Looking to start the conversation about digital student resumes and portfolios with your class? Here are 4 tips to get you started.

4 Tips for Talking to Your Class about Digital Student Resumes and Portfolios

In our contemporary digital climate, a student’s online presence plays an integral role in the opportunities they have access to – for better or for worse. Whether they’re applying for colleges, searching for jobs, or seeking out internships, their digital footprint can make or break their chances. Employers do review candidates’ digital footprint during the hiring process. That’s why teaching students how to cultivate a positive professional online presence is essential. With the ubiquity of social media and the potentially harmful ramifications of its usage for children and teens, it’s important to have conversations with students about how to establish a healthy relationship with social networking platforms and how to take control of their representation online. Digital student resumes and portfolios are a great supplement or even an alternative to apps like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok for students to craft their online identities. They encourage professionalism, promote a positive self-image, and become a place where students can tell their stories, demonstrate their skills, and showcase their work in a secure and curated environment. The bulb team has put together a list of our top tips to engage your students and get them thinking about ways a professional online presence can guide their future.

Tip 1: Use Your Digital Footprint to Your Advantage

Your students probably already have a digital footprint, whether they know it or not. They likely use social media apps, and their friends and family may have posted content about them online. Ask them to reflect on their current online presence and how it portrays them. Then, have them consider how they can revise their online presence and build upon it with a digital portfolio to better depict their authentic self. A conversation like this can be tricky; social media is known to negatively impact the self-image and mental health of children and teens. It’s important to avoid topics like competition or comparison and instead steer the conversation toward a positive self-image. Curating your digital footprint is about putting your best foot forward, not chasing clout or trying to be someone you’re not. Preparing your students to engage in healthy online self-promotion will play an integral role in their journeys. This way, when prospective employers or college recruiters Google their name, they’ll find content that highlights their abilities.

Tip 2: Create Your Own Future Impacting Moment!

The interview process looks different in today’s world. Digital resumes and portfolios are great ways for your students to create a 360° view of who they are. These documents allow prospective employers, colleges, and organizations to see their faces, successes, and celebrations firsthand. Ask your students to ideate about what content they’d like to include in their digital resumes and portfolios to bolster their professional online presence. Suggest subject matter such as employable skills, projects, and classwork, and experience with jobs, internships, and extracurriculars.  It’s important to consider what content should be included or excluded based on the opportunities they’re seeking out. Searching for a programming internship? You probably don’t need to include that project from your photography class. Too much content can create clutter and detract from the items you really want people looking at. With robust digital student resumes and portfolios, they can make a strong first impression and create a future-impacting moment, even in a digital landscape.

Tip 3: Craft Your Own Narrative Through Online Celebrations

Social media can be a great place to share achievements with friends and family, but it’s not always the best place to showcase professional accomplishments. Alternatively, a digital portfolio is an excellent platform for students to celebrate their achievements and control their own narratives. Every student has a story to tell, and they should be afforded the agency to tell that story their way. Demonstrating your authentic and unique self is the cornerstone of a strong online presence. Ask your students to consider what makes them special and what impression they’d like to make with their digital portfolio. What are their interests and passions? What are their positive personality traits? What’s an impactful anecdote that demonstrates who they are? Suggest that they include a thoughtful description in their digital student resumes and a more in-depth about me page in their digital student portfolios to help people get to know them. Then, encourage them to create portfolio content celebrating achievements that demonstrate the positive virtues they’ve shared. This way, they can showcase their successes in a professional way that begins building their personal brand.

Tip 4: Explore your Hidden Skills!

By asking your students to explore their hidden skills, you can help them discover their unique strengths and how to showcase them in a professional setting. This will help flesh out their digital resume and portfolio and increase their chances of success when applying for jobs, colleges, or internships. Encourage them to be creative about what content they include and how it’s depicted. Suggest that your students explore the skills they use daily in the classroom. Giving a presentation and creating a slideshow are employable skills. Group projects show that you’re a team player. A strong attendance record displays commitment and punctuality. Additionally, ask them how they can incorporate the skills they learn from extracurricular activities. Marching band demonstrates teamwork, work ethic, and time management. Debate club demonstrates public speaking, critical thinking, and adaptability. This principle can extend to areas like work experience as well. In addition to listing jobs and internships, they should include bullet points about their responsibilities and the skills they leveraged in those jobs.

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