Work Showcase

A good example of work shows that you can synthesize your learning and describe how you have gained the needed knowledge and skills for success in the world. The suggested sections below help readers understand what you’ve gained from your learning and work experiences, and how those experiences connect to other areas of your life. The sections below are not mandatory, however they have been found to be well received by potential employers and others reviewing portfolios. For help writing content, you can download guiding questions ( .doc | .pdf) for 
each section below.

vets with dog
Description of the Project

This section summarizes the learning experience and grabs the reader’s attention. It often begins with an overview of the work, including its purpose and goals. It should also include a sentence or two about your role and why the work was valuable or important to you as a learner or professional. All examples of work should have visual elements, such as diagrams or images. These can be abstract or concrete, personally created or from the public domain. Effective visual elements capture some kind of insight, theme, goal or outcome described in the work.

Tip: You can search online at .gov and other sites for non-copyrighted or royalty-free images.

Importance and Impact of Project or Work

This section should describe the impact of your work (i.e. how it benefitted an individual, group of people, organization, or social network) and that you are capable of “big picture” thinking (i.e. able to connect your learning and work experiences to larger ideas, social issues or goals). For instance, how does the work:
address your larger learning and professional goals? (i.e. the importance of learning Spanish could be that it prepares you to be successful in a diverse workplace).
support or inform a change underway within a group, community or institution? (i.e. the importance of doing research on a health-related issue could be that it motivated you to participate more actively in the national health-care debate).
enhance group/community development or well-being? (i.e. the “importance” of being a resident advisor is that you can help first-year students make the critical transition to college life – a necessary step for college success.) 

Tasks Accomplished and Skills Gained

This section describes your role: what you did, with whom you worked, and the types of knowledge and skills you gained. It’s helpful to ask “what were my most memorable moments and why?” Use a variety of specific action verbs (exs: mentoring, training, facilitating, etc.) and behaviors to describe what you learned both personally and professionally. Search the web for specific skill language related to your interests, major, or work. You can also use the Skills Language Document (.doc) and existing MPortfolios (view Showcase of Portfolios) for ideas. 

Lessons Learned and Making Connections

This section describes to the reader how the lessons learned from the experience have carried forward to other areas of your life or work. For instance, let’s say that this example or work provides a snapshot of your work in a leadership role. While the skills section describes how you learned to effectively plan, delegate, organize, a group of people, here you could describe how this experience gave you the confidence to take on additional leadership roles and responsibilities in other areas.

Photo credits:  US Fish and Wildlife Service