Education Matters Career Portfolio Instructions

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1 Education Matters Career Portfolio Instructions Welcome to the Education Matters Career Portfolio. The portfolio is designed to make it easy for students to display their best work and accomplishments. Employers and college admissions staff can use the completed portfolios to determine academic ability, maturity, and motivation. Portfolios, along with personal interviews, will help to secure future employment or acceptance into a two- or four-year college. What is a portfolio supposed to contain? Students will include an introduction, a resume, letters of recommendation, school transcripts, and all of their accomplishments most recent ones are best, but anything relevant is appropriate. The standards for acceptance into a business or college are high, so examples of their best work should be displayed carefully. Students should follow the instructions and check with their teachers or a guidance counselor if they have questions on specific items. Below, in order, are the items which need to be included in the portfolio. An appropriate three-ring notebook/binder Typed letter of introduction Typed resume Three (3) letters of recommendation An official high school transcript Three (3) samples of your work (minimum) Copies of awards, personal interests, and achievements The portfolio will stay with the students and can be used throughout their entire career. They can update the materials and add to it regularly as they master skills relevant to their career objectives. Teachers, parents, friends and employers can provide advice and feedback to ensure an outstanding portfolio, one that provides a comprehensive profile of the student and their abilities. Best wishes to the students as they begin the Education Matters portfolio process! Tracy Hall, Executive Director Education Matters in Catawba Valley

2 Sandra A. Student Education Matters Career Ready Portfolio Contents I. Letter of Introduction II. Career Pursuit Information Resume, NC Career Readiness Certificate, Letters of Recommendation III. School Records & Samples of Work Transcripts, Attendance Records, Samples of School Work IV. Achievements & Activities Awards, Certificates, Personal Interest Areas V. Additional Information

3 I. Letter of Introduction A well-written introduction is an important requirement of the Career Portfolio. This letter introduces you to prospective employers and colleges. It should be both personal and informative and spotlight your best work. A letter of introduction serves as a first impression. It is critical that you address Why you are interested in this position/business/college (if you do not have a particular position/business/college in mind, choose one that might interest you). Your career aspirations and goals. The skills and abilities that would make you successful in a particular career or at a particular college. Why this business or college should select you. This letter should be no longer than one (1) single-spaced, typewritten page. Be sure that it is typed neatly and is both grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. It is best to use block formatting for the letter style. Be sure to include the six major parts of the business letter: The Heading Date and Return Address (Your address) The Inside Address Company being addressed in the letter The Greeting Salutation The Body Address content above The Complimentary Close Short, polite closing with a comma The Signature Line Place where you sign your name in between the Complimentary Close and the Signature Line (your typed name)

4 SAMPLE LETTER OF INTRODUCTION SANDRA A. STUDENT 1234 Third Street, Hickory, NC Home: (999) Cell: (666) Insert Date {Contact Name (if known)} {Contact Job Title} {Company Name} {Company Address} {Company C, State, Zip} To whom it may concern: (Contact name if known) {Insert Introductory Paragraph Here] The qualifications and professional knowledge I can bring to your organization include: {job responsibility or achievement 1} {job responsibility or achievement 2} {job responsibility or achievement 3} In review of your company s objectives and possible openings, I believe that my experience is in perfect line with your current needs. If your firm is looking for a dependable, results-oriented professional with a solid performance track, I would be interested in speaking with you to discuss the value that my strengths and experience can bring to your company. I can be reached at the above telephone numbers or address and I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours, (Your Signature) Sandra A. Student

5 II. Career-Pursuit Information This part of the portfolio gives businesses/colleges important information about you. Personal Statement (Include personal and professional goals) A personal statement is a short, well written, concise essay that provides insightful information about you. It also provides you with the opportunity to convey your passions, interests, and values to the person(s) or committees reviewing your application or portfolio. The personal statement should honestly reflect who you are and what you are thinking. A well written personal statement, if effective, can be the competitive edge you need to allow you to stand out amongst your peers. Remember the personal statement is personal and should not look like you have hired a professional to create this image of you. You can put the right words on paper to amply reflect who you are and what you have to offer. The personal statement is usually about 500 words or one page. Please be sure to show instead of telling the reader who you are. Provide facts and evidence of being a leader versus saying you have leadership skill. Supply specific scenario(s) of your leadership skill. Resume (see attached handouts regarding resumes) NC Career Readiness Certificate (WorkKeys/KeyTrain) Letters of Recommendation (see attached handouts regarding reference letters) You should include at least three letters of recommendation one of each kind described below. (1) Employment-related: A letter from a past employer evaluating your work performance. (2) Character-related: A letter from a person who has known you for more than one year and can testify to your personal and/or academic attributes. It is important that you be recommended as a good citizen and a responsible person. If you have not been employed in any way, then use three character-related letters. If you are unsure of how to initiate letters of recommendation, ask your teacher about options or review the additional information about letters of recommendation in this section.

6 Personal Statement Essay The personal Statement is a 500-word, double-spaced essay that provides insightful information about you to a potential employer. Below is a suggested outline to follow when writing your essay. Each Roman numeral represents a different paragraph within your essay. I. An Introduction to You A. Introductory Information 1. Your name 2. Your stage of life (Junior in HS, HS Graduate, Level in College) 3. Where you live currently, where you grew up B. Personal Information A description of your 1. Personality 2. Goals 3. Personal image 4. Idea of who you are II. A Closer Look at Who You Are A. Your Passions and Interests 1. A Passion or Interest You Have a. a description of why you enjoy this passion/interest b. an example of a time recently you have enjoyed this passion/interest 2. Another Passion or Interest You Have a. a description of why you enjoy this passion/interest b. an example of a time recently you have enjoyed this passion/interest B. Your Values 1. An Example of an Idea, Person, Place, or Thing That is Important to You a. detail and explanation b. detail and explanation 2. Another Example of an Idea, Person, Place, or Thing That is Important to You a. detail and explanation b. detail and explanation III. Ways in Which You are a Leader A. First Example to Demonstrate that You Are a Leader 1. Detailed description of a specific time you were a leader in this way 2. Facts and evidence of your leadership skills B. Second Example to Demonstrate that You are a Leader 1. Detailed description of a specific time you were a leader in this way 2. Facts and evidence of your leadership skills

7 Preparing a Resume A resume is a summary of a person s qualifications. Effective resumes use short statements to inform potential interviewers about important facts regarding the applicant and to catch their attention. The important facts: Who you are. How you may be contacted (mail, telephone, ). Your experiences, skills, and abilities for the position. Think about yourself. What skills do you have? What should a potential interviewer know about you? What achievement(s) could you highlight to help you get the interview? Draft a resume. Each resume should be personal and reflect your individual strengths. Basic guidelines for an effective resume: Type and spell-check it. Have another person proofread it. Make it look professional. Make it short--one page if possible. Omit personal pronouns. Use action verbs when describing your job responsibilities. A resume template has been provided for your use. Use this simple yet effective format as a guide or create your own format to present your information.

8 Sample Resume SANDRA A. STUDENT 1234 Third Street, Hickory, NC Home: (999) Cell: (666) Career Objective: Computer support technician in medium sized suburban area in NC Education: High School Diploma, June 2010 A High School, Hickory, NC G.P.A Class Rank: 52 out of 308 Honors and Awards: Honor Roll for last three semesters Perfect Attendance Award for the last two academic years State FBLA recognition for school web-page design Relevant Courses: Digital Communication Systems, Computer Applications I & II, e-commerce, Networking I, II, III (taken at community college), Computer Career Internship Computer Experience: Neighborhood "Computer Expert" present. Performs troubleshooting for several friends and relatives who were having difficulty with their hardware or software. Network Assistant (volunteer) A High School. September 2009-May Assembled 20 computers for new computer laboratory, loaded software on each one, and networked them. Other Experience: Waitperson, Backstreet s, Hickory, North Carolina. Summer Provided efficient, friendly, quality service in busy fine dining atmosphere. Child care provider The Johnson Family. Hickory, North Carolina. Summer Provided safe, warm environment for two children aged 4 and 7. Supervised their self-directed play and prepared meals and snacks. Activities: Soccer Team ; Co-captain Civil Rights Team Soup Kitchen Volunteer References: Ms. Patricia Cornwell, CTE Coordinator (828) Mr. Joel Harris, Internship Facilitator (828) Mr. John Huggins, Restaurant Owner (828)

9 Letters of Recommendation You will need to formally ask for a letter by phone, in writing, or face-to-face from each person from whom you want a letter of recommendation. This is common courtesy. Although the content of the letter is normally left to the writer, here are some points to suggest: Your personal character. Your work ethic (including punctuality, use of sick time, working with others). Your motivation. Your enthusiasm for learning. Your relevant technical or career-related skills. Your relevant academic experience. You should explain to the writer that you will include the letter in your portfolio, which you will use as you conduct your job search or college application process. Also explain the time frame for completing the portfolio and ask each writer to complete the letter by a specific date. Finally, either make arrangements with each person to pick up the letter or provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. This courtesy will help ensure that you have your letters on time. Once you have received a letter, you should thank the writer, either in person or by writing a thank-you note. A Recommendation Request Form has been provided for you to use. Fill it in, make three copies, and give one to each of the people you have asked for a letter of recommendation. These people may be your teacher, guidance counselor, coach, advisor, employer (past or present), or an adult friend.

10 Recommendation Request Form Dear, Thank you for agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for me. My full name is and my phone number is. Please contact me if you have any questions. I plan to use this letter for Employment Acceptance into college Other: My current career/academic goals: When writing your recommendation, please consider the items below and how they relate to the plans/goals I have outlined for you. Personal character Work ethic (including punctuality, use of sick time, working with others, etc.) Motivation Enthusiasm for learning Relevant technical or career-related skills Relevant academic experience I would appreciate it if you could complete the letter by this date: I will pick the letter up when it is completed. I have enclosed a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Thank you for your help!

11 III. School Records & Samples of Work In this section of the portfolio include school records, test scores, and samples of your school work. You must present: Official Transcript (A transcript release form is enclosed for your use.) Potential additional information: Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) Scholastic Aptitude Test Report (SAT) Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) COMPASS Scores (from CVCC) Your portfolio should include samples of your work. You are responsible for selecting and gathering these samples. Choose samples of which you are proud work that shows care and planning. This section of the portfolio demonstrates what you can do and how well you can do it. Wherever possible, choose samples that display skills appropriate to the position for which you are applying. Samples of work that are three-dimensional and cannot be placed in the binder may accompany the portfolio. However, instead of the sample itself, your portfolio can include a photograph and a note explaining the physical item. Please also include notes where necessary to explain a little about when, why, and for whom a project was completed. If you were responsible for only part of the project, explain your contribution. Possible examples of academic work: Research papers, book reports, essays Math projects Science projects Exams that show achievement Computer projects Mechanical/technical drawings Other samples of work: Pictures, projects, descriptions of activities relating to personal interests and hobbies (i.e., photography, poetry, cooking, woodworking, etc.) Pictures, projects, descriptions of activities relating to community involvement outside of school (i.e., Scouts, religious organizations, 4-H, etc.)

12 Student Transcript Release Form I hereby give permission for (Name of School) to release my (son s/daughter s) transcript to: (Name of individual/organization) I UNDERSTAND THAT THE TRANSCRIPT WILL BE INCLUDED IN MY (SON S/DAUGHTER S) PORTFOLIO AND REVIEWED AS PART OF EMPLOYMENT/COLLEGE APPLICATIONS. Student s Social Security Number Student Signature Date Parent/Guardian Signature Date (*If under 18 years of age) Note: Your school may have a specific process or form that must be filled out to get a copy of your transcripts. Check with your school office.

13 IV. Achievements & Activities In this section of the portfolio include awards, certificates and any other examples of your personal achievements, interests, and abilities. An Achievement & Activities Summary Template has been provided for your use. You should include items such as: Perfect Attendance Award(s) Citizenship Award(s) - DAR Honors Award(s) Sports Award(s) Certificate of participation in a club(s) Service recognition Other certificates (CPR, First Aid, etc.) Other examples of your personal interests and abilities Newspaper articles recognizing achievements

14 Sample Achievement & Activities Summary Sandra A. Student Achievements & Activities Summary 9 th Grade List your activities and awards for your freshman year here. Ex: Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ex: Honor Roll Ex: DECA President Ex: FBLA Vice President Ex: National Honors Society 10 th Grade List your activities and awards for your sophomore year here. 11 th Grade List your activities and awards for your junior year here. 12 th Grade List your activities and awards for your senior year here. Work Experience List any work experience you have had up until this point. Ex: Babysitting Mr. and Mrs. John Doe Hickory, NC May 2000-present Volunteer Experience List any volunteer work you have done up until this point. Ex: Toys for Tots Ex: Brett s Ride Ex: when necessary elaborate on the type of work you did or what the volunteer work contributed to (like cancer research or a soup kitchen) Additional Personal Information List anything else you would like someone to know about you that has already been listed Ex: A life philosophy Ex: Inspirational Quote

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