Build Your Portfolio
By Grace Brouillette, DO, FAAP
Many of you may be looking for your first “grown up” doctor job to start after residency, transitioning from fellowship into practice or looking for a career change after practicing for a few years. Most have a CV on hand (hopefully it is updated) but may not have a portfolio created as well. Now this may sound like a lot of things to keep track of. Though you may feel a CV is sufficient, when it comes time for promotion within an institution, a CV does not encompass the details of all the things you do on a daily basis as well as your contributions to your community and institution.
In order to best represent your accomplishments, you first must know what track your current position has you on or what track you would like to pursue. In private practice, this is typically a clinical track but within academic centers this can vary from a clinician, educator, clinician-educator, researcher, clinician-research and so on. These tracks additionally may include specific titles based on years’ service, accomplishments, certifications etc. Common titles include instructor, assistant, associate, full professor, adjunct and/or volunteer. Before applying for a position, it is crucial you know what track the position is, the requirements of that track, position title and how to transition from one title to the next. If research isn’t your passion, a track requiring a certain percentage of research dedication might not be ideal for you. Additionally, if you become a clinical instructor initially, it is nice to know how you can become an assistant, associate and full professor- it’s always good to be advancing!
Now that you know the track you are on, or want to be on, you can being ensuring your portfolio meets your current position needs as well as helps you advance in the future. This can be organized by utilizing both a developmental and a promotional portfolio. A developmental portfolio offers a broad perspective on educational activities, strategic planning, goal setting and reflection over time. A promotional portfolio will typically highlight and summarize key achievements with the goal of assisting with attainment status and visibility amount other academic or community peers, leaders and administrators.
Keeping an up-to-date portfolio will allow you to easily track your contributions and not forget about previous contributions. Depending on where you currently work, your institution may have a standard academic portfolio to utilize. Ask your mentor (and if you don’t have a mentor, now it the time to get one) for help in finding your institutions portfolio template. If your instruction does not offer a standard template or you practice more predominantly in a community/private practice setting, there are a variety of resources available to you. The Academic Pediatric Association has a great portfolio template that you can access at the following link: https://www.academicpeds.org/education/educator_portfolio_template.cfm
If this one is not desirable to you, find a different template, or create your own. Commonly portfolios contain categories such as: philosophy/personal statement, curriculum development/evaluation, teaching, advising/mentoring, dissemination and honors/awards/achievements.
Once you have documented thoroughly in your portfolio, have a trusted colleague or mentor review it for you. They can help you elaborate in areas when needed or may remember something that you forgot to document in your portfolio. Additional tips include using standard formatting throughout, the reader’s eyes should fall to the most recent activity, clearly communicating professionalism, competence and enthusiasm, avoiding the use of first person and ensuring everything is honest and accurate within your portfolio. And most importantly, keep your portfolio updated regularly to prevent forgetting to document an activity.
It is great to have an updated CV and portfolio that you can share. Certain scenarios may call for a CV but you will (at some point in your career) likely be asked for a more thorough documentation of your work which a portfolio allows.
For questions regarding your portfolio development or if you would like an outsider to review the document you have created, feel free to contact your KAAP Young Physician committee members!