DOS 750 - Week 3 Discussion
Initial Post: Resumes vs Cover Letters
The distinction between "stuff" and "evidence based practice" (EBP) is based on whether an analysis of the data has taken place. Batson alludes to a crime scene example in which an enormous amount of physical evidence, measurements, photographs, samples, and other data is collected, resulting in "stuff".1 The EBP comes when a savvy detective combs through the stuff to find trends, make and test hypotheses, rule out impossible options, and enlighten others as to the meaning of the mountain of information. Even more simply, seeing that there is a blood-covered lead pipe on the floor in the parlor is "stuff", and piecing together that the murderer was Colonel Mustard is EBP.
Before e-Portfolios made distribution of large amounts of information easy, an applicants whole story and value may have had to be condensed thoughtfully into two documents: a resume and a cover letter. The resume is a listing of stuff: past work, education, accomplishments, and other personal details. The purpose of the cover letter was to explain simply and quickly why this list of stuff is relevant to the reader. Usually it will try to draw connections between accumulated skills and their application to a new job. Whether or not past skills were even relevant was not always the point. In my experience, employers will sometimes look at the reasoning shown in creating a rationale more than they actually look at the skills being discussed. At my last employer, the hiring managers stated that they wanted to hire thinkers, not just people who had a certain set of things on their resume. Individual skills can be learned any time, but applicants have to show that they are able to learn.
I will have to be conscious of this as I build the content of my e-Portfolio. I had initially thought of it as a way to finally list all of the things I have done without running out of space, but now I see that this will only accomplish the "stuff" goal, equivalent to an over-inflated resume. As Professor Lenards has pointed out several times, reflection and discussion are key aspects in the processing of this "stuff" to create EBP. In some respects, the e-Portfolio should function primarily as a cover letter (EBP) written to potential employers, with a rich supply of artifacts (stuff) available for examination should the readers choose to look at it.
Phrased more simply, the e-Portfolio should first and foremost tell a story of how I have developed and how I have approached learning, and then provide artifacts as proof if the reader wishes to see then.
- Batson T. Reviewers unhappy with portfolio stuff demand evidence. Campus Technology Website. http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2010/10/06/Reviewers-Unhappy-with-Portfolio-Stuff-Demand-Evidence.aspx?Page=1. Updated October 6, 2010. Accessed September 17, 2014.