A fundamental skill of all communicators is the ability to tell a compelling story. ePortfolios enable students to tell their own experiential and educational stories using words, images, and multimedia. A strong ePortfolio demonstrates your personal brand—including who you are, your values, your commitment to lifelong learning.
Developing an ePortfolio is a core component of Northeastern’s Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication program and a signature assignment in the capstone course. But it is also a tool—a virtual resume—that students can continue to fine tune after graduation.
A judging panel of our Alumni Advisory Council selected three ePortfolios created during the 2017-2018 academic year as outstanding examples of what students can create.
Zirui Yan, Sarah Riggs, and Jillian Porazzo share their unique experiences in crafting their ePortfolios.
ePortfolio Example #1: Zirui Yan
I came to Northeastern University seeking a career transition. I became interested in communications while working as a sales manager in the travel industry in my home country of China. The MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program was the perfect fit; I valued the practical, career-focused coursework. For me, the ePortfolio helped me to integrate my academic studies with my career experience.
I was happy to participate in a student workgroup that helped to develop the ePortfolio sample. During the process, we were asked to leverage a variety of media to present the comprehensiveness of our coursework, as well as diverse experiences through experiential learning opportunities. This is also one of the fundamental mindsets that I had gained in the COC program—tailoring different media and channels based on different target audiences. In my own ePortfolio, I included texts, PowerPoint slides, images, videos, and website links in order to offer my target audiences (professors, classmates, and potential employers) the chance to learn about my learning outcomes and skill sets. I focused on describing who I am as a professional communicator.
After being overwhelmed by the initial idea of including all the details in my study and life in the ePortfolio, I realized that “more is better” is not always the case. Instead of listing every single experience that I have had during the program, I spent quite a long time reflecting on my journey at Northeastern and connecting those dots along the way. From my on-campus job to my volunteer experiences, along with co-founding the Lean In Circle at my one-year co-op, it was thrilling to affirm—now more than ever—my real passion for communication. I especially want to work in the international education industry. Upon this realization, all I needed to do was to show my passion through my study and experiences; I believe that’s the core of a compelling story.
Check out Zirui Yan’s ePortfolio.
ePortfolio Example #2: Sarah Riggs
Initially, I was completely overwhelmed by the idea of creating an ePortfolio to capture two years of intense learning, combined with my ten years of work experience and who I am in my personal life. My college internship turned into a full-time job, and that led me to a job at another organization with many of the same colleagues. It’s been a long time since I have had an opportunity or pressing need to think about my career trajectory and interests. As I dove into my ePortfolio, I used the template to guide me as I thought about my work experience and how to tell my story in a cohesive and coherent way. The coursework section felt the most straightforward and tangible, so I used that as my starting point.
As I connected the dots between what I learned from each course, especially while doing my capstone project, I started to realize how my unique combination of skills differentiates me from others in my field. I chose to take a similar approach to the work section, illustrating my experience by sharing snapshots of several key projects I’ve managed at work. The process of selecting those projects had the same clarifying effect as going through my coursework. By the time I had developed those sections, I also had a more concrete and conscious understanding of my skill set and what I enjoy most about my job. While finalizing my ePortfolio, I was also enrolled in Digital Era Skills, a course that challenged me to define my personal brand as I built a personal website and social media accounts. By the end of the course, I had developed materials to help me package my story in different ways, depending on the audience and platform, and that provided the foundation for much of my ePortfolio. Once I had a working draft, my capstone learning group’s feedback was essential—they really helped me develop a more polished final product.
Having a complete ePortfolio is very useful. However, the most valuable part was, without a doubt, the experience of learning how all the pieces of my coursework and career fit together and how to present that effectively. I am pleased to share my final product knowing that I am representing my personal brand.
Find out more about Sarah Rigg’s ePortfolio.
ePortfolio Example #3: Jillian Porazzo
When it came time to dive into my ePortfolio, I made myself a cup of coffee, fired up my computer, and thought to myself, “this shouldn’t be that hard”, but I quickly realized that the ePortfolio wasn’t like any other project I had encountered in the Corporate and Organizational Communication program at Northeastern. This was all about my professional development.
The process of building out my ePortfolio was emotional: nostalgia, pride, and sheer awe. I realized how much I had grown in a few short years! When I first enrolled in the program, I was confident that I would learn from my professors and peers, and that I would grow as a communicator. What I did not expect was that I would end the program with a volume of work that I was proud of, and that demonstrated my progress course-by-course. As a final exercise in reflection, I pulled up my statement of purpose that I had written at the very start with my application to Northeastern. In my statement of purpose, I wrote:
“My goal is to learn from professors with real-world communications experience that will help me approach my own firm’s communications feeling armed with knowledge. Hearing fresh perspectives from my peers will help me look at communications and messaging with a new mindset that will keep my work fresh, compelling, and help me to be the best corporate storyteller that I can be.”
In reading my ePortfolio from beginning to end, I see that I have achieved these goals throughout my journey in the program. Compiling my ePortfolio made me feel even more grateful for my professors and peers and the learning we did together. I especially appreciate Northeastern CPS for this program joining us together and building this community.
Explore Jillian Porazzo’s ePortfolio.
Looking for other ways to improve your brand and refine your communication skills? Explore the Corporate and Organizational Communication program page and download our free guide to Communication Skills for the Digital Era below.