One More Pitch for ePortfolios


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.

Gwen PawlikowskiAbout 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.


5 thoughts on “One More Pitch for ePortfolios”

  1. Since coming here a few months ago as an immigrant, I learned LinkedIn is very important for the job searching process; however in my home country it is not the case and usually, people do not want to share their personal info (and job-related details too) on an open network. But I am not a fan of the e-portfolios that we have the opportunity to work and develop one during our weekly classes as the instructions on the website are often confusing and not up to date; so we are struggling with it and not everyone in the class at the computer lab are at the same speed, etc. For this means, I think a workshop on our existing LinkedIn accounts is more practical and useful. Eportfolios are not suitable for all the fields and industries.

  2. I guess there are some background differences here.
    From the names of the comment posters above, we can find two Chinese (like me) and one Korean probably. In China, I rarely heard about identity theft crimes, which I think partially because few people were known effected by this kind of crime. But, in north America, it could be more often to hear this kind of cases. I think that is why people here would be more sensitive to personal privacy.
    I run a online job hunting website before. And I ever did a research which indicates that most people tend to share their career information to people and potential employers rather than other personal privacy. Agreeing to do this is to make a agreemnet with the surroundings that they would like to exchange the career information with others who would like to share. This conclusion is the fundamental theory on which career social websites like Linkedin relies to survive and to get popular.
    From my point of view, I’d like to share more information of myself to archive trusts from people who I target. That does not mean I don’t protect my privacy. I have some basic principles to share but we can’t stop people digging our background by means of internet.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Gwen. For me it is totally OK to share my ePortfolio to my potential employers or even public, as long as the content in my ePortfolio is only career-related. Furthermore, sometimes I find myself relying ePortfolio or online profile too much. When I meet some people, I tend to search their online profiles and read a few of their posts. That make me feel at least I know something about them. If I cannot find any information online, sometimes I even feel this person unreliable. It sounds ridiculous and unfair to people who are not so fond of online activities, but I am quite sure there are a lot of people using ePortfolio to verify the information from job candidates. In that case, I think ePortfolio is important for job seekers.

  4. There are always pros and cons in every argument. If I were born and educated here in Canada, I would not produce ePortfolio as a mean to advertise myself to the potential employers. Unfortunately, I am a newcomer to Canada with the least recognition of what I have done outside of Canada before I came. If no employer buys it, I can not but think about the second best way, although it may not be the best option I like. ePortfolio would be a good alternative, showing how much of efforts I have made to get adapted to Canadian way as a new immigrant. It also would be the most efficient way, as it will be accumulated with no additional costs or efforts, while I am studying at ISS.

  5. I think ePortfolio is good. We can improve it when our career has some new changes. We do not need to record the sensitive privacy. It is just the history of our work. It is easy for us to use the internet to seek the potential employers. If there is a opportunity that is very suitable for us, we can send our ePortfolio quickly to the employer. We should know how to take advantage of the modern technology to serve for us. It will save us a lot of time and money.

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