Portfolium Reinvents the Resumé, Rolls Out App for Job Seekers
San Diego-based Portfolium began as a solution to the problem that many students face as they near the end of their schooling and look to join the real-world workforce. How do you create a persuasive resumé or LinkedIn profile if you’ve been a full-time student and don’t have much professional work history?
Founding CEO Adam Markowitz created Portfolium as a Web-based social network that enables students to create a personal profile to showcase their academic skills, projects, experience, and community service for prospective employers.
Instead of putting bullet points on a Word document, Portfolium enables students to create multimedia accounts that can include recommendations, contact information, and be shared on LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media networks.
Users can upload their website with the work they are most proud of—such as an art project, engineering design, legal brief, video, or slideshow—and an update will be sent to companies with open positions in their field.
The startup was founded at the beginning of 2013, moved into the EvoNexus incubator in downtown San Diego in late 2013, raised $900,000 in seed capital from angel investors last summer, and signed a contract to provide student accounts for all nine campuses in the University of California system. In September, Portfolium reached a separate deal to provide a branded network for California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).
Like Facebook, students anywhere can create their own Portfolium accounts for free—and they can continue to use their accounts for free even after they graduate.
The startup generates revenue by partnering directly with colleges and universities to provide information about their respective cohorts of students as they graduate and enter the workforce. Under these contracts, Portfolium provides a branded network that is integrated with the registrar’s office at each school so student records can be verified. In this way, colleges and universities get valuable data on student outcomes, which is becoming increasingly important as in marketing to prospective students and their cost-conscious families.
Seeing the possibilities, LinkedIn created its own proprietary service in 2013, called University Pages, to help students build their own academic networks and launch successful careers. In announcing the service, LinkedIn noted that “hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world.”
Analytics startups like Boston’s EverTrue and London-based Graduway are also targeting the higher ed market to help colleges and universities build more effective (and philanthropic) alumni networks by scanning their graduates’ LinkedIn profiles and social networking activities to identify prospective donors.
“Our goal is to sign up more colleges and universities,” Markowitz says, and Portfolium expects to deliver more news on that front in the near future. At the same time, he also notes, “From day one, students have been asking, ‘Where is the iPhone app?’”
Portfolium can answer that question now by pointing to its just-introduced mobile app, which is available for free at the iTunes App store.
The company says its mobile app makes it “as easy as a hashtag” to land a job after graduation, by enabling students to hashtag the names of companies where they might like to work. A student who uses the Portfolium app to hashtag Google and Facebook, for example, ensures that those companies would get notified whenever the student’s portfolium profile is updated.
“In a sense, you’re showing up on their radar with each entry a student adds to their profile,” Markowitz says. As the company puts it in a recent announcement, “Companies such as SpaceX, Qualcomm, Boeing, and other top-of-the-line corporations are using Portfolium to seek their next generation of trailbralzers.”
Portfolium says its users’ profiles also can help companies vet job applications by providing a deeper and more encompassing view of a student’s passions, abilities, and potential—including whether a job applicant would be an appropriate fit in terms of corporate culture.
The startup now has five full-time employees, but Markowitz declined to disclose exactly how many colleges and universities are paying for Portfolium, or how many users have created accounts. But, he says, the number of users is now “almost six figures.”
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