Why Make a Teaching Portfolio

By: Whitney

If you are going into the teaching field, you often hear about creating a teaching portfolio or a job search portfolio. I had another teaching candidate ask me just the other day, “How important is a job search portfolio?” I told them I knew it was important, but I wasn’t really sure the exact reasoning behind it, so I decided to do a little research on it. The American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) publishes a Job Search Handbook for educators every year. In this handbook there is a section called “Portfolios in the Job Search: Busy Work or Competitive Edge?”.

There are some employers, in this case school districts, who don’t ask for portfolios especially in the first or second rounds of interviews. This brings up the question if they don’t specifically ask for a teaching portfolio, why would I take the time to put one together? By having a well put together portfolio in the first and second rounds of interviews, you can make yourself really stand out. You will show that you are highly motivated and that you really want the position they are hiring for because you took the time to go above and beyond what they specifically asked for. You are also showing them examples of your work, which will give them a better idea of how you work as a teacher and your effectiveness as a teacher.

Portfolios are a great way to show employers what your strengths are in the field. By having a visual of these strengths to bring up during an interview, you will make a longer lasting impression on the employer than just talking about the examples. There are also some lessons that you are very proud of that you want to highlight, but they are too complicated to just discuss. Having this visual will allow you to effectively show the panel an example of your work and you will also showcase your teaching ability when you are explaining the lesson to the employer. This kind of makes it a two for one!

There are many different formats that you can choose when you are creating a job search portfolio. You may choose to create a binder, streamlined packet, brochure, or an electronic portfolio. There are pros and cons for each of these formats so you will have to choose the one that you think will work best for you.

Binders can be a great way to show your organization skills. By having a binder with examples of your work the employer will have a tangible example of your work. You can use color-coded tabs that allow you to reference certain items during the interview and they will be able to go look at those examples. There are two major cons of doing a binder portfolio, in my opinion. The first is that you will really have to know where everything is in the binder because it will be really hard for more than one person to look at it at one time. The second is that the employer will likely ask to keep the portfolio for a period of time so they have time to actually look at the portfolio you put together. This means if you have another interview in a short period of time following another, you may not have your portfolio back to share with another employer.

The second option is a streamlined packet. This is a document that is less than ten pages long where you can give highlights of your experiences through showing work samples and photos. One really nice part of using this format is that it is short enough that you can print a copy for each person on the panel. It is also nice because it is very short and to the point so employers will be able to look through it without spending too much time. While it is nice because it is concise, I think that this is also its biggest downfall because you have to be a little pickier about what to include and what to leave out. This may mean that you have to leave something out that you really want to include because of a lack of space.

The third format is a brochure. This is a really quick and easy way to show your strengths and highlight aspects of your career. The AAEE Handbook suggests passing out these brochures at job fairs or networking events or including a copy of the brochure with a thank you letter. The biggest obvious downfall of using a brochure is the lack of space. This being said, I wouldn’t recommend using this on its own, but I think that using this as noted in the handbook is a great idea!

The final format is an electronic portfolio. What is really nice about creating an electronic version is that you can put a link to it on your resume and employers can access it if they want before you come in for an interview. It also allows you to tailor your portfolio toward each employer and add videos of you teaching. One downfall about having an online portfolio is that you have to make sure that all of your information is accessible. You should also make sure where you are posting your portfolio is secure if you have pictures of students.

Even though an employer might not ask for a portfolio in the first round of interviews. Having one that you can show them can be a great way to help them to remember you and show examples of your work. In an upcoming post, I will be talking about what you should consider putting in your portfolio.

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Tips for Conducting an Out-of-State Internship or Job Search

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & Guest Blogger)

While most of the students who I work with plan to stay in Minnesota after graduation, I get really excited when students mention they’d like to move somewhere else. When you’re young and without many life commitments, moving elsewhere for an internship or job can be what you really need to kick-off the next stage of your adulthood. Yes, moving to a new place can be scary, and it can also be a thrilling adventure. In the past 5 years I have conducted two successful out-of-state searches (graduate summer internship and first position post-grad school), so I’m here today to share a couple of tips to help make your out-of-state internship or job search a little easier.

Out-of-State Job Search

Benefit of an Out-of-State Internship

From my experience of doing an internship at a university in Oregon, the number one benefit of doing an out-of-state internship is to figure out if you could truly “live anywhere.” Internships are short-term experiences, so it’s the perfect opportunity to venture to somewhere new. What I learned from my experience in Oregon is that I could live away from family, just not that far. When I moved into my post-grad school job search, I made the decision to stay within about a 15-hour drive of family.

Tips for Your Search

  • Do your research on the location.
    • Who do you (or people in your network) already know in a specific location?
    • Going Global has cost of living and other resources for all the major metro areas in the United States and Canada.
    • Contact UMD alums via LinkedIn (the “Find Alumni” feature is amazing for finding people). Ask about their experiences living and working in a specific city or state. They may be able to guide you to location-specific resources or tips for conducting a successful search in that location.
  • Figure out why you want to relocate. “I want to get out of Minnesota” is not a great reason, if it’s your only reason. It may be what kicks off the out-of-state search, and take some time to figure out your other reasons for moving somewhere new.
  • Use your network. Your network can include family members, friends, colleagues, professional associations, and more. True story, my internship in Oregon started by searching the membership directory of the professional association I belong to. Do people in your network live in any of the locations you are looking at? They could help you by sharing information about the city, local scoop about organizations, great places to find houses, and transitioning to living in the new location. Knowing at least one person in your new location can be really helpful for having a successful transition to the new place.
  • Check out the Chamber of Commerce directory of the city where you’d like to relocate. Find what organizations are located in that city.
  • Use national and local job boards. Often, national job boards can cost money that not all organizations want to spend. Local job boards might have more opportunities listed. Make sure that your search plan includes both types of job boards.
  • Make a point to include on your resume and/or cover letter your reasoning or plans to relocate. Here’s a sample sentence I included in a cover letter to address this point, “I am excited to potentially have the opportunity to be in the Denver area and to connect students with opportunities in the local community.”
  • Meet with one of the career counselors in our office to start working on your out-of-state internship or job search plan.
  • Enjoy the adventure!

Of Possible Interest: 

Photo Source

Confessions of an Ambivert: An Introduction

By: Logan

Nearly everyone has heard of the terms introvert and extrovert. People commonly use these words to describe personality or how personable a person is. A popular definition for an introvert is a person who is quiet and withdrawn. Whereas a popular definition for an extrovert would be someone who is loud and outgoing. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, developed the ideas behind psychological type, a theory of personality. He noted that the introversion/extraversion dichotomy was more about one’s orientation of energy. Extroverts focus on the outer world and restore their energy by being around people. Introverts focus on their inner world and restore their energy by reflecting on thoughts and ideas, and spending time on their own. [Source] Most people would define themselves as either an introvert or extrovert, but what happens if you show preferences to both? This is something that many people struggle with, including myself. After reading the definitions of extrovert and introvert, I realized that I could not define myself as one or the other.

Ambivert Intro

I was very curious to see what an actual personality assessment would say about me. I began to try different personality assessments online, but I was not satisfied with the results. Some assessments would say that I am very extroverted, while another assessment told me that I was significantly introverted. I began to get frustrated with these assessments giving me conflicting answers, yet I longed for closure. I needed to know whether I was introverted or extroverted. I searched for a more credible source to answer my questions, and it was right under my nose. In the Career and Internship Services Office there are multiple assessments available for students to take. I researched the different options and found out that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) would be the best option for me. The MBTI is a personalty assessment that characterizes your preferences on four continuums and creates a 4 letter code that represents your personality type. You are defined as either introversion (I) or extraversion (E), sensing (S) or intuition (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). This is a great personality assessment that can help anyone know more about their own personality preferences. If you are interested in taking the MBTI or one of our other assessments, you can take it at the Career and Internship Services office, which is located in Solon Campus Center 22. The MBTI costs $15, and the information you gain from it is priceless.

After receiving the results of my assessment I was very excited. I was eager to know more about my personality. I scheduled an appointment with a career counselor to go over my results. When I looked at my type I was shocked. For my introversion/extraversion score I was almost dead in the middle of the two. I wasn’t sure what to think of this. I was confused and I was afraid that I would never know what kind of personality preference I had.

After giving this a lot of thought I finally came to a conclusion. Maybe you don’t have to be either introverted or extroverted. Maybe it is possible to have introverted tendencies and extroverted tendencies. Maybe I just have a strong mixture of the two. I began to ponder this thought more and more and it began to make sense. I was very aware of my extroverted personality traits: I like to be around people a lot of the time and I consider myself to have strong interpersonal skills. I also realized that I have quite a few introverted traits, such as I cannot study with other people, I need to be alone. I don’t mind being alone and I appreciate personal reflection time. This is what really confused me: is it possible to have qualities of both introversion and extraversion? After even more research and after speaking with other counselors I came to the conclusion that I am ambivert.

Webster’s dictionary defines an ambivert as “a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert.” This described me perfectly and I was very excited to learn that it is not abnormal to have preferences for both introversion and extraversion. It was reassuring to see all of the information available on ambiverts. This assured me that I was not the only one who felt like this, and that there are many others in the world. This made me want to conduct research and experiments to see how ambiverts function in different settings. In the future I will continue to research how ambiverts compare to introverts and extroverts in a professional setting and in other areas. I also want to learn about where ambiverts excel in society, and I am curious to see how my personality compares to others in the world.

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A Guide to Being a Woman in the Workplace, by Leslie Knope

By: Willow

With the series finale of Parks and Recreation, I began to look back at my favorite show and all I’ve gotten out of it. The character of Leslie Knope is amazing. She’s a feminist, a friend, a mother, and a dedicated public servant. Honestly, she’s my hero. Here is a list of a few lessons she taught me.

Keep your values strong. Everyone has different values, and that’s ok. Be respectful, but don’t back down.

Leslie 1

Be prepared. Always. You never know what might come up.

Leslie 2

It’s important to have role models. Just because you’re moving up doesn’t mean you can’t look up.

Leslie 3

Keep open lines of communication. I find that most problems in the workplace are caused by some sort of miscommunication. Stop those problems before they start by practicing good communication.

Leslie 4

Goals are a total must.

Leslie 5

Encourage your co-workers. Everyone deserves a pat on the back when they do well. Why not have it come from you?

Leslie 6

Keep your priorities in line. Leslie Knope has her priorities, and you should have your own. It might be friends, waffles, and work, or family, cooking, and photography, or work, farm animals, and fast casual dining. Whatever your priorities are, stick with them.

Leslie 7

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How to Use the Graduate Follow-up Report

By: Meg

We’ve talked about the Graduate Follow-up Report before. We ask UMD grads what they’re doing their first year out of college. But what does that mean to you, those who are currently in college? How can you use it?

Choosing a Major

Go ahead and take a look at what people are doing the year after they graduate. In any field, there are going to be those who find their “big kid” job right off the bat, and those who don’t. Don’t be discouraged, but take that into consideration when you’re deciding on a major. How many are going to grad school? How many are working retail? How many are doing what you want to be doing?

By Major reports

Job Search

When you’re first jumping into the job search, it can be a bit daunting. What are you even looking for? To get an idea for titles to search for, just look at recent graduates job titles. If it sounds like something you could do, go for it. If it comes up multiple times in the report, you might want to look into it. These are jobs that graduates in your major got within a year of graduating. It’s an excellent place to start.

Follow-up of majors (listing positions & organizations where people are working and also graduate & professional schools people are attending)

Follow-up of teaching majors


In some majors, internships are an integral part of the learning process. In others, they’re an important addition. You can take a look at the report for the major you’re thinking about, or already in, and the percentage that did an internship. It also tells you how many of them got a job offer! Now, if you do some sleuthing, you might be able to figure out a few employers who you could do an internship with that might be willing to hire after completion. It might just give you an idea of where you should be looking for an internship, but that’s super important too!

Internship data by major

Job Relevance

Not everybody works in their field right off the bat when they graduate. Some of them need a break, some of them are biding time before graduate school, and some are saving up for traveling. Some aren’t finding a job that fits them in their field. It’s important to remember that you’re looking at numbers, not the whole story. But you can get the general idea of how many people in your major are finding a job that they consider relevant right off the bat.

All majors; CEHSP; CLA; LSBE; SFA; SCSE; Teaching

Pay Scale

It’s not all about money, but very few of us leave college without debt. So what we make the first few years out of school is important. The follow-up report lists the low, high, mean, and median reported salaries for each major. It’s a good place to look for a ballpark figure. Then you can take a look at the kinds of jobs people are working and see if that works for you. It can also give you an idea of where to start if you find yourself negotiating salary.

Reported annual salaries

The Graduate Follow-up Report is an incredibly useful tool. Find the major you want to look into, and take some time to look into it. If you want any help navigating, or want to talk about what you find, stop by Career and Internship Services and we’ll get you started.

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StrengthsQuest: Incorporating Your Strengths Into Your Resume

By: Cameron

Has an employer ever asked you in an interview, “What is your greatest strength?” or “If I asked your friends and family, how would they describe you?” These are common interview questions many people surprisingly struggle with. They seem easy because who knows you better than you, right? Unfortunately, not many people sit down and try to describe themselves on a daily basis. The good news is there’s an assessment called “StrengthsQuest” which answers these questions for you. The StrengthsQuest assessment is a short survey that determines your top strengths. This assessment is based on a list of 34 different strengths. The most important strengths are your top five. Many people will have similar strengths, but they are almost never in the same order. The assessment really helps you define, on paper, what you do best. The assessment also talks about the downfalls of each strength and some relationships between them. Knowing your strength’s limitations can also help you answer the question “What is your greatest weakness?”

So can this assessment only help you in an interview?

The short answer, no. These strengths can also help you develop your resume. Knowing these strengths can help you determine and showcase what you do well on a resume, which is very important since your resume is often your first impression with an employer.

How can you incorporate these strengths into your resume?

There are many ways to display your strengths on a resume depending on what they are. To show you what I mean, I have listed my strengths (along with the official definitions of each strength from the StrengthsQuest website) below along with my resume. On my resume I have highlighted areas where I felt certain strengths are shown.


People who are especially talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.


People who are especially talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.


People who are especially talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.


People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.


People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

Microsoft Word - Cameron Strengths Resume.docx

To read more about Strengths and how each Strength can be used in the career exploration process, check out our StrengthsQuest section here on the blog.

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What Now?! A Simple Guide for After the Job Fair

By: David

Alright, so now that you’ve attended the job fair you might be clueless as what to do now. I know that lost feeling all too well, but lucky for you this blog post will be highlighting some tips and advice on how to follow up with employers and recruiters after the job fair. Majority of these tips are briefly touched on in one of our handouts, “Checklist For Job Fair Success.” Hope it helps and enjoy!

After the Job Fair

The first thing you should always do is connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, GET ONE! Sorry, I don’t mean to yell, but I just want to emphasize the importance of LinkedIn. It’s pretty much Facebook for the professionals (NOTE: the “professionals.” You my friend, are now a professional). You can see all of our posts on LinkedIn here to really get your profile built. Since we’re on the topic of social media already, the next thing you can do is personally connect with the company through Twitter or Facebook. The chances are slim to great depending on the company itself whether they will actually have a social media account. If all else fails, you can feel free to connect with recruiters on their professional Twitter/Facebook account. Here’s more information on using social media in your job search.

After connecting with recruiters on social media, the next best thing would be to send personal thank you letters and resumes to the specific recruiter whom you spoke with and from there you can begin the application/inquisition process. This should be done three business days after your initial meeting with the recruiter. When contacting the recruiter, always make sure you use proper email etiquette to keep things professional. Check out this article on Inc.com for the essential tips. After 10 days have passed from the first meeting, make the first call to determine if employers have reviewed your application, check vacant positions, and to display your deep interest with the company. This might seem kind of overboard, but it shows initiative and your desire to work with a  specific company over other candidates.

Overall, you should always keep a log of accurate records of when and where you met recruiters, when you sent letters and resumes, important contacts, and any additional important information that might benefit you in the long run. Also, make sure when you reach out to other representatives, you mention names of specific recruiters of whom you met at the fair within your cover letter. Within the cover letter, you can talk about your interaction and conversation with the recruiter, or any interesting anecdotes.

All in all, it’s always important to maintain connections with recruiters. Even if there aren’t any current opportunities for you, there may be a chance that you’ll get a position down the line. One important thing I would like to stress is professionalism. To some extent it’s always nice to have the personal and casual aspect to conversation, but try to keep your formalities until you actually get the job. You want to keep your professional image clean and classy. I hope this helps you all with your adventures of finding a job or internship in the near future. Best of luck to you all and as always, stay gold folks!

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