Saturday, October 24, 2015

Child Life Portfolio

Becoming a professional is hard. Or so we think. Are we making it harder than it really is? 

We've been asked to do a post regarding a child life portfolio from a few readers, so here it goes. 

Truth is... Sydney and I have been discussing a post on portfolios for quite a while now, but there are so many opinions surrounding them - we hesitated. This being said, we wanted to start this post with a disclaimer. 
The suggestions and the opinions in this post are what we have put together from our university experience, internship experience, professional experience, and personal experience. In no way are these suggestions exhaustive or legally binding. We are open to suggestions from internship supervisors, professors, or other professionals who have been down this road before. At the end of the day, it is YOUR professional child life portfolio.  

Here goes nothing...

It depends on who you ask and when you ask as to what answers you may receive regarding a portfolio. Some professors say you must have A, B, and C. Some supervisors say they are mandatory and some say they are not needed at all. With all of these mixed suggestions, what do you do?

1. My first piece of advice is that if you are doing it for an assignment in school or during your internship, you need to follow the guidelines of your supervisor. If they say it needs to be in a particular order, construct your portfolio to meet their requirements. Make sure you understand why they feel those specific order and contents are crucial.

2. The second piece of advice is that your portfolio contents are always changing, and that is to be expected. What your portfolio had in it when you were applying for practicums should be totally different than when you are applying for your internship, and again when you apply for a your first job. 

3. The third piece of advice is to make it yours. Your portfolio is a reflection of you as a person and as a professional. It is a chance to display your passions, talents, and hard work. It is also a great way to explain to family members or others who have no idea what child life is anyway. 

4. The fourth piece of advice is to be as professional as possible. This is not a class project to be completed the night before an interview. This is a reflection of who you are as a professional. Sydney and I both used scrapbooks with page protectors for ours, but others have used binders, etc. You can never be professional enough. 

Here are our suggestions for constructing and compiling a professional portfolio.

Contents for before you are a professional (internship and practicum candidates):
  • Resume
  • Child Life Philosophy
  • Letters of Verification of hours
  • Certificates from attending conferences or awards that are relevant 
  • Evaluations of your performance from practicum or child life class
  • Projects or assessments from practicum or child life class that you did well on 
  • Research articles or other resources you feel are important and relevant to child life
  • Photos of you doing child life related things (make sure you obtain consent)
But, like we said in the second piece of advice, the content is always changing. Once you have finished your internship, there should really be nothing (or minimum) left from undergrad in your portfolio. 

Suggested contents once you are a new professional (job seeking, or child life specialist): 
  • Resume 
  • Child Life Philosophy
  • Child Life Certification
  • Evaluation from Internship and/or practicum
  • Certificates from attending conferences or child life related awards
  • Policies you have written
  • Research you have conducted
  • Therapeutic Activities you created
  • Resources you feel necessary or ones you created
  • Special project or event you organized or created
  • PDU certificates
  • Photos 

Once again, these are all purely suggestions. The ACLP does not have a standard guideline for this. Some interviews will never ask for or have time to look at a portfolio, while others may. We take ours every time regardless, just in case. 

What do you have in your portfolio? What did your supervisors suggest you add? What do you think is not needed? We want to hear from you! 



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