This resource introduces the idea of documenting your development and achievement and identifies the components that make an effective and professional portfolio.

What is documenting development & achievement?

Throughout your course of study, you will be developing a range of skills and qualities through your interactions with teachers, peers, subject content and assessment, community participation and professional experience. Documenting your development and achievement during this time in a portfolio format is a smart and rewarding activity because it allows you to compile evidence of your learning, reflect on the attainment of specific attributes, and showcase your talent to potential employers.

Why do I need to do this?

Developing a portfolio of your achievement will allow you to:

  • highlight your capabilities in job interviews
  • demonstrates previous work or learning experiences
  • negotiate promotions and raises or apply for scholarships and grants
  • document the quality and quantity of your professional development
  • help you focus on your goals.

We recommend you start in your first year. If you are past your first year, start now! If you leave the process of documenting your skills and achievements until you are starting to apply for jobs, it is likely that relevant achievements will have been forgotten and evidence may be lost or difficult to retrieve.

Developing a portfolio

A portfolio is essentially a personalised collection of materials that can complement your CV.

You can develop a portfolio of your work in various ways, whether it is a digital collection or a hard-copy folder. Think about what format would be most appropriate for you to showcase your work. For example, a performance, design or journalism student may prefer to create a blog or website whereas an education student may prefer a physical copy of lesson plans, certificates and teaching awards presented and catalogued neatly in a folder. Think about your target audience and what is most appropriate.

What to include in a portfolio

Your portfolio can include:

  • a resumé or CV (you can book an appointment at Careers & Employability (formerly Careers Central) for someone to look over your CV)
  • a profile or personal statement
  • descriptions of your activities and achievements that evidence your specific skills (for example, a description of the internship you completed last summer and your role as secretary on the Marketing and PR Society)
  • transcripts of your academic records
  • written references from employers or colleagues (for example, from your employer when you worked for four years at a bar)
  • evidence of professional affiliations
  • official letters or certificates (for example, a first aid certificate)
  • publications (for example, copies of your published journal papers)
  • a variety of work samples (for example, class projects, items produced).

Basically, you should include those activities you think helped to develop your skills, or achieve something of value to you. It's worth thinking back and making records of significant events in the past - for example:

  • Activities from high-school
    • Member of netball team and coached under 7s
      (Skills developed: teamwork and leadership skills)
  • Activities while at university
    • Member of a group project in first year biochemistry that designed...
      (Skills developed: teamwork, problem solving, written communication skills and critical thinking)
  • See if you can combine classroom learning with professional experience
  • Be sure to illustrate self-reflection and growth in your chosen pieces