessary personal information. However, nowadays electronic portfolios exist,
also called e-portfolio, digital portfolio, or online portfolio. A
digital portfolio is an electronic version in which all the necessary digital documents are included,
usually available online. (a visual example?)

A financial
portfolio is a collection
of assets (stocks, bonds, cash…) held by a financial institution or a private
individual. (a visual example?)

An artist’s portfolio is the most common kind
of portfolios, containing an edited collection of an artist’s artwork. (a
visual example?)

Apart from such a classification, other options may be considered, such as master or
general portfolios, as well as targetting portfolios or portfolios focusing on
a special subject such as project portfolios. (citation
needed?) These days,
portfolios are becoming more common, not only for artists, but also in all
kinds of emerging fields, the possible reasons for such a change being new ways
of labour proceedings caused by globalization and intense competition.

Portfolios mentioned until now are similar in
some aspects to the ELP; however, there are also quite dissimilar in other
ways, as they share some of their aims but are significantly different in their
focus and structure. Both kind of portfolios
provide a record of experiences, skills and knowledge, and they serve as a tool
for self-motivation by acknowledging your efforts and coherence to your
professional career. Both are used to analyze and reflect on your accomplishments,
experiences or training, as well as on your goals and objectives. Moreover,
they add value to your job applications and may assist you preparing for a job
interview or creating a summary of your work experience.

On the other hand, the ELP is more focused on language
and culture, and it is not structured in the same way, as the ELP is divided
into three sections: a language passport, a language biography and a dossier. In contrast, professional
portfolios can be divided in many other different sections, according to the
applicant’s individual preferences or the targeted application. Professional
portfolios are not as inherently limited as the ELP, as you have more creative freedom
to devise them according to your own goals or taste. Thus, professional
portfolios may include the following aspects: education, qualifications, skills,
professional achievements, work experience, work performances, career goals,
professional philosophy, work ethic, guiding principles, accomplishments,
awards, honours or samples of your work (reports, photos, studies, writing
samples, brochures, projects, presentations, published works, etc.). (citation

Moreover, you can add professional development
activities such as conferences, workshops, seminars and professional
associations you belong to. In addition, you may include career related
degrees, licences and certifications. Although not career related, you may also
want to include volunteering, pro bono or community service work, as well as testimonials,
recommendation letters and references from other professionals, even military
service records. (citation needed?) In conclusion, as professional
portfolios may cover a wider variety of aspects, you should include your ELP as
a component part of your career portfolio.


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