Building your portfolio

Step 1: Gather your records

Keeping records of your activities

Quick record of skills

Your portfolio is a collection of the different significant events in your life. It is a way to keep track of, display and remember clearly the activities and experiences that make you who you are.

But your portfolio is more than just a list of your life's events; it should also remind you of why that event was important. One way to do this is to keep a written record of each event or activity, and make a note on that record what you learned, what skills you developed, what insight you gained.

Most students these days have access to a laptop or smartphone, which makes it even easier to keep a record of the skills you gain, as you gain them! For example, you could start a new, ongoing Note in your phone, and use it to record new skills you gain, so that when it comes time to applying for jobs, you've got an arsenal of skills on which to draw from. Much easier than having to reach back into your memory to remember what skills you've gained over the years.

On the right is an example of how a student might keep notes about activities they've been involved in and skills they've gained in the process, by using their phone to keep notes. You could just as easily do this on your laptop, or in your diary. This way, you can make a record on the go, rather than having to remember to write it down later.

For a more detailed record..

We have designed a template for recording activities for you to download and use to build your portfolio. On the sheet, you give the activity a name, write down when it occurred, and put a brief description of the activity so you remember it clearly.

Then you identify which skills and attributes you developed through this experience - we've included a checklist for you to fill in. Even If you were not thinking about developing your skills at the time of your activity, you may have still improved your skills (for example, you might get a part-time job for the money, but learn good self-management and teamwork skills in the process).

Then you can note down any evidence you have of this activity - a certificate, a letter from a supervisor, a piece of your own work - that may be useful in the future, for example when you go for a job interview.

Lastly, you can reflect on the activity. This is a space on the record sheet where you write your own thoughts and feelings. What did you learn from the experience? What was the most valuable thing about it for you? What was the hardest aspect? What would you do differently next time?

What activities?

What sort of things might go on a record of activity? Anything you think helped you to develop your skills, or achieve something of value to you. It's worth thinking back and making records for significant events in the past - for example, a first or second year student may wish to include some records from high school activities, such as:

Activities from high school
Skills developed by doing these activities
Member of a soccer team, organised the annual trophy night
Developed teamwork and leadership skills
Member of the year 12 high school debating club, runners up, NSW competition
Developed written and oral communication skills, teamwork, self-awareness
Bush Care Volunteer during years 11 and 12
Developed responsibility and awareness, commitment and self-management
Working for fast food outlet during last three years of school
Developed responsibility, teamwork, self-management, self-confidence and work ethics

Activities while you're at university could be part of your coursework, or outside of the classroom:

Activities while at university
Skills developed by doing these activities
Student Point of Contact during O-Week
Developed leadership, empathy, sensitivity, flexibility and oral communication skills
Member of a group that designed and executed a research project in first year physics
Developed teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, information evaluation and written communication skills
Treasurer of the Chocolate Lovers Society, wrote successful submission to the Union for funding
Developed networking, written communication and goal skills, self-awareness and confidence
Work experience at Telstra over summer vacation
Developed independent learning skills, self-confidence, self-management, responsibility and networking skills

Download examples of recorded activities.

STEP 2: Reflect on your skills