Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Resumes Get a Technology Makeover ; 'Digital Portfolios' Emerge on the Web, but Are Employers Impressed?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Resumes Get a Technology Makeover ; 'Digital Portfolios' Emerge on the Web, but Are Employers Impressed?

Article excerpt

Job hunters know the uneasy feeling that often follows sending out a resume. Time passes with no response, leaving them to wonder if the company even received the resume, let alone looked at it.

Fred Donovan is well acquainted with resume anxieties from his decade-long career as a software engineer. For the past four years, he's worked as a consultant based in Nebraska, bouncing from project to project, constantly reapplying for work. Recently he began to feel constrained by the traditional resume. "There's no personality to it, just skills," he says. "Everybody has skills, so you really don't differentiate yourself."

To stand out, Mr. Donovan created a "digital portfolio," a cross between a resume and a personal Web page. Most digital portfolios open with a home page, complete with professional objective, a brief summary of qualifications, and anything else a candidate wants to display initially. From there, employers can navigate the portfolio via menus to see a candidate's experience, education, work samples, letters of recommendation, and even streaming video of the candidate on the job.

While not radically different from a traditional paper resume, a digital portfolio is potentially more eye-catching and allows for more personal information. A growing number of job seekers are turning to new technologies to spice up their resumes. Still, questions remain whether most human resources departments will welcome such a change.

One of the most receptive audiences to this new resume format has been the technology industry.

"The better candidates in many areas will have a digital portfolio. Our engineers do that as well as our creative staff," says Jill Kulick, vice president of human resources at CafePress.com, an online custom-printing merchant in Foster City, Calif. Graphic designers use digital portfolios to give prospective employers a taste of their style. Engineers include patented designs or examples of previous projects.

Some job seekers who want help have turned to Protueo, a start- up company in San Francisco that has helped nearly 500 job seekers build digital portfolios. By providing customizable templates, the company saves users from having to build their own Web page for their portfolio. Protueo is also helping employers fill positions by allowing them to search its applicant database as well as create digital portfolios for their organizations.

In addition, the company has created a personality survey that employers can ask applicants to take. Questions gauge whether an applicant prefers group or individual work, flexible or structured tasks, a high- or low-stress workplace, etc. While the survey helps employers determine whether an applicant might be worth hiring, candidates can also access the results. They might learn, for example, that they were only 60 percent as "innovative" as the company wanted, while they were 120 percent as "goal oriented" as required. (Such a candidate might try to improve his or her innovative qualities or look for a company that values goal- oriented workers.)

"It's eHarmony meets Monster," says Jennifer Gerlach, vice president for Protueo, referring to popular Internet dating and job- finding sites. …

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