You will create a professional planning portfolio containing five documents organized according to three purposeful sections: 1) The Core section—completed by all students. 2) either an Employment section or a Graduate School section, depending upon your post-baccalaureate plans. 3) a revised copy of your Career Review Paper, which has been corrected according to the feedback you received from your instructor.
The Core section will contain the following two documents:
Document 1: Personal Statement (15 points)
Compose a personal statement describing your immediate and long-term career and life goals, including an explanation of why these goals are appropriate and realistic in terms of your curricular, extracurricular, professional, and personal experiences.
- When composing this document keep it personal, framing the discussion from your perspective (I, my, me).
- A maximum page length for your Personal Statement is not specified as your goals and aspirations are unique to you. Take the space you need to effectively, and succinctly, define and discuss your goals. Historically, students have achieved this in 2-3 pages.
- The document should be formatted using sound APA formatting practices: 1-in. margins on every side of the page, page numbering, double-spaced, and appropriately sized sans serif or serif fonts.
Document 2: Reflective Paper (15 points)
You will write a paper reflecting upon your educational experiences within your psychology program journey, using the Program Goals as an organizational paradigm. That means you will organize your paper using the Goals. The body of the paper will be organized into sections corresponding to the Goals. This paper should include thoughts regarding successes and challenges, new insights, and personal transformations. This should be at a deep level rather than a surface mention. You must address each of the Program Goals which are displayed below and discuss how you have specifically met that goal, referencing courses, papers and concepts.
- Organize the Reflective Paper by the Program Goals and use headings per the APA Manual.
- List the Program Goal verbatim (with proper citation) and then address each component to receive maximum points.
- The Reflective Paper will be 6 to 10 pages, double-spaced, not including the expected title and reference pages. APA Style is expected and you must reference yourself when quoting from past papers.
- Only academic/scholarly sources should be used. Avoid common, general reference websites like Wikipedia, Psychology Today, or Verywell Minded.
UMGC Psychology Program Goals 1
Apply major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology to prepare for graduate studies or careers in which psychological training is relevant.
Apply basic knowledge of research methodology, statistics, measurement, guidelines, ethical standards, laws, and regulations in order to design, participate in and to evaluate research in a variety of contexts.
Apply knowledge of human behavior to inform personal growth, communicate effectively, solve problems, make decisions and interact with individuals, communities, and organizations.
Use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and where possible appropriate technology and the scientific approach to solve problems related to current and emergent trends within the domains of psychology.
Value diversity and different perspectives, tolerate ambiguity, and act ethically to communicate appropriately with various sociocultural and international populations.
The Employment / Advanced Studies section will include the following two documents:
Document 3: Resume/Curriculum Vitae (8 points)
Craft a current, accurate, and professional-appearing resume or curriculum vitae. Which you choose to present depends on your aspirations. Resumes tend to be competency-based, designed to be a marketing document that showcases your skills, achievements, and work experiences . They tend to run 1-2 pages in length. A curriculum vitae is credential-based and is most often composed for jobs in academic, medical fields, or research. They provide a comprehensive, detailed, accounting of one’s education, certifications, research experience, and professional memberships and affiliations . Due to their purpose (an explanation of credentials), curriculum vitae can easily exceed the 1-2 pages.
- Your document should reflect your professional experience and be presented in a clean, orderly fashion, consistent with resume/vitae practices.
- UMGC Career Services is an excellent resource to explore. There you will find useful tutorials and writing guides for resumes. You can also access resume building assistance via CareerQuest.
- wikiHow provides a brief summary of points for inclusion in a curriculum vitae.
- O*Net Online – A must see and explore! When constructing your resume/vitae careful, concise wording is critical to building a document that 1) captures your knowledge, skills, and abilities, and 2) uses language recognized by employers. An excellent resource for inspiration and for beefing up resumes is O*Net Online. O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work, designed for use by job seekers, HR professionals, students, researchers, and more! Here you can find detailed descriptions of jobs (requirements, duties performed, education requirements, future outlooks, and links to parallel work).
Document 4: Employment or Advanced Studies (Graduate School/Professional Certification)
Depending on your post-UMGC studies aspirations, choose either the Employment or the Advanced Studies option to complete. If you are planning to attend graduate school or continue your education in a professional certification program (e.g., nursing, physical therapy, social work) complete the Advanced Studies option. If you are currently employed and plan to remain at your job for now, select the document type that best expresses an option you may, or plan to, pursue in the future. (That is, yes, everyone must complete this document for the portfolio. )
The Employment Option: The Employment section, Document 4, will contain the following requirements, collected and presented in a single document.
Employment Option Document
1. Job Search
Present: 1) the results of a computerized job search that yielded at least three job possibilities and 2) a brief report that explains why each of these jobs are appropriate for you based on your immediate and long-term career and life goals as described in the first section of this portfolio.
2. Cover Letter
Compose a professional-appearing cover letter that can be modified for specific job applications. When writing address your knowledge, skills and abilities derived from your experiences and from your work in the Psychology program.
3. Letter of Recommendation Request Template
Develop and present a template, or model letter, that can be used to request letters of recommendation for an employment opportunity.
The Advanced Studies (Graduate School/Professional Certification) Option: The Advanced Studies section, Document 4, will contain the following requirements, collected and presented in a single document.
Graduate School Option Document
1. Advanced Studies Search
Present: 1) the results of a computerized graduate/certification program search that yielded at least three possible programs, and 2) a brief report that explains why each of these programs is appropriate for you based on your immediate and long-term career and life goals as described in the first section of this portfolio.
2. Professional Personal Statement for Applications
Most graduate school and advanced studies programs require submissions of an application. Many require “Personal Statement.” This is a narrative essay that combines self-reflection, details about past experiences (volunteer work, internships, etc.) and a clear expression of your goals and interests in the program of study. This is often achieved in 1-2 pages.
- Useful resources: A keyword search – “how to graduate school personal statement” should help you find a variety of resources (e.g., GoGrad) on how to write a strong personal statement
3. Letter of Recommendation Request Template
Develop and present a template, or model letter, that can be used to request letters of recommendation for your graduate or certification program.
The Career Review (updated) section will include the following:
Document 5: Revised Career Review Paper (5 points)
Portfolio Formatting (10 points): Follow the formatting requirements for each document type. Writing mechanics (spelling, grammar, citations, references and general APA style adherence) are scored. It is advised that Portfolio documents be submitted as five independent files, unless you have been told defiantly by your instructor. Clearly label each file, representing its designated content. If you have a strong wish to compile your Portfolio into a single document, communicate this preference and discuss with your instructor. Single, compiled documents take more time and attention to detail due to special formatting needed to retain the integrity of each document’s formatting requirement.
 CareerOneStop. “Why You Need a Great Resume.” Accessed May 17, 2020.
Columbia University Center for Career Education. “What is a Curriculum Vitae?” Accessed May 17, 2020.
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