Portfolio

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Essential skills portfolio

Introduction

Welcome to your essential skills portfolio.

Your portfolio is a personal career development tool to help you track your essential skills. It allows you to record your skill strengths and identify areas for further improvement. It is intended to be reviewed and updated regularly.

Essential skills are the skills that people need for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills. The essential skills are:

  • Reading
  • Document use
  • Writing
  • Numeracy
  • Oral communication
  • Thinking
  • Working with others
  • Computer use
  • Continuous learning

Please visit the Literacy and essential skills webpage for more information on the essential skills and for other related tools.

Essential skills portfolio

Instructions

  1. Carefully read the statements under each essential skill.
  2. If you have clearly demonstrated the ability described in a statement, place a checkmark in the corresponding box.
  3. If you are completing your portfolio with assistance, ask your supervisor, coach, mentor or counselor to place a checkmark next to the statements that they feel you have clearly demonstrated.
  4. Personalize your portfolio by creating statements that are specific to your job under job-specific statements.
  5. Repeat steps 2-3 using your personalized statements.
  6. Record any formal training or achievements related to the skill under Training, certifications and/or accomplishments.
  7. List any skill areas requiring improvement under Areas for further development.
  8. In each section, insert any relevant work samples, certificates, awards or letters that demonstrate your ability to use each skill.

Sample

Name: Daniel Huxley

Position: Sprinkler system installer

Reading
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Refer to written materials when searching for information. * * 03/07
Read and understand simple texts, such as product labels, emails or memos. * *  05/07
Read and understand written instructions, such as work orders. * *  09/07
Skim lengthier texts for overall meaning and key ideas.      
Identify relevant and irrelevant information in texts. *    06/07
Find key pieces of information in complex or formal documents, such as service contracts. Not applicable Not applicable  
Analyze and integrate information from several sources.      
Refer to manuals for information on how to complete work tasks. * *  10/07
Read and understand complex texts, such as company policies or training manuals.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Read and understand installation instructions for new types of sprinkler heads. * *  01/07
Read and interpret the National Fire Protection Association code book, which contains complex and lengthy text. * *  02/07
Read training materials for courses such as transportation of dangerous goods and the WHMIS.      
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
C337 - Speed reading course * *  04/07
I was commended by my supervisor for the improvement in my reading skills on my last employee performance evaluation. * *  04/07
       
Areas for further development      
Summarizing key points in a lengthy text.      
       
       

Essential skills portfolio

Tips and best practices

  • Your portfolio can be completed independently or with the help of a supervisor, coach, mentor or counselor. Use their advice to help you develop learning goals.
  • Think of specific examples where you have demonstrated the general statements under each essential skill.
  • Ask your supervisor for learning or training suggestions (e.g. on-the-job experience, learning resources for self-study).
  • Use this portfolio as your personal resource for all materials related to the development of your essential skills.
  • Keep track of your achievements using this portfolio. For example, if you master the use of a particularly complex form, include it as a sample in the document use section.
  • Concentrate on the development of just one or two skills at a time.
  • If you are currently unemployed, think of your skills experience in broad terms. List tasks or competencies you demonstrated through volunteer activities, previous work experiences or everyday activities.

Reading

Reading refers to understanding materials written in sentences or paragraphs (e.g. letters, manuals).

Typical applications

  • Scan text for information or overall meaning.
  • Read text to understand, learn, critique or evaluate.
  • Analyze information from multiple sources or from complex and lengthy texts.

Workplace examples

  • Hotel room attendants read notes from guests to process special requests.
  • Customs brokers read memos and notices issued by governments or port authorities.
  • Carpenters read and interpret building codes and standards to comply with provincial regulations.
Reading
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Refer to written materials when searching for information.      
Read and understand simple texts, such as product labels, emails or memos.      
Read and understand written instructions, such as work orders.      
Skim lengthier texts for overall meaning and key ideas.      
Identify relevant and irrelevant information in texts.      
Find key pieces of information in complex or formal documents, such as service contracts.      
Analyze and integrate information from several sources.      
Refer to manuals for information on how to complete work tasks.      
Read and understand complex texts, such as company policies or training manuals.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Document use

Document use refers to using and understanding labels, graphs, signs and other similar materials.

Typical applications

  • Read signs, labels or lists.
  • Interpret information on graphs or charts.
  • Create or complete tables.
  • Interpret schematic drawings.

Workplace examples

  • Postal clerks read addresses on mailing labels.
  • Cashiers consult work schedules and enter the times they begin and end their daily shifts.
  • Machine operators interpret schematic drawings when assembling or repairing equipment.
Document use
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Find information in a document.      
Enter information into simple forms or charts, such as checklists or overtime forms.      
Enter information into complex forms or charts, such as annual budgets or production schedules.      
Understand simple charts, graphs or drawings, such as phone lists or hazardous materials labels.      
Understand complex charts, graphs or drawings, such as maps or product specifications.      
Compare information from a variety of charts and/or graphs.      
Integrate and analyze information from a variety of charts and/or graphs.      
Create charts or graphs, such as work schedules or production reports.      
Create sketches or drawings by hand or with software, such as scale drawings.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Numeracy

Numeracy refers to using and understanding numbers.

Typical applications

  • Make calculations.
  • Take measurements.
  • Perform scheduling, budgeting or accounting activities.
  • Analyze data.
  • Make estimations.

Workplace examples

  • Bartenders calculate bills and make change for cash payments.
  • Child caregivers measure cooking ingredients when they are required to double or halve recipes.
  • Flight engineers analyze engine performance data for signs of problems.
Numeracy
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Perform simple calculations, such as addition or subtraction.      
Perform more complex calculations, such as multiplication or division.      
Perform complex or multi-step operations, such as calculating averages or percentages.      
Convert numbers from one unit of measurement to another such as inches to feet or Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars.      
Perform financial transactions, such as settling cash payments or preparing bills.      
Measure quantities or dimensions, such as the area of a room.      
Analyze or compare numerical data to identify trends or compile statistics.      
Plan or monitor schedules and/or budgets.      
Make estimations when values are unknown, such as the amount of time required to complete a task.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Writing

Writing refers to writing text or typing on a computer.

Typical applications

  • Write text to organize or record information.
  • Write text to inform or persuade.
  • Write text to request information or justify a request.
  • Write an analysis or a comparison.

Workplace examples

  • Nurses’ aides write entries about patient care in medical files.
  • Computer salespeople write letters to clients with hardware & software recommendations.
  • Small business owners write detailed proposals to obtain funding from investors.
Writing
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Write brief text that is less than a paragraph, such as log entries or reminder notes.      
Write text that is a paragraph or longer, such as memos or letters.      
Write text using correct grammar and spelling.      
Write with a clear purpose, such as to inform or to request information.      
Write informal text intended for familiar audiences, such as notes to coworkers.      
Write formal text using a structured format, such as letters to customers or suppliers.      
Write text using an appropriate tone for the occasion, such as a compassionate or an apologetic tone.      
Write text that requires original content that varies from one instance to the next, such as a business plan or a proposal.      
Influence the actions or ideas of others through writing.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Oral communication

Oral communication refers to using speech to share thoughts and information.

Typical applications

  • Provide or obtain information.
  • Greet, reassure or persuade people.
  • Resolve conflicts.
  • Facilitate discussions.

Workplace examples

  • Retail sales associates greet clients and respond to questions about products and hours of operation.
  • Dental assistants exchange ideas about patient treatment plans with coworkers.
  • Correctional service officers persuade inmates to enter rehabilitation programs.
Oral communication
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Use various types of oral communication, such as in person or by telephone.      
Use proper grammar and pronunciation when speaking.      
Adapt tone, vocabulary and body language to different situations or audiences.      
Communicate information clearly and concisely, such as leaving detailed telephone messages.      
Understand information that is presented orally, such as detailed work instructions.      
Communicate comfortably with a variety of audiences, such as customers or supervisors.      
Provide sufficient context to limit the need for clarification or more information.      
Seek information by asking clear questions.      
Express personal opinions and participate in group discussions.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Working with others

Working with others refers to interacting with others to complete tasks.

Typical applications

  • Work independently, alongside others.
  • Work jointly with a partner or helper.
  • Work as a member of a team.
  • Participate in supervisory or leadership activities.

Workplace examples

  • Home-based workers research and provide website data to distant employers.
  • Paramedics work with a partner to diagnose and treat patients.
  • Pipefitters coordinate work tasks and perform quality control with welders, pipe insulators, crane operators, and apprentices.
Working with others
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Share information with others willingly.      
Take time to help others with their work.      
Work cooperatively in a group to achieve common goals.      
Complete assigned tasks when working with others.      
Demonstrate respect for the ideas and expertise of others.      
Resolve conflicts when working with others.      
Take on a leadership role, such as mentor or advisor.      
Ask for help when required.      
Work independently when required.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Thinking

Thinking refers to reviewing information to make decisions.

Typical applications

  • Identify and resolve problems.
  • Make decisions.
  • Find information.
  • Plan and organize job tasks.
  • Use critical thinking.
  • Use memory.

Workplace examples

  • Teachers make decisions about planned activities based on an assessment of weather conditions.
  • Tool makers discover that product specifications are incorrect and request revisions.
  • Health practitioners determine how to respond when patients’ conditions suddenly worsen.
Thinking
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Recognize and identify problems.      
Identify several reasonable options to address a problem.      
Evaluate options and choose the best course of action when confronted with a problem or a decision.      
Assess the effectiveness of a solution and make adjustments if needed.      
Make reasonable assumptions when information is unavailable.      
Find and apply relevant information required to complete a work task.      
Organize work tasks effectively, according to level of priority.      
Memorize information required for different job tasks.      
Use previous experiences to help solve new problems or make decisions.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Computer use

Computer use refers to using computers and other technical tools (e.g. fax machines).

Typical applications

  • Operate point-of-sale systems.
  • Use word processing software.
  • Send and receive emails.
  • Create and modify spreadsheets.
  • Navigate the Internet.

Workplace examples

  • Filing clerks complete data entry by responding to prompts on a computer screen.
  • Car rental agents use email to transfer files to coworkers or clients.
  • Loan officers create spreadsheets to track sales of financial products.
Computer use
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Use different forms of technology, such as photocopiers, cash registers or two-way radios.      
Perform basic interactions with a computer, such as logging on or printing a file.      
Use word processing software to perform tasks such as producing or formatting text.      
Use spreadsheet software to perform tasks such as entering or organizing data.      
Use databases to perform tasks such as finding or verifying information.      
Use a variety of email functions, such as sending attachments or emailing a group of people.      
Use company-specific software, such as financial or design software.      
Use the Internet to perform tasks such as searching for information.      
Use computer skills to increase the efficiency and/or the quality of work.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       

Continuous learning

Continuous learning refers to participating in an ongoing process of gaining skills and knowledge (e.g. workplace training).

Typical applications

  • Learn on-the-job.
  • Learn through formal training.
  • Learn through self-study.
  • Know how to learn.
  • Understand one’s own learning style.
  • Know how to gain access to a variety of resources and learning opportunities.

Workplace examples

  • Retail sales associates complete mandatory training to upgrade their product knowledge.
  • Image consultants read trade magazines, industry journals, and supplier catalogues to keep up-to-date on new products.
  • Automotive service technicians participate in on-the-job training and work discussion groups to adapt to frequent changes in technology.
Continuous learning
General statements Employee Supervisor Date
I am confident in my/your ability to:
Develop a learning plan with guidance.      
Seek learning opportunities, materials and/or resources.      
Learn from past experiences and apply lessons learned to new situations.      
Try new ways of doing things.      
Learn from the expertise of others.      
Actively participate in training.      
Apply new skills and knowledge.      
Ensure skills remain up-to-date.      
Recognize individual learning styles, such as learning by seeing, hearing or doing.      
Job-specific statements

Create personalized statements that are specific to your job.
     
I am confident in my/your ability to:
       
       
       
       
       
       
Training, certifications and/or accomplishments      
       
       
       
Areas for further development      
       
       
       
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