Two Powerful Tools to Edge Out the Competition

 By Marcia A. Talbert

Prospective teachers can use e-portfolios and video résumés to show off their classroom skills—and prove to recruiters that they are tech savvy, too.

Teaching is an audience-oriented career. So, naturally when schools set out to recruit applicants for open positions, they want candidates who are not only qualified on paper, but who also know how to authentically connect with and engage listeners. Fortunately, video résumés and e-portfolios give prospective teachers an opportunity to publicize their soft skills—like wit, emotional intelligence, energy level, and attitude—which don’t always translate well on traditional paper CVs or even during phone interviews. According to a spring 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates on behalf of The Association of American Colleges and Universities “more than four in five employers say an electronic portfolio would be useful to them in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization.”

Private corporations aren’t alone in this endeavor. In today’s hi-tech classroom, principals, school districts, and administrators are seeking educators who can demonstrate their competence with juggling Smart boards and iPads, all while maintaining classroom control. Video can attest to just how proficient an aspirant staffer is at mastering innovative resources or at simply calming down a hyper 3rd grader after recess. More recruiters are accepting searchable digital portfolios and video résumés because they save time and money by helping to weed out unqualified contenders earlier in the hiring process.

As such, every forward-thinking educator or student teacher should be regularly documenting lectures, science presentations, original curriculum adaptations, and updating colleague collaborations into digital versions. In video resumes all of these elements are sewn together with narration by the applicant.  While also having narrated video, digital portfolios on the other hand are usually searchable and cloud-based; meaning you can add to or delete from them using any Web-connected device.

E-portfolios differ from video résumés in that they generally include far more than just video, but an assembly of artifacts that show rather than tell why an applicant is a great fit for a position. Nevertheless, the visual elements of both will benefit a prospective teacher in a number of ways. You should:

  1. Highlight your areas of expertise with visual examples of awards you’ve won, recorded referrals from former employers and parents, PDFs of diplomas or certificates, and experiential learning opportunities.
  1. Demonstrate your teaching style and methods through video clips of special presentations and field trips, along with photographic evidence of tools and resources you’ve employed.
  1. Prove your effectiveness by exporting data, graphs, and charts from electronic rubrics or third party software like Engrade to demonstrate student success and learning outcomes over time.

E-portfolios are easy to create, update and share. Free tools and apps for digitally archiving your professional development abound. In addition to mainstream apps like Evernote, Pinterest, and GoogleDocs, companies like Pathbrite, SchoolChapters, and ItsLearning have created software, which specifically target educators.

For a great checklist on what a teacher’s e-portfolio should include visit: