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When it comes to job searching and post-grad interviews, it’s easy to get swallowed up in the sea of GPAs, test scores and run-of-the-mill resumes of undergraduate students that are all trying to prove how great they are.
Cal Poly has just partnered with a company called Portfolium in order to help give students an edge in landing jobs. On April 22, all students will receive a link to their Portfolium page.
“Portfolium is an academic e-portfolio network for students to showcase all their work, projects, activities and experiences directly to employers in a very active and visual way,” Portfolium CEO and founder Adam Markowitz said.
So instead of showing up to an interview with yet another resume saying, “I’m awesome,” Porfolium allows employers to really see how awesome students are, he said.
Employers spend a lot of time and money looking into resumes and backgrounds and finding evidence of what they claim. And that’s why thousands of employers are now looking at students’ work on Portfolium, Markowitz said.
“It helps them create a repository and evidence of learning; it also helps potential employers see actual work that they’ve done, and in the process I think it helps students recognize the value of work that they’ve done,” Assistant Director of Career Services Charlotte Rinaldi said.
Portfolium is a free site, meaning students already had access to it prior to the partnership with Cal Poly. However, the Cal Poly network offers benefits such as intergroup communication, teamwork and work that can be linked between portfolios and the network, Rinaldi said.
After accessing Portfolium, students will be able to enter basic degree information, upload a resume (or build one), enter coursework, classes and descriptions from the catalog, community service, class projects, lab work and team projects, Rinaldi said.
“It looks like social media, so it’s super intuitive. It links into your LinkdIn account, Facebook, Twitter, wherever you want to go. And you can load in anything — Vimeo, YouTube, PDF, Prezi, PowerPoint, anything you think of you can put on it,” she said.
Students were hired during the past summer to test two different platforms and give a student perspective on what would be the best fit for Cal Poly.
Biomedical engineering junior Maddy Ramos was one of the students who demoed the platform. She was pleased with the university’s choice in Portfolium, she said.
Ramos liked that it had a “social media” type platform and that it had a user-friendly interface, she said.
“It’s very similar to LinkedIn in the user interface where you’re interacting with other people,” she said. “So other people can view your postings and they can like them and comment on them, and it shows you how many people have seen them.”
Porfolium is also responsive to all tablets and phones, so it’s easy to bring to interviews, info sessions, career fairs or networking sessions. You can also print it or send out a link to our whole portfolio or specific portions of it, Rinaldi said.
“But having an actual network where you can showcase this work, get eyeballs and views and on your work and experiences — that’s the real power of Portfolium because it opens doors to opportunity, collaboration with other students either at your own school or other schools or even across majors; that’s why Portfolium really is powerful,” Markowitz said.
He founded Portfolium because his own experience of making the transition from college to career. He saw how many things besides GPA and test scores factored into employers’ decisions, he said.
He used a portfolio in his job interviews after he graduated in 2008, which was a difficult time, seeing as it was the economic recession. His portfolio helped him land his “dream job” for NASA’s space shuttle program, Markowitz said.
Thousands of students use Portfolium, which is represented at more than 1,500 universities. According to Rinaldi, Cal Poly will be launching it in the fall with faculty as well.
“We’re hoping that they use it as a way of collecting students’ work, displaying student work, allowing students to see each others’ products and even commenting on students work online so that potential employers can see work that students have done that and have been recognized by faculty,” Rinaldi said.
Alumni Programs is also launching Portfolium to all registered alumni, which will serve as an even better networking system for Cal Poly students, she said.
According to Rinaldi, the two things that employers tell Career Services they are looking for is someone who is passionate about the company and the ability to show evidence that they can do the work required by the job, she said.
“That’s something we hear a lot in college. You need to network, you need to meet people because when you get a job it’s more about who you know than what you know,” Ramos said. “The more that you can get yourself out there, the more opportunities you’re going to have and the better chances of getting that dream job.”
Career Services will be holding a Portfolium workshop on May 14. They will also be holding a contest for the best Cal Poly portfolios due on May 20, which one of the prizes is an iPad mini, Rinaldi said.
“Portfolium is all about proving oneself. And that includes proving skills, projects, experiences — you name it,” Markowitz said. “Cal Poly students really do amazing things, and Porfolium is really where they can prove it.”