How to Develop an Instructional Design ePortfolio – Part 4

In the third installment of the “How to Develop an Instructional Design ePortfolio,” I examined two content management systems (WordPress.com and Joomla!), their pros and cons, and offered a simple example of an ePortfolio in the tutorial activity. If you followed along with each step, your portfolio should now be ready for available for the final part of the design and development process. If it isn’t, please review Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 before continuing.

Today’s post is the final step in the portfolio development process: marketing your portfolio as an extension of your resume.

Focus

Are you a jack of all trades? If you answered yes, go back to Step 1 of the ePortfolio development process and start again. You cannot, and should not, be all things to all people. Not only does it scream “I’m desperate, give me a job!” but it also indicates that you have not taken the time to thoroughly research the field!

Where does your passion lie? Is it in elearning or face-to-face? Training or education (higher ed, etc.)? Telecommute or office based? Instruction or development? Synchronous or asynchronous? And the list can go on and on.

Each type of learning is distinct with its own quirks, ups and/or downs. You need to focus yourself on which type you want to delve into and then take time to define who your audience is.

Define Your Target Audience

To help you narrow your job search, focus on the details of the kind of company you want to work with. Ideally, the qualities you’re looking for in a company align with the focal points discussed in the previous section.

For example, you’ve decided that the qualities you’re looking for in a company are 1) environmentally conscious/green, 2) small size (less than 50 employees), 3) allow telecommuting.

Once you’ve decided on the qualities and/or criteria of your target audience, use them to develop your branding and networking relationships.

Branding

When you think if branding, you may thing of large companies like Coca Cola or Microsoft. However, you can use the idea of branding to market yourself effectively. The objective of a brand, paraphrased from “What is Branding and How Important is it to Your Marketing Strategy?”, is to:

  • Deliver the message clearly (your focus)
  • Confirm your credibility (resume, portfolio, and social media)
  • Connect your target prospects emotionally (networking)
  • Motivate the buyer (get hired based on your focal points)

You may also want to purchase a domain name that relates to your branding. For example, if you want people to find you because of your brilliant branding, use the name you’ve been using, i.e. http://www.joesmith.com, http://www.zenlearning.com (taken unfortunately!), http://www.yournamehere.com, http://www.yourbrandingideahere.com.

Also, your resume should include a link to your portfolio site (http://yournamehere.com). Remember, the portfolio is an extension of your resume: your resume says you can do it but your portfolio shows that you can.

Go back and look at your ePortfolio. Does it express your branding? If not, tweak your portfolio and resume so that it does. Branding becomes particularly important when using social media.

Social Media & Networking

I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time getting out of the house to networking events. For one, I live in the middle of nowhere (about 2-3 hours from the next large town). And, for another, I have kids who have their own schedules and activities. The best thing for me has been the advent of social media. I can now network with people in my field from the comfort of my home office.

However, social media should be used intelligently rather than haphazardly. Offer your expertise through blog posts or answer questions in forums. Join networking groups on LinkedIn to see what others are up to in the instructional design field. Offer live webinars that teach or train using DimDim (open source alternative to WebEx and Adobe Connect).

I’ve mentioned LinkedIn quite a bit throughout this series and for a very good reason: it is a fabulous resource and networking site for professionals. Guy Kawasaki wrote a post way back in 2007 about ten ways to use LinkedIn and, truthfully, his points are still valid. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, I suggest you go ahead and do so right now.

As for social media that I have experience in and use professionally, I like WordPress for my professional blog, LinkedIn for networking and job hunting, and Twitter for networking and to discuss elearning with a variety of people in the field of education and training. You might use Facebook, Nings, or other social networking sites. Whatever your personal tastes are, do it well and do it with class.

Hopefully, after going through the ePortfolio development process, you should be able to attend live networking events and conferences, interact and network online, and job search with the knowledge that:

  • you know who you are as a designer
  • you have focus on what you want in your career
  • you developed a kick ass ePortfolio

This concludes my series on developing an ePortfolio. Please add my blog to your RSS feed so you can tune in for my next series: Open Source Tools For Elearning (and how to use them effectively!).

Follow me on Twitter!
Add me to your network on LinkedIn!


How to Develop an Instructional Design ePortfolio Series

Part 1: Introduction & The Categories

Part 2: The Artifacts

Part 3: The CMS

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2 Responses

  1. I have really enjoyed reading this series! I had not idea e-portfolios existed until I found you.

    I’m fairly new to this whole “e” thing, so I’m playing catch up. I would like to do a professional portfolio and resume. Would you suggest using a blog format like wordrpess, or a website format like go daddy?

    • Hi Kelly, I’m glad you’ve found my series useful. A simple website would be easy to set up and maintain for a resume and portfolio. I’d suggest using HostGator since they have very reasonable prices both for server space and domain registration.

      The reason I mention using WordPress.com is 1) it’s free, and 2) to build credibility within your profession you need to talk about the topics therein. A blog, particularly one as flexible as WordPress, is an easy way to do that.

      Of course, if you want you can do both by using WordPress.org on a server like Hostgator’s which opens up a world of possibilities (plus a lot more responsibility). If you are new to “e” anything, my suggestion is to stick with WordPress.com since it’s easy to use.

      Feel free to contact me through the “Contact Me” form if you have any further questions. I’m happy to help!

      Take care,
      April

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