Although the struggle was different in their day, our parents had it easy in the job hunt. I bet at least one adult has told you that age-old saying: “hit the pavement and ask for a job”. They will tell tales of walking from store to store, paper resume in hand, talking to manager after manager until something came up.
Things are much different now, aren’t they? With technology, most managers will hardly speak to you, and if they do, they’ll say those three magic little words: it’s all online. It’s even worse for career jobs (so you can at least have a chance at paying all your bills and being financially independent). You’ll fly off your resume into a thousand online applications, where you attach not only your resume, but a separate application all together filling out exactly what your resume says, somehow making it the most time-consuming process ever.
There is, however, a way for technology to help us. Because there are so many ways to connect to people and stand out from competition, it’s vital now that college grads take great care in how they display themselves to the world. That’s what the ePortfolio does. The program UNT uses (called Foliotek) creates a place where you can build your own interactive resume. It helps track everything you do in college: the volunteering, the group projects, the internships, the part time jobs: anything you’ve produced in your time here.
Let me explain. A resume tells people what you do. Line by line, it shows work experience, education and skills, right? An ePortfolio goes much deeper: it’s a resume cranked up a notch! You can have everything you love about your online identity through social media, but a professional, practical, and polished example of who you are for future employers. Social media can’t do that. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin all give you profiles and connect you to people (an important networking must), but they don’t let you show off what you can do, and sometimes don’t even show ourselves in a good light.
But it goes even one step further than that. More than just sharing a link with future employers, students at UNT have used the ePortfolio to apply for jobs all over the country and the world. They’ve used it to reflect on their experiences in college to figure out what they want to do. They’ve even opened it up to help them write resumes and LinkedIn profiles when they are trying to remember as a senior what they did three or four years ago!
It comes down to this: the ePortfolio is how you collect your experiences in college and tell your unique story after college. So, go out there, try new things, work hard and school, and make sure you write it all down. You never know when you’ll need to remember, savor, or use those experiences for your next step in life.