Crafting a Compelling Portfolio: A Guide for Facilitators

Crafting a Compelling Portfolio: A Guide for Facilitators By Nicole Darby

A Tale of Two Facilitators

Consider two L&D facilitators who have been happily employed for 20-30 years with the same employer. Let’s call them Mary and Marshall. The employer has large budget cuts one year and releases people from the training team. Suddenly, these highly experienced facilitators are out of work with only five to ten working years left until retirement.

Mary’s experience is invaluable but hard to document in today’s world because the bulk of it is under NDA, and the end result took place in a live classroom. She is also not an expert at explaining her skills in an interview situation. She is at a loss as to how to prove her experience and skill level. She attempts to compile hard copies of her previous projects in case she gets an interview. She’s also including a paragraph on client NDAs and the challenge of sharing proprietary information in her cover letter. Despite this effort, she is finding it nearly impossible to get an interview.

Now let’s examine another way to approach the situation. Marshall also has deep, rich experience, very similar to Mary. However, Marshall invested time in building a strong brand, social media presence, and an impressive online portfolio. Thanks to his well-thought-out online presence, Marshall has had much more luck getting in front of potential clients or future employers.

As a Talent Ambassador for a L&D Staffing company, I spend a large part of my day speaking with consultants looking for gigs or project work as facilitators. What I’ve noticed is that, like Mary, most facilitators don’t have an online portfolio and don’t seem to know how to get started.

Facilitation Portfolio – What’s the Value for Consultants?

Each day, our industry-experienced Relationship Managers work hard to find the best consultant for each contract position with our clients. In the past, some of the clients would ask to see portfolios provided with the resume. They would make the decision on whether to have an interview with a consultant based on both the resume and the portfolio. Today that has changed. Nearly all our clients require a portfolio. If you don’t have a portfolio, you are not being considered for many of the contract positions out there.

Facilitation Portfolio – What’s the Value for Employees?

The employment market is ever evolving. In the past, facilitators could count on a strong resume resulting in an interview and a facilitation demonstration. Today, many facilitators have an online presence that includes short videos of them facilitating. When you apply for a position, you are competing against facilitators who are providing the facilitation demonstration in advance. For a hiring manager, this is a huge time saver and, therefore, gives a great advantage to the candidates with an online portfolio.

How Do I Organize a Facilitator Portfolio?

It’s important to plan out what you’d like your final portfolio to look like in terms of content and organization. But how do you organize a portfolio for facilitators?

One idea might be to follow one of our competency models, such as the ATD Capability Model.

A more standard approach would be to have a link or page for each of these areas that apply to you:

  • Resume
  • Program Certifications
  • Training Programs (a list of topics you’ve taught)
  • Client Testimonials
  • Success Stories
  • Articles and Publications

How Do I Build My Facilitator Portfolio?

An online facilitator portfolio can highlight more than just facilitator skills.  Here are some ideas for building a portfolio that clients or employers can quickly scan for the aspects they want to review:

  • Find a free website creator such as Wix or WordPress. You don’t have to build an ecommerce site, just a page or two. Use the available formats and don’t spend much time worrying over finding the perfect layout.
  • Record yourself facilitating a live session. Edit out short snippets that highlight specific aspects of your facilitation skills. If you can’t do a live session, have a friend help you record a staged facilitation session you can use. Today’s smartphones can take good quality video you can use.
  • Consider creative ways to share your video excerpts such as Canva or YouTube.
  • Create a list of top 3-5 key accomplishments. Articulate key clients, audience, duration, project scope, challenges, specific actions completed, and results.
  • Highlight the approaches, methodologies, analytics, tools, and/or engagement methods used.
  • Organize the information in a way that lets the hiring manager find what they want to review. Some ways to consider organizing your information: The ATD Competency Model,
  • Once you have provided visual proof that you can do the job, make sure you keep it updated and relevant.

Summary

According to Mat Zucker, creative and digital marketing leader of Prophet says, “Portfolios curate your best stories to impress and convince the prospective client or employer that you are brilliant and can tackle things in the past, but for them in the future.” Demonstrating your soft and digital skills is no longer just a nice thing to have, it is a must have.

Portfolios are not just for artists or instructional designers anymore. If you are an L&D facilitator who wants to remain competitive, it’s time to embrace the online portfolio.  If you are a L&D consultant looking for projects, register with us today. If you are a Learning Leader with too many projects and not enough people, contact us today and speak with an industry-experienced Relationship Manager.

 

 

Nicole Darby

Nicole Darby

Nicole is a serious introvert who knows how to extrovert as needed but needs ample time regrouping by watching foreign films (she loves anything with a subtitle) and playing the “old-school” arcade game Galaga. Happy Places: any tropical beach, time with her son, and helping women/youth actualize their dreams.
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Nicole is a serious introvert who knows how to extrovert as needed but needs ample time regrouping by watching foreign films (she loves anything with a subtitle) and playing the “old-school” arcade game Galaga. Happy Places: any tropical beach, time with her son, and helping women/youth actualize their dreams.

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