The OTM Portfolio is an Episcopal national computer program designed primarily to facilitate potential matches between ordained or lay professionals and parishes or dioceses seeking new leadership. The OTM Portfolio replaced the CDO computer system in 2010. The OTM Portfolio is designed to provide more information in a more flexible format than the CDO system it replaces. The OTM Portfolio is a much longer and more comprehensive document than the CDO profile. Clergy should allot a few days to complete the entire document, including the five essay questions.
The basic components of the OTM computer program are two data bases, a jobs bulletin board, and a matching program. One data base consists of clergy or lay professional “Ministry Portfolios”, and includes basic resume information, short essays, searchable gifts and skills “keywords”, and references to colleagues and to other information found on the internet. The second database holds parish or diocesan “Community Ministry Portfolios,” which provide similar profiles of open positions. These openings are listed on a jobs bulletin board found in the “search community ministry portfolio” section. The matching program compares the gift and skills “keywords” from the clergy “Ministry Portfolios” with the gifts and skills “keywords” from the “Community Ministry Portfolios”. In theory, this matching program can help search committees identify a short list of potential candidates.
To access the OTM system, go to https://www.otmportfolio.org/user/login. You must register with the Office of Transition Ministry to receive a password. Once you have successfully registered on the OTM Portfolio, you will enter a page with the header “Ministry Portfolio”. Click on “Dashboard” at the top of the left side to go to your own account. Along the top in a red bar are language options, account management tools and your name. Links to other key pages run down the left hand side of the page. These key links are:
- dashboard This returns you to the first page.
- Update my Portfolio This is used for entering new information or changing information on your portfolio. When you click on this you will enter your “Basic Information” page. To enter new or revised information, click on the red “edit” button above your name.
- search community ministry portfolios This link will take you to the bulletin board for open positions. When you reach that page you will see numerous red links for searching the jobs data base. The most helpful link is near the bottom of the left hand column, under “Current Status” and is titled “Receiving Names”. This link will take you to a list of the most current openings. Once you reach those pages you can click on the red titles of individual openings and explore the information provided by the parish.
- See my saved searches This can be used to save a list of potentially interesting job openings for further thought and action.
- tips & guidelines This leads you to an introductory video.
- Request DTM support This will send an e-mail to your Diocesan Transition Ministry Officer.
- Report an issue This will send an e-mail to the national Office for Transition Ministry.
The following links are found on both clergypersons’ Ministry Portfolios and on open positions’ Community Ministry Portfolios. Clergy should complete as much of their data fields as possible. Information was automatically, and somewhat inaccurately, transferred from the old CDO computer to the new OTM system. Check to make sure that the data that was automatically entered is correct.
- Basic Information This page provides information about your ordination and canonical status, addresses and phone numbers, family information, and a brief personal ministry statement. The personal ministry statement should convey your purpose, passion and core values as a priest.
- Compensation & Housing This page provides information about your current compensation package and your desired compensation for a new position. The desired compensation number is used when matching clergy and open positions.
- Education This page lists both degrees and continuing education.
- Work History & Skills This page provides space for a reverse chronological resume. Under each position there are sections to list specific skills used and to make notes about the nature of the ministry. Fill out the “Primary Gifts/Skills Engaged Section” with four “keywords that describe your gifts and skills.” Use different keywords for each position. The key word search component compares your skills with a similar list on a community ministry portfolio.
- Early anecdotal reports about the keyword search matching function indicate the program is not working as well as desired. Clergy and search committees entered long phrases, which were hard to match. As a result, the OTM has been tweaking the instructions for the “Primary Gifts/Skills Engaged Section”. As of August, 2011 OTM requests, “We need to correct how Primary Gifts & Skills have been entered into the ‘Work History & Skills’ chapter. Please confirm that each of your position fields has no more than four gifts/skills made up of one or two words each (example: administration, asset management, preaching, pastoral care.) Strive to choose the word that identifies a gift or skill rather than an activity performed in the position. OTM will correct any remaining terms that are not in the proper format beginning September 6.”
- Availability & Position Preference This page describes the jobs you would consider by title (rector, dean, bishop, etc.), type (full time, part time, interim, etc.) and geographic location.
- Narrative This section asks eight open-questions. Clergy should answer all eight questions despite the instruction to answer just five. Each answer can be no more than two or three paragraphs long (1200 characters.) Use the questions you feel most passionate about to describe successes in your ministry. Tell stories. Avoid hypothetical responses.
- Connections This page can provide internet links to your current parish website, blog, social network (if appropriate) and online news reports or videos of your activities. A “” of your resume should be attached to this page.
- References This page provides contact information for references including bishops, other clergy, and lay colleagues. Any name placed on this list should know that they may be contacted any time out of the blue and that such contact does not necessarily mean that you are actively looking for a new position.
To add or edit information in any of the above categories, you need to click on Update my Portfolio. Use the ”Edit” feature above your name and be sure to click the “Save” button when you are done. After you have saved your edits, click on the “View” button above your name. To the right of your name on the “View” page is a button entitled “Download Summary Portfolio”. Click that button to create a “pdf” file of your portfolio. Check the “pdf” against your work on the OTM Portfolio site. Sometimes the “pdf” will cut a word or phrase off abruptly due to space constraints. As the “pdf” is the document sent to search committees, make sure to edit it thoroughly.
Is the OTM Portfolio any better than the CDO profile it replaces? Only time will tell. The system is too new to make a definitive judgment. On the plus side, the OTM can provide more information about job seekers and job openings. The community ministries portfolios list remains the most comprehensive listing of available positions in the church. The matching program is a work in progress. Whatever the ultimate verdict, for the time being, a well-crafted OTM Ministry Portfolio is an essential document for any clergy person seeking a new call.
The Discernment Doctor will revisit the role of the OTM Portfolio occasionally as we learn more about how the system actually works in the field. I welcome your comments, anecdotes and tips about how to make the OTM work well for all in the discernment process.