College Students Building e-Portfolios (Apparently for Self-Awareness)

Posted February 25, 2014 by
Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

By Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

In another sign that job seekers and employers are disconnected from one another, the Wall Street Journal noted in the article Giant Resumes Fail to Impress that “more universities are pushing their graduates to complete e-portfolios: web based dossiers that showcase writing samples, class presentations and other evidence of skills…”

According to Educause, (a non-profit, that we guess does the due diligence on subjects like this) over half of US college students, many of them MBAs, are using the expanded resume approach up from 7% in 2010…and it is only expected to increase this year.

Eventually the article quoted a few employers like Marie Artim, TA VP from Enterprise Holdings who simply told the truth about the subject [paraphrasing]: we don’t see it much and if we did we wouldn’t use it.

It is clear that on the employer side e-portfolios are unlikely to fit the embedded ATS capabilities for an application nor were recruiters assigned to college candidates about to wade knee deep through individual digital drawers of candidate skills, knowledge and experience to assess their qualifications. At most, it would be a useful confirming read for a hiring manager having already made his/her final decision.

So what is the value of an e-portfolio? “We don’t draw a distinction between the portfolio as a learning process and the portfolio as an employment tool,” says one college career services professional who continued by stating “it’s the ‘self-awareness’ of the process that eventually helps their students gain employment.”

Well, perhaps more self-aware students are better interviewees but it seems to us that part of a career coach’s job in helping students become ‘self-aware’ would be to make a distinction about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to actually competing for a job.

– Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler work full time consulting, educating and discovering how talent and opportunity connect through emerging technology. They can be reached via email at, phone at 732-821-6652, or on-line at

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