A portfolio is a visual representation of one’s experiences, abilities, and achievements. A portfolio allows one to showcase one’s skills and talents to recruiters, potential employers, and more importantly to oneself. A portfolio is a living, ever-changing document.
Many universities require graduating seniors to compile an academic portfolio. An academic or student portfolio is different than a career portfolio. A student portfolio demonstrates knowledge attained in a given class, in a given major, or throughout higher education study. A career or professional portfolio is a versatile product that demonstrates one’s aptitudes, background, accomplishments and expertise. A professional portfolio can be arranged for a specific position or entry into a particular industry. A career portfolio is a valuable tool for an entry level job seeker, a seasoned professional seeking a promotion, a professional in a career transition, and a student applying to graduate school.
Should you help your intern prepare a career portfolio?
My answer is a resounding YES and here are 5 reasons why.
You want to strive to be someone who your intern can learn from. An intern manager serves as a coach and a mentor – introducing interns to a specific industry. A portfolio is a great career development tool. Portfolio development will help guide career conversations and allow you to learn more about your intern’s talents, interests, and goals. (This is a good time to discuss intellectual property and confidentiality agreements.)
- Internship Perk
Helping your intern complete a career portfolio is a unique experience not offered by many companies. Inform your intern at the onset of the internship that you will develop a career portfolio together. If your intern feels values and understands how they contribute to the overall mission, they will be more engaged, motivated, and passionate about their work.
- Gift to Your Intern
You want to give your intern a gift to remember you and your company. A portfolio is a gift that keeps on giving. Your intern will leave with something many interns can only wish for – demonstrated results of their work. Walking your intern through the portfolio development process will teach them the importance of and how to update their portfolio throughout their career.
- Evaluation of Internship Program
By developing a career portfolio, your intern will reflect on and recap their overall experience. The portfolio development process can help ensure their time at your company was meaningful. It will also provide insight into how to improve your internship program and in the end help you stay competitive – attracting the brightest, most ambitious interns.
- Create A Brand Ambassador
Interns share their feelings about their internship with their classmates, family, friends, and professors – good or bad. A completed career portfolio increases the likelihood that your intern will share positive sentiments about your company. If your intern has an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience you will create a brand ambassador who will send other talented interns and employees your way.
How Do I Help My Intern Develop A Career Portfolio?
Contact me if you have questions about how to incorporate the portfolio development process into your internship program system without slowing down productivity.
Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an Adjunct Professor with an extensive background in developing and managing internship programs. She is a skilled program manager, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and 20 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.
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