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We have just started a Careers Research class this semester. This is for seniors this time but will go to lower grades next year. I am wanting students to have a portfolio and am not sure how to get them started. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Posted by christie.mcmaster
Asked on January 14, 2016 5:41 am
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Part of my career unit is creating a portfolio. I have them create a resume, cover letter, and follow-up letter.

Assignment #1 – They must find a job for which they can apply to next summer. The job can be located anywhere, they just must meet the requirements as a senior. This makes the cover letter much easier for them to write.

Assignment #2 – For the resume, I give them samples to look at. But for the “job experience” section, I have them “google” the resume of that job to get ideas for better verbs to use when describing their previous jobs. This is where the kids need the most help as they don’t do a good job describing the duties they had at their places of employment. It also gives them another idea for a format. I have them leave off the “objective” for 2 reasons: 1 – they usually don’t need one for these types of jobs and 2 – I find the more they write, the greater their chance of making a mistake (see below for grading). I know that sounds mean, but true.

Part #3 – The cover letter should be addressed to the company or person listed in the ad they found. I also give them samples and they use google, again, if needed. I also require them to learn a block-style letter format with either open or closed punctuation…their choice.

Part #4 – A follow-up letter. Again, they must use the block format.

Part #5 – I find a job application and require them to fill that out as well.

I grade very hard on this assignment for my seniors. The portfolio is worth 50 points, each document worth 10 points. If for some reason I cannot mail the document (grammar mistake, misspelled words, inappropriate email address, etc), they receive a 0 for that part. Yes, I get some pretty ugly scores but I also have kids who get 50/50. I stress proofreading in my class a lot so I carry that over to this assignment.

For one of my final projects in May, I again require this assignment (for which they should all have as I’ve told them to keep this important folder) and I then require 2 letters of recommendation as well.

They should now have all the materials they need to apply for a real job in this next phase of their life.

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Posted by Carleen Bullinger
Answered on January 14, 2016 7:27 am
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My school is just starting to formulate a career portfolio for students. I would think for seniors I would have them create a resume that is editable and make sure they know how to update it. I would think they have some sort of career goal but if not, career exploration in the form of a variety of online surveys. We use Career Cruising starting in the 6th grade and will compare results throughout the next few years. I’ve used ISeek also which gives some info. The more a student can research and know about themselves the better.

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Posted by finley.dawn
Answered on January 14, 2016 7:14 am
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