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September 2009
The Competitive Edge in Career Management—Career Portfolio
By Bill Crigger

     As we exit the current recessionary economy, career management will take on even greater importance for companies and individuals. A recent survey indicated that 40 percent of employees plan to leave their current employment as the economy improves. Career management can be a retention / retain tool.

     We used to think that the company was responsible for employee career development and professional growth. In reality, the company is responsible for providing the opportunity for these things to occur. It is the employees’ responsibility to seek out these opportunities, develop a plan and accomplish the plan. So the obvious question becomes, how can a company offer the opportunity for individuals to “take charge” of their careers and promote themselves professionally within the corporate environment?

     Companies maintain paper and digital files on employees that include such items as performance reviews, assessment results and certificates for course completion; all useful in succession planning. But do these tools highlight the employees’ current history and capabilities in a clear, easy to read and understandable format? And what about their prior work history with other companies?

     There is a relatively new technology emerging for use by companies and individuals called career web portfolios. With this technology, a company can allow employees the opportunity to promote themselves within the company’s succession planning framework. But the technology is not just limited to companies; employees can also use a career web portfolio to promote themselves inside their companies (and perhaps outside as well).

     Internet-based career Web portfolios combine multimedia, graphics, images, charts, etc., to highlight an employee’s complete work history, total accomplishments and capabilities. This tool can enhance a company’s current succession planning and selection / identification process, as well as save time and money.

     With a Web portfolio, companies would not be confined to just looking at information connected in segments within a file or perhaps a two-page resume. A portfolio approach can give employers a complete visual portrait of an employee’s career and expertise. From the employee’s perspective, by showcasing his/her skills, results and achievements, a favorable impression can be created which can help him/her stand out within the company as a better candidate for future assignments.

     A concept like a career portfolio is a reusable asset, provides a more comprehensive view of the employee’s work experience, helps with employee retention, and saves time and money. This may be the competitive edge in career management.

     Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm. Contact him at bcrigger@compasscareer.com or visit www.compasscareer.com to learn more about career portfolios.

Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm.
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