Few past postings received more disagreement than “Why You Need an ePortfolio” from April of 2014.
While there were several readers who liked the idea, many did not. Of the 35 comments, some expressed utter disbelief that an eportfolio would be any help at all in a job search.
Other comments included a fear of identity theft or privacy invasion, such as these:
…if someone want to pretend to be you, it’s also easily to get all of your personal information….(Phoebe Huang, September 14, 2014)
…I don’t want to open my information on the e-Portfolio (like LinkedIn) How do you protect my privacy? (Chie Watanabe, September 26, 2014)
I don’t like to leave many personal information online because online scam and identity theft are prevalent nowadays. Also, there are more and more people made up information online as well.
From a HR point of view, will he/she view 20 pages of your e-portfolio? Can he/she tell true from false in everyone’s e-portfolio? I don’t think so.
I prefer to keep my e-portfolio to myself and the companies I want to apply. (Jason Chen, September 21, 2014)
The comment writers make valid points. Privacy and protection from identity theft are important. However, I’d like to argue one more time, for a different reason, about the value of an eportfolio that is safe and available to you for sharing when you want to share it.
Many newcomers to Canada struggle with qualification evaluation. They have a hard time convincing employers that they have the skills for a particular job. Sometimes, newcomers don’t have all the requirements for a particular position and they need to fill the gaps through mentorships or additional training. In other cases, newcomers have the skills and experience needed, but it’s difficult to prove. An eportfolio can help. If you have samples of work available for an employer, or an evaluator in a professional association, those samples speak for you.
But even before convincing employers and professional associations about your capability, you have to convince yourself. That’s where reflection is important. Many newcomers arrive in Canada to learn that the job they did back home was different than a job with the same title here. They sometimes realize they have some of the qualifications, but not all. In that case, they may have lots of decisions to make. Sometimes they had a position that is actually three positions in Canada. So the job seeker has to decide which position to target. Eportfolios help with that. They naturally help job seekers to reflect on their past experience and consider important questions like:
- What part of my past job was I really strong at? What part was more difficult?
- What part of my past job did I most and least enjoy? Which brought more professional satisfaction and rewards?
- Since I have a fresh start, what opportunities will I take to revise my career path?
- What are the possibilities open to me? What proof can I bring to show my capability to employers?
- What important details of my past experience have I simply forgotten and need to remind myself about?
If you worry about privacy or identity theft, you are not alone. Use privacy settings on your social media tools.
However, don’t give up the chance that an eportfolio provides for reflecting on your qualifications and charting your career path.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.