Get Off the Short List and Land that Job

Get Off the Short List and Land that Job

What story does your résumé tell?

There is a lot of advice out there about writing a résumé. It’s a topic that everybody seems to have an opinion about. In fact, if you search “rules for writing an effective résumé,” you’ll receive over 46 million results, most of them claiming that by following their strategy, you will almost certainly get hired.

For instance, Expert #1 will tell you that you have to have an Objective Statement if you want to knock the socks off of prospective employers, but Expert #2 says it’s an outdated concept and will only take up precious space. Expert #3 thinks you should replace your Objective with a Summary Statement, and Expert #4 thinks all of this is codswallop and you don’t need either.

Thankfully, there were some rules that the experts could agree on; a seemingly standardized set of tips and tricks meant to elevate your résumé to the coveted status of “hire-able”:

  1. Tweak your formatting to make it easy to skim.
  2. Use powerful words such as Organized, Developed, Communicated, Resolved, Managed, etc…
  3. Customize your résumé to the job you’re applying to.
  4. Keep it to one page.

Are you bored yet? I certainly am.



When you face the facts, résumés are boring. Nobody likes reading them, to the point where most recruiters only spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual résumé. They’re two-dimensional collections of facts; one-page documents that are meant to communicate the story of your professional experience via bulleted lists, strategic header placement, and the selective use of boldface type.

No matter how extraordinary you are, this is an incredibly dull means of telling a story.

A recruiter or a hiring manager isn’t reading your résumé to see if you’re qualified for the job, they’re scanning it for anything that’ll take you out of the running. Your résumé is there to disqualify you.


Résumés simply aren’t built to tell your full story. Unfortunately, ever since Leonardo Da Vinci crafted the first résumé 1482, it has become the primary document used in acquiring employment, because it’s a perfect tool for thinning the herd. A recruiter or a hiring manager isn’t reading your résumé to see if you’re qualified for the job, they’re scanning it for anything that’ll take you out of the running. Your résumé is there to disqualify you. This is why so much résumé-writing advice focuses on seemingly trivial aspects like font choice, formatting tweaks, and use of industry jargon, because these are the details that will send your résumé either to the trash, or to the hands of a decision-maker.

You need a résumé to get your foot in the door, but once you’ve made it to the short list and your shoe is firmly wedged in there, you’re still faced with the problem of differentiating yourself from the other candidates. While your résumé didn’t disqualify you, it’s probably not dissimilar from your competition’s, and if you all read the same advice, then that hiring manager is probably swimming in industry jargon and boldface type. What hiring managers really want is just an easy way to determine who will be the best fit for the position, so make their lives easier: give them actual evidence of what you can do by supplementing your résumé with a digital portfolio.


Check out the Pathbrite Gallery of Example Portfolios!



Digital portfolios provide a space where individuals can curate the narrative of their experience for a specific audience. Rather than be limited to the one-page, flat format, individuals can tell the story they want their audience to hear using multimedia artifacts from all areas of their life and actual examples of their professional work: Writers can add links to their blog and past publications; Chefs can display images of their food and recipes they’ve created; Makers can illuminate all stages of a project from inception to completion.

Your résumé may check the box, but your portfolio will tell the story you want them to hear.

Instead of depending on carefully articulated résumé jargon to get their message across, the digital format allows candidates to present proof of their skills and accomplishments using various forms of evidence. This can be especially helpful when candidates have limited work experience, such as somebody attempting to change careers or an individual who recently graduated from school, because they are able to clearly demonstrate practical and transferable skills that might not stand out on their résumé otherwise. Additionally, a digital portfolio does a much better job of revealing your personality than a résumé, so prospective employers who view your portfolio can get a picture of your values and passions, enabling them to better determine if you’d be a good fit for their company culture.

Supplementing your resume with a digital portfolio is the easiest, most effective way to not only check all the required boxes in your job search, but to also differentiate yourself and stand out. Don’t depend on résumé buzzwords and formatting tricks to get the attention of prospective employers. Your résumé may check the box, but your portfolio will tell the story you want them to hear.


Getting started with Pathbrite is easy and free. 

Article reposted from Medium

"Will This Be on the Test?": A Post-Grad Reflection on Assessment

"Will This Be on the Test?": A Post-Grad Reflection on Assessment

I'm sitting at my desk glancing through the offerings on the Kahn Academy homepage. I come upon the Science section, and pause at “Physics.”



I never took Physics in school, because at some point I had decided I was bad at math, and math skills were integral to doing well in Physics. So I didn’t take Physics. Instead, I took Marine Biology because I was pretty sure I could get an easy A. It was my Senior year of high school, and I wanted to get into a good college; I wasn’t about to ruin my GPA just so I could learn the fundamental laws of the Universe.

Only now, I wish I had.

Looking back on it now, I realize that at some point in my academic career, the quantified assessment of our learning became more important than the quality of the process by which we learned, and it was at this point that I learned to fear failure.



I graduated from college two years ago, and in most of the classes I took throughout my nearly twenty years in school, the multiple-choice test was the main form of assessment. Some teachers would include a short answer or essay section where we could explain our answers, but by and large the scantron test reigned supreme as the determining factor in your final grade.

As I reflect on this from the perspective of somebody who’s only recently finished school, I immediately see three problems:

  1. When test results are your main metrics for success, it encourages students to learn only what they need to learn to do well on the test. It’s human nature to seek out the path of least resistance, so if I know that I don’t need to read the entire book to get an A on my English test, what’s the point of reading it? I’m not rewarded for the process by which I learn; I’m rewarded for the score I receive.
  2. This kind of assessment bears no resemblance, in any way, to how individuals are evaluated in the real world. In your professional life, you’re evaluated based on the quality of work you’re able to produce. Rarely do you have only one chance for success (look at the start-up community), and rarely is there ever just one solution to a problem (search “to-do list” in the app store, you’ll see what I mean).
  3. These tests don’t even encourage the development of useful, real-world skills. The skills I developed to succeed on these tests were: 1) how to cram a lot of information into my head in a short period of time, and, 2) how to regurgitate that information on paper the following day.



Look at the skills requested by employers for entry-level job openings; other than industry-specific skills, you’ll see phrases like, “critical thinking”, “problem-solving”, and “ability to work well with others.” I have never seen a posting for a job that listed anywhere in its description the need for “somebody who can cram and regurgitate.”

So as I think back, I try to figure out where it is I learned the general skills that employers value, and I consistently find that some of my best learning opportunities weren’t in the classroom:

  1. Teamwork was part of survival; like most kids, I learned social skills by making friends on the playground, and playing sports in P.E. and outside of school taught me how to be an effective member of a team (or face the disappointment of my peers).
  2. Problem-solving skills were necessary while playing on the computer at home. As a kid I had to teach myself not only how to use different programs (so I could play personal IT to my Boomer parents), but also how to get around barriers like parental controls so I could access the Internet. How else was I going to find all the answers my parents didn’t know (or wouldn’t tell me)?
  3. Thinking critically was a skill I developed, in part, through my morbid obsession with murder mysteries. I devoured mystery novels like candy and consumed hours upon hours of crime shows and detective movies (much to my mother’s chagrin). It became a game for me to analyze the clues and the character’s behavior, so I could figure out who the killer was before the main character did (take that, Sherlock).



My goal here is not to vehemently denounce the institution of education or rail against teachers (you are heroes), but rather to point out that despite noble intentions and ambitious objectives, something in our system clearly isn’t working. Thankfully, the opportunity to make some necessary changes is upon us.

In July, Congress passed two versions of a reauthorization bill for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ending the era of “No Child Left Untested” and paving the way to potentially reshape our country’s educational policy. While the bill makes it clear that the use of standardized testing is still necessary, it opens up the opportunity for states to use other methods of assessment in their accountability systems, including evidence-based assessments such as digital portfolios.

Holistic, evidence-based assessments take the emphasis off the score and place it where it should be: on the learning process itself. Not only that, assessment methods such as digital portfolios provide an authentic evaluation of the student’s progress by showing what they’ve actually done, rather than attempt to quantify it with an arbitrary score. The inherently reflective process of submitting work to a portfolio also allows the student to take ownership of their learning; their progress is literally laid out in front of them, and they can see for themselves where their strengths lie and where they may need to put in more work. Using this type of holistic assessment would empower students and allow them to fully engage with the curriculum rather than learn only what they need to do well on a test.

Education shouldn’t be seen as a process of depositing information into passive minds so they can quantifiably perform. Education should be transformational; it should engage and inspire. If we want to compete with the world in STEM fields, we need to create a generation of lifelong learners who seek out new experiences and opportunities for innovation. We need to ignite the spark of curiosity and bring back the joy in discovery, and encourage kids to learn the fundamental laws of the universe, even the subject is confusing and the work is hard and failure happens. Because failure is the greatest teacher you’ll ever have. Once you give yourself permission to fail, then there’s nothing left to stop you.



Reposted from Medium

Why You Should Apply to that Post-Grad Internship

Why You Should Apply to that Post-Grad Internship

It's a common frustration for recent grads just entering the job search: you sit down, ready to apply for all the jobs you can find that even relate to your degree, only to find that most, if not all, require experience in the industry. 

There is a higher expectation of entry level work now than there used to be. Think about it from the organization's perspective: they want to hire candidates who already have professional experience because they'll be better employees. Considering the size of the applicant pool you're competing against, gaining experience in your field is one of the most strategic moves you can make right now. 



And you know what position you can land without experience, that will give you that professional experience you need?

An internship. 

If you didn't do much interning as an undergrad, you may think all internships are like this: 



But you'll be happy to learn most aren't like that, and can actually provide some amazing opportunities if you find the right program. In fact, U.S. News recently posted a great article detailing the benefits of getting a post-grad internship and made some rather compelling points. 

Essentially, you should probably apply for that internship if...

"Your job search is going nowhere"

Once you've graduated, you're on the clock. The more time you allow to pass without adding something to your resume, the less impressive you appear to prospective employers. If nobody is responding to your applications or calling you back after the interview, it's time to check out internship postings. It may not be your ideal position, but the experience will almost certainly contribute to your professional development and improve your skills. (It also proves you haven't just been sitting on the couch feeling sorry for yourself).

If the only internships available are unpaid, take a part-time job on the side so you can pay the bills (and don't work more than 20 hours/week max at your internship). You may even find your gain just as many skills from working a part-time job as you do from your internship! 

"You find an internship program specifically for college graduates"

Believe it or not, there are some companies out there with internship programs specifically designed for recent college graduates: "Lauren Berger, CEO of, notes [on her website] that Disney and the NCAA have renowned postgraduate internships. And in some programs, the interns receive comparable salary and benefits as entry-level employees."

There are clear benefits to going through one of these programs, such as real professional development, great networking opportunities, and the chance to work for some of the top companies in the country. Additionally, an internship position in a program such as these could take you further in the company than you might think...

"The internship could lead to a job"

Sometimes timing is everything. Companies you apply to won't always be hiring for the position you want, so even if you're qualified you may still be out of luck. If you have a "dream company" that you'd love to work for (or even a list of dream companies), check out their internship program.

As we discussed above, many of the top companies have great internship programs, and a lot of companies also like to hire interns when regular positions open up. In fact, "A whopping 80 percent of the 264 employers who responded to NACE's 2014 Internship and Co-op Survey aid the main objective of hiring interns is for recruitment purposes. That year, the conversion rate of interns to full-time employees within those companies was 55 percent." Even if a company doesn't have a formal internship program, it never hurts to reach out and show them you're interested (and willing to work for free).




After you land that internship, keep track of your projects and document them in a digital portfolio. It's a more compelling way to show off the skills you learned and the knowledge you gained than just listing them on your resume, and you can easily send it to prospective employers in your cover letter or share it with your network over social media. 




Read the full U.S. News article here

This is Not a Drill

This is Not a Drill

How’s your summer been?

Hopefully you’ve been living the easy life: taking trips to the beach, grilling everything, and maybe even attending a music festival or two. Maybe you even had the opportunity to travel somewhere and explore somewhere new, or maybe you just went to your cousin’s wedding in another state (still counts). Or maybe you actually spent your summer working, because reality happened (you’re awesome, keep going).

Regardless of how you spent your summer, I really hope you enjoyed your time. Because summer is over, winter is coming, and this is not a drill

It’s time to get started on that post-grad job search.


Prepare Yourself for Greatness



  • If you don’t have a resume, write one. It may seem daunting, but there are a lot of helpful resources out there and it’s possible to craft an effective resume even if you have limited or no work experience. Once you’ve crafted your resume, then...
  • Create a digital portfolio and upload your resume and evidence of your skills and knowledge, especially if you have limited work experience. Digital portfolios allow you to present actual proof of your skills with multimedia in an attractive, compelling format, so you can intrigue employers with your experiences. 
  • Clean up your social media accounts. Just do it. Then link those accounts to your portfolio and resume so you can leverage those accounts for networking possibilities.


Network like a Boss



  • Networking is intimidating, but there are strategies to make it easier. Reach out to known contacts first such as family members, peers who already graduated, old professors, and family friends. You never know who knows who or what connections could be made if you don’t ask.
  • Don’t limit yourself to your comfort zone or you may miss out on amazing opportunities. Use your social media skills to reach out to influencers in the industry; comment on blogs and join conversations on Twitter; go to a networking event. You may be shocked to know that a lot of professionals are often quite willing to help you if they can; these people know the value of paying it forward and almost certainly got to where they are now thanks in part to networking.
  • Share your digital portfolio on your social media, email it to your network, and don’t be shy about pulling it up on your phone or tablet at an informational interview or networking event. Show your network what you can really do, and they’ll be able to better recommend you for opportunities.  


Apply like a Champion



  • Do your best to avoid job boards if you can. If you’ve done your networking appropriately, this shouldn’t be too difficult. If you must rely on job boards, try to get industry or region-specific.
  • Take the time to tailor your resume to different job postings by including their verb phrases, skill terms, and industry jargon so you have a better chance of beating the robots and getting your resume into human hands. Yes, this means you may have to create multiple versions of your resume and edit it over and over. Yes, this is more work. This is not the time to be lazy, if you don’t want to do work, you obviously don’t want a job.
  • When you send out your resumes and cover letters, include a link to your digital portfolio so employers can see the evidence of your skills and strengths. Your portfolio can demonstrate marketable skills that might not stand out on your resume, and it could help align you with the company’s culture.



The last piece of advice I’ll give you in this article is this:

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Job hunting is a formidable process, and you will probably face a lot of uncomfortable moments. Your phone calls and emails might receive no response. People may tell you that you lack the skills or knowledge necessary for the position you want. You may even find yourself in a “stress interview” where the hiring manager is actually trying to get under your skin.

Yes, you’ll be uncomfortable a lot, and you may find 10,000 ways that don’t work before you find the one that does. That, my friends, is called success.



Getting started with Pathbrite is easy and free. Show what you know and get hired. 

Investment in affordable education a key election issue in 2016

Investment in affordable education a key election issue in 2016

Investments in education must include investments in learning technologies that stay with students for life and maintain their relevance over a lifetime.
— Heather Hiles


It’s been a minute since we’ve seen politicians face the funding crisis in education. The escalating costs of tuition and fees, coupled with declines in state spending has sent millions of students and graduates back home with their parents, straddled with insurmountable debt. As if the competition for jobs weren’t enough of a stressor, the lack of affordable college education has become a national crisis with bipartisan support for fixing.

While the Presidential candidates struggle to find the right solutions, spending on education is picking up at the state level, and that’s a great thing. However, money alone is not going to build the economy and set students up for success. We need education spending focused on deep learning and retention, on walking across stages and graduating with evidence of their knowledge.

Investments in education must include investments in learning technologies that stay with students for life and maintain their relevance over a lifetime.



Recently, Insider HigherEd reported that states are spending $4 billion in new funding for education, on top of the $90 billion they currently spend. This is great news as lawmakers take on the work that’s been stymied at the federal level. Within the higher education sector, states are working hard to make community college free, and to keep fees and tuition at four-year institutions affordable. Finally, we are beginning to see freezes in state tuition levels.

As we watch the Presidential debates over education, we need to be listening for talk of learning. New funding often gets earmarked to capital projects, deferred building maintenance, and increasing the number of administrators. We hear so little about learning, and so much about spending.

I’ve spent the better part of my career working on learning solutions, learning innovation, and now, learning technology. If we make these public investments in K-12 through to higher education, it’s imperative we focus on learning. We need to give students real-world skills: critical thinking, project-based learning in humanities, arts and sciences, communication skills, and the ability to negotiate successfully in a diverse, global workforce.



My objective is to double-down on making lifelong learning a priority as I watch this presidential election unfold. I urge everyone; educators, employers and people at various stages of their career development to keep our politicians on task. What we need in this renewed commitment to education is investment in learning technologies that allow for deep and thorough evidence-gathering and showcasing.

We need to know these investments are paying off, and we will when people are better able to communicate what they know, and match their knowledge with opportunity.

Closing the Recruitment/Hiring Gap: We Need a Bridge

Closing the Recruitment/Hiring Gap: We Need a Bridge


Houston, we have a problem.

Recent grads and prospective employers don’t understand how to communicate with each other. We need new options.


Technology is not a replacement for human contact, nor should we aim to make it a mediator of all human connections.
— Heather Hiles

The latest study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) on student’s perception of recruitment is telling. For Millennials (read: recent adults), the intrusion of recruiting apps and messages on social media is a real put off, with the exception of contact through LinkedIn.


Because you can’t walk into someone’s intimate, personal space, and start talking business. Online communication, especially social media, is a private affair.

According to the report, students can’t differentiate through all the online clutter about companies online either, and they want a deeper, more intimate engagement with prospective employers, not just online contact.

But according to NACE, employers are looking for talent online, especially through social media, and are increasingly investing in sophisticated digital recruitment applications. With everyone working at odds, we’ve got a real gap in “findability” (the ability to find and be found).

What we need is a three-dimensional resume or portfolio at the crossroads.




Job seekers:

Your job is to make yourself known. You are not going to get a lot of one to one intimate employer romancing in today’s economy. But, you can be so much more than just another online applicant. Why not make a trackable resume where prospective employers can find more evidence of your skills and accomplishments and you can see what they interested in you? You can.

Translating your skills and experience into more than text on a paper is crucial in today’s competitive workforce. When you use an online portfolio, you’re able to see what viewers look at, and where they spend their time. You don’t need a supercharged website or any special programming skills to make a portfolio that’s super meaningful.




Hiring managers:

Instead of spending valuable resources on customized software and digital recruitment applications that job seekers avoid like the plague, why not spend a few minutes looking through digital portfolios that show you precisely who a job seeker is, what they’re all about, and how talented they are? I know from our experience at Pathbrite, that hiring managers are frustrated by all the generic, fluffy resumes that tell them almost nothing about the candidate in question.


Technology is not a replacement for human contact, nor should we aim to make it a mediator of all human connections. When it comes to networking for work or clients, I think of a portfolio as a way of revealing my authentic self. My professional portfolio makes more of my leadership, skills, and knowledge accessible to people interested in working with me.

I also like that when people look at my portfolio, I can see which artifacts are more compelling than others. I’m always amazed at how many people have looked at my family photos -- something I never thought would be very interesting to others.


But as I speak at conferences and events around the world, people almost always comment on the little things I’ve added that say so much more about me than a resume ever could. How can I put a picture of myself doing volunteer work or traveling abroad on my two-dimensional, text-only resume, in a way that truly captures the spirit of who I am as a person? In my portfolio, these touches of my humanity (often called “soft skills”) are interwoven with my hard skills like my M.B.A. and my past job titles. I am known more fully as a person and contributor through my portfolio.

Finding each other is important. It’s time we bridge some gaps. It’s time we find better alignment between people. It’s time to increase our connectivity in job searches and job placements. Let’s meet at the digital portfolio.


Three Benefits of Paid Summer Jobs (Besides Getting Paid)

Three Benefits of Paid Summer Jobs (Besides Getting Paid)

Summer jobs are not the ubiquitous experience they once were, but plenty of students still spend their summers waiting tables, supervising kids at camps, or even mowing lawns around their neighborhood. Career counselors and parents may feel that students and young people shouldn’t take on these “mindless” summer jobs, rather they should be pursuing internships and other resume-building opportunities in their chosen industry--even if these opportunities are unpaid.

The reality is, a lot of students out there can’t afford unpaid internships. For these students, getting a summer job is a necessity, not just a way for them to score beer money, and it’s a necessity that many feel may set them back in pursuing their choice career.




The benefits of a “real” summer job are numerous and may even outweigh what you’d garner from an unpaid internship:



You'll learn real business skills.

Working at any job, no matter how mindless, sets a level of expectation for the employee. You’re expected to show up on time, finish your work, and maintain a certain standard of behavior. You’ll learn how to talk to customers to figure out their needs and address them, and you’ll learn what it means to be a part of a company’s bottom line.





You’ll gain networking opportunities.

Your boss, managers, and coworkers are interacting with you on a professional level rather than a personal one, so these are often the perfect people to list as references when you apply for the job you really want. Use this as an opportunity to start building a professional network of people who think you’re great and want to see you succeed. It will be invaluable down the line.




You'll hone universal professional qualities. 

The qualities employers most want from their employees aren’t industry-focused, they’re universal business skills. Take a second look at your summer job: situations such as irate customers, technical difficulties, and spontaneous emergencies force you to respond and react to challenges and pressure that you probably won’t face in a cushy internship. These are real-world challenges that businesses face every day, and the way you handle them will teach you crucial lessons about problem solving, teamwork, and even the enigmatic (and arbitrary) quality every employer seeks but rarely seems to find: critical thinking



They key to leveraging an experience like a seemingly irrelevant summer job is all about how you frame it. Listing your job on your resume is the old way, but a better way would be to record your experiences and elaborate on them in a digital portfolio. This format allows you to tell your story using whatever media you prefer or have access to, and it allows you to frame your narrative in the most compelling way possible. Rather than a bulleted list of responsibilities, each item in your portfolio could be a lesson you learned on the job, a personal quality you honed throughout your employment, or even the type of customer you encountered.

Using a digital portfolio platform such as Pathbrite allows you to be creative and control how you position yourself; you can show evidence and demonstrate all of the qualities you want them to see, rather than depending on employers to read between the lines of your resume.

So the story they hear is the story you WANT them to hear.


Take that, unpaid internships.

Confidence Building: Focus on Actual Achievements

Confidence Building: Focus on Actual Achievements


I've seen a lot of "fluffy" resumes in my years as a manager. Most of this stems from people who have yet to enter or have been out of the workforce for some time. They say things like, “I have nothing to put on my resume,” or “I don’t know what to put on a LinkedIn profile,” even though they have been using their time and energy in all kinds of ways that could be meaningfully translated to employers.



Many people just don’t know how to translate their skills into the kind of “proof” that hiring managers recognize. A lot of people are doing a lot of things -- on campus and off, but they struggle to make it meaningful on a resume.


In a competitive job market, people use every buzzword possible to make sure their resume makes it through the digital software programs that filter out people who don’t appear to have the requisite skills or experience.

Erin Greenwald wrote a great post about the “10 Words Recruiters Hate Seeing on Your Resume (and 10 they love),” and I laughed out loud at how many times at how I too have seen “results-driven,” and “team player” on a resume and found it pretty meaningless.




I think the most powerful way you can build your confidence on the job market is to make your achievements visible. We all respond to facts, to proof, and to evidence. Showing the evidence of what you know builds confidence and allows you to demonstrate what you’re really capable of contributing to an organization. It’s how you separate your authentic knowledge and experience from the meaningless jargon.


My best advice to job-seekers, new and experienced, is to use portfolios to showcase your best work. It’s one of the most effective ways you can break through the resume-jargon, and put your work where your mouth is.



You say you are an excellent writer?


Drop in a writing sample for me to quickly read. (Hint: your best class paper)


Are you really an effective communicator?


Put a one or two minute clip of you giving a talk in your portfolio so I can see it for myself. (Hint: a class presentation)


Know how to write a marketing plan?


How about showing me a few sample pages that reflect one you’ve written. (Hint: be sure to redact information you shouldn’t share from your previous employer. That let’s me know you’ve got integrity and can keep confidential information private).



Recently, a colleague told me that in the “old days” before we had beautiful ePortfolios to showcase our work. She always did research on the company before an interview, and would customize a short full-color, paper-based portfolio based on the job description. Her paper portfolio had evidence of her previous work experience, which she would walk through with a hiring manager. She always left an interview feeling confident that even if she didn’t get the job, she had shown off her very best skills. In her fifteen-year career in marketing, she was always offered a job after an interview using that strategy.

The world has changed a lot since the old days of paper resumes and portfolios.

That same friend, if she were a new entrant to the job market in today’s world, said she would do so many more things with a beautiful digital portfolio. She would include:



  • Videos, flyers and press releases about a protest or event she helped organize on campus or in the community.
  • Letters of recommendation that have been written for her for various awards, scholarships, and applications.
  • Photos of herself working an after school job
  • Photos of herself working in a team to build solar panels, or designing and executing a class project.
  • Code for a computer game she made.




  • Videos of her running and swimming with her dog, and her volunteer work at the SPCA;
  • A video of herself leading a student interest group.
  • A secure copy of her transcript, along with a note about how she earned an A+ in a really hard class, Microeconomics, a class that she thought she'd barely pass;
  • Photos and video of her travel to another country, and her passion, appreciation and respect for other cultures;




All of these rich experiences communicate passion, grit, empathy, hard work, an ability to work in diverse environments, and a host of skills and attributes that employers are looking for -- even when you don’t have years of work experience.

But one key to building her confidence on the job market includes giving herself credit for all she has done. She can get an incredible boost of confidence from reading her recommendations, seeing evidence of her work, and recognizing for herself how valuable she is to her community.

We could all benefit from these kinds of boosts. We need reminders of our greatness, and we need to see where the gaps are so we can improve ourselves, our experience, and our impact in simple but meaningful ways.

All of this equally applies to people who have been out of the paid workforce, but have been working on projects, volunteering in their communities, or are caring full time for others. You too can translate your organizational skills, time management, and attention to detail in creative ways.

Every day, week, and month we have new wins in life. I cannot stress enough how critical it is to save your best work, projects, and volunteerism in a portfolio you can easily link to from your resume.

I promise you, when you begin to see the evidence of your amazing skills and experience, you will have the confidence you need to apply for (and get) jobs, knowing you were more than just a “synergistic” “go-getter” who could “think outside the box” on “various projects.”

Do Not Squander Your Summer.

Do Not Squander Your Summer.

To change one’s life:
1. Start immediately. 2. Do it flamboyantly. 3. No exceptions.
— William James



You’ve been working hard these past few weeks. Final papers, final projects, final’s a wonder you were able to get it all done. But you did, and now you’ve got weeks and weeks of sunshine, swimming pools, and sweet, sweet free time in front of you.



So, what are you going to do with yourself?



The urge to completely slack off must be overwhelming (I would know) and I’m not here to ruin your fun and tell you that you should go sign up for summer school calculus courses. 


Instead I want you to consider something:


You may never have this opportunity again.


(Cue dramatic music)

This freedom, this lack of responsibilities and surplus of time, it is a beautiful, ephemeral condition to your existence that will disappear before you’ve even had the chance to appreciate it. This is the time in your life when you can do what you want, and while everybody faces limitations in some form or another, you can surpass them (or at least sneak around them when nobody is looking).

What I’m trying to get at here is: 



You will have plenty of time later to binge-watch television shows and look at social media on your phone. Right now, you have the opportunity to pursue whatever passion strikes your fancy:

  • Build something; check out online Makers communities and local events to get inspired find help getting started on a project.
  • Paint (or draw) something; now that you have plenty of time to practice, your skills will improve exponentially (also have you seen modern art? Trust me, you can paint).
  • Discover something; explore the world around you and expand your perspective, even if you can’t afford to travel far. What you will learn about yourself in the process will stay with you forever.
  • Learn something; there are plenty of free or low-cost online courses and tutorials that you could sign up for and learn anything from coding to video production to how to make people think you're an alien
  • Cook something; summer fruits and vegetables are delicious, take advantage of nature’s bounty (and those cooking videos you watched) and learn to cook something new.
  • Care about something; you don’t have to save the world to make a difference in somebody’s life. Volunteer for an organization or cause you care about. You’ll make great contacts and get to relish that warm satisfaction at the end of the day knowing you did something that mattered.


My point here is to do something that not only encourages your personal growth, but also just makes you happy. You don’t have to waste your summer doing things you hate just because somebody told you it would improve your chances of getting a job or getting into grad school, you can pursue your passions and still create experiences that can be leveraged further down the road (except for pretending to be an alien, maybe keep that one to yourself).

The key is knowing how to leverage those, and the answer is: a portfolio.

Digital portfolios are easy to create, curate, and distribute, and allow you to create a professional presentation of your passions. Here are some ideas on how to get started:

  • Create a portfolio of your Makers project; take photos and videos of the process and create a multimedia rich timeline of your project from start to finish.
  • Scan and upload your drawings and paintings into something that can be shared across your social networks.
  • Record what you do and where you go during your travels and curate your favorite moments into a collection of memories and experiences.
  • Produce some cooking tutorial videos of the new dishes you learned to cook and send a portfolio of recipes to family members across the country.
  • Upload work you completed during your summer courses and demonstrate your ability to learn outside the classroom.
  • Make a portfolio that shows off all the different aspects of the organization you volunteer for and what you did while volunteering; they may even ask if they can use it as marketing collateral!


What you pour your time and energy into is uniquely you, and by creating a portfolio record of your passions, you transform your personal story into a leverage-able narrative (one that could even help you get the job of your dreams).  

Don’t waste this summer lying on the couch. Getting started with Pathbrite is easy and free. 

Pursue your passions. Bring your story to life in a portfolio. Leverage your narrative.

Stay in the Know with Insights and Analytics

Stay in the Know with Insights and Analytics


You finally decided to start your job search by doing some solid networking. Feeling quite proud of yourself, you log into Pathbrite and start to create your Professional Portfolio.


You take the time to choose your items carefully and arrange them just so, to take viewers on a journey through your experience.

You carefully compose each caption, so your audience can see how each item connects to the others to create your unique story.

You rearrange the items one more time, so the narrative arc flawlessly progresses through the story you want them to hear.

Then you rearrange them again...because Arrangement #2 wasn’t as flawless as it could be. 

(We’ll leave out rearranging efforts four through eighteen for time’s sake).

Finally, after all the arranging and curating, you share it. You send it out into the social media landscape, embed it on your Tumblr, and email it to anybody you know who could be considered “influential”.

Then you sit back, and you wait.


And you wait.


And you wait some more. (Patience, you tell yourself, patience.)


Finally (or maybe sooner than that) you give up on patience.

You realize you have no idea, A) what people are looking at (and liking) in your portfolio, and B) if they are even looking at your portfolio at all!


Stop wondering with Portfolio Insights and Analytics


Don’t wait around guessing if your portfolio is effective or not. Once you share your portfolio, you’ll now receive regular reports on how your story and work resonates with your audience.  



Our robust analytics dashboard makes it easy for you to know instantly what’s working and what’s not by viewing which items are receiving the most interaction from your viewers. Compare engagement between your various work items based on views, comments, likes, and shares. Use this data to update or rearrange your portfolio (again) and create the most effective presentation possible for your audience. Easily share right from your Analytics Dashboard to instantly receive more engagement.



Creating multiple portfolios is an easy way for users to tailor their presentation to specific audiences during the job search, but keeping track of different audiences’ engagement with different items can be difficult and time-consuming. In your Analytics Dashboard, you’re able to easily cycle through your portfolios to quickly view the stats on each, so you can keep track of everything you’ve shared and how it’s doing. Save time and view each portfolio’s progress at a glance with 7-Day Vitals and interactive engagement graphics, and track your portfolios’ progress each week with regular email updates.




Don’t waste your precious time waiting for feedback. Get the data and information you need to create the most effective portfolio possible, and own your story.



Check out your new Insights and Analytics on your Pathbrite Portfolio.


Show what you know. Own your story. Get hired.

Pathbrite Had Some Work Done (And We Look Great)

Pathbrite Had Some Work Done (And We Look Great)

Here at Pathbrite, we are constantly working to innovate and improve upon the Pathbrite platform, and recently, our mobile experience and your profile page got a much-needed facelift.



We knew it was time to give your profile page a new, fresh look. We wanted to give your profile page a new, fresh look, so we got rid of the clunky (and somewhat confusing) horizontal scroll through portfolios and changed it to a smooth, fluid vertical scroll. The portfolio tiles within your profile and course pages also received a facelift, giving you more information about your various portfolios at a glance.



Mobile Experience

One of our greatest ambitions is to enable our users to show off their portfolios whenever the need arises on any device that’s available, and while our mobile experience got the job done, it didn’t always perform up to standard.


We know that sometimes, you only have moments to capture somebody’s interest, and you don’t want slow loading times or inefficient scrolling wasting those precious few seconds. So we updated our mobile experience to make it more user friendly and easier to navigate.



Global Nav


Now, you can access the main menu from anywhere within the app through the global nav, enabling for faster navigation through your portfolios and courses.


Additionally, viewing your contact information within the mobile experience is easier than ever, and viewers can now call or email you directly from within the app itself.



Contact Info


This is great for our users who use their portfolio to apply for jobs or for networking; a potential employer can open up your portfolio on their phone, scroll through and view the items easily, and then contact you all in a few taps of their finger.


A potential employer can open up your portfolio on their phone, scroll through and view the items easily, and then contact you all in a few taps of their finger

Learn how to set your Front Page Portfolio!


Front Page Portfolio

We kept hearing from our users that they wanted to give out the URL to their profile page to prospective employers and connections because it contained their username, was easier to remember, and, frankly, was more attractive than a random set of numbers and letters.

So we also added a brand new functionality to replace our “Feature Portfolio” function. Now, you can select a portfolio to act as the front page of your profile. 

Making a great first impression just got that much easier.




We know that when you're doing work for a course, you just want your technology to work, not make your life harder. So when we heard that some of our educational users were using the Rich Text Entry tool for writing assignments and losing their work if their browser crashed or if they accidentally closed the page, we knew we had to help them out.


So we added a new functionality that automatically locally saves any text entered into the Rich Text Entry tool within your portfolio, so that if your browser crashes when you’re in the middle of your conclusion paragraph of a 1000 word essay that you spent three hours typing into Pathbrite, when you go back into your portfolio and open the text entry tool again, your essay will still be there.


Have some feedback you want to share about our new look or the Pathbrite Platform in general? Shoot us an email at, we’d love to hear what you have to say!


Kill Professional Stagnation with Brutal Self Reflection

Kill Professional Stagnation with Brutal Self Reflection

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
— Henry Ford

It's easy to forget that learning doesn't stop after you earn your degree, but the key to continuing evolution throughout your career is a task that most would rather not undertake: brutal self-reflection. Recently, Pathbrite CEO Heather Hiles wrote a fantastic article highlighting the reasons why all professionals, and especially those in leadership roles, should consistently take the time to reflect on themselves: where they've been, what internal factors are inhibiting them, and where they want to be in the future. 

If we can’t be brutally honest and self-reflective with ourselves, we might ask ourselves what right we have to assess others, especially as leaders in organizations?
— Heather Hiles

Read the entire post here

Stories in Science: When Pathbrite Went to Stanford

Stories in Science: When Pathbrite Went to Stanford

Last week, Pathbrite went to the Notation in Science Communication Showcase at Stanford University to check out how some of the country's smartest students were using the Pathbrite platform. The presentations were fascinating, and each student's portfolio told the individual and unique story of the work they did and the experiences they had that enabled them to earn this notation on their degree.

My original project did not work out as planned due to bureaucratic delays in scientific permits and my untimely infection with dengue fever, which caused the project to be curtailed.
— Joe

One student in the program, Joe, presented a portfolio filled with nature photographs, and he focused on how nature photography and images could convey different scientific concepts. He also used his portfolio to tell the story of his learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom while at Stanford, such as a study abroad experience in Australia and a fellowship in Peru where he spent the summer living in the rainforest!



In one of his artifacts, he actually tells the story of how his project to understand how the rainforest ecosystem mitigates the spread infectious diseases was almost completely derailed when he suddenly came down with dengue fever. He managed to survive thankfully, and was even able to finish the project, although as he says in his own words, "This artifact represented my overcoming a personal struggle, both physically and mentally as I tried to put together the pieces from a broken summer research project." 


View Joe's portfolio!

The first couple artifacts are chemistry papers that I wrote for lab classes...but I really liked incorporating the first one because we tried to make a fluorescent version of lysine, but we failed spectacularly.
— Camille

Camille, another student in the NSC program, described her portfolio as, "...a way to integrate the three major themes of my Stanford career: Academics as a chemistry major; as somebody who’s interested in research and medicine; and my extracurricular activities which are also geared towards medicine. This portfolio draws from all these different areas, from classes, from various parts of my life and it shows how I can, in all these areas, use science communication effectively to a wide variety of audiences and in a variety of ways."



She included a variety of artifacts ranging from a report comparing the amounts of pesticides found in organic vs non-organic apples from a local grocery store to a "subway map" poster graphic that shows the relative positions of branching and anastomoses (reconnections) in the brachial artery.

Camille also made an interesting decision when choosing artifacts for her portfolio. Rather than go the typical route of highlighting only her successes and best work, Camille chose to include a paper that she felt would reveal a more honest view of the scientific process, because it had failed: "I felt it was important to show what really happens in science 90% of the time, which is failure. I wanted to include this failure, [because] I thought it would be authentic, [and while] the experiment itself was a failure the story is still there."

The story of somebody's failure is always more illuminating than a story of success, because how a person handles failure reveals a lot about their character. Camille's startlingly honest story, and the digital evidence she included in her portfolio, demonstrated her intellectual grit and integrity to me as a viewer, qualities which I might not have noticed if she'd shown me a project she'd aced instead.








The ability to communicate a narrative and reveal personal qualities in this way is one of the main strengths of using a digital portfolio, especially in transitional situations (graduating from college, anybody?). Camille's narrative about her failure could be easily leveraged in a professional interview setting, especially considering some of the questions she might be asked these days, and she'll have the evidence to back up all of her claims.  


View Camille's portfolio!


We were also able to catch up with Jennifer Stonaker, one of the Principal Faculty in the Notation for Science Communication program, and ask her about her experience with using Pathbrite as a part of the NSC program: 

One thing we really emphasize with the students is not just the artifacts but also reflecting on how the artifacts are building up to tell a larger story about themselves or show some growth over time...Some of [the students] are incorporating artifacts in their portfolio that are from Freshman year, and they’re Seniors now. Being able to think about the changes that they’ve made, the growth that they’ve made, is really useful for them to really understand what they have actually learned and to take ownership of that in a different way

To learn more about using Pathbrite in education, check out our For Educators page. 

Pathbrite Named in Top 50 Startups of 2015!

Pathbrite Named in Top 50 Startups of 2015!

Recently, Pathbrite was named one of TiE Silicon Valley's Top 50 startups of 2015.


We are proud to be recognized by such an illustrious organization that focuses on fostering entrepreneurship both locally and globally, and to celebrate, last Friday we went to TiEcon!





Here's the Tweet-by-Tweet breakdown of our day:


TiEcon began with opening remarks from the organizers, followed by a great talk with ex-CEO of GE Jack Welch and his wife Suzy, on their most recent book: "Real Life MBA". Both Jack and Suzy had some valuable wisdom to share, and we did our best to capture it in 140 characters or less!

The talk with Jack and Suzy Welch really stood out. Their advice for navigating the entrepreneurial and corporate landscape was really spot on for those trying to start their own business, but it was also entirely applicable to those who aren't entrepreneurial and are maybe even just entering the workforce. 

After the Keynote by Jack and Suzy Welch, we checked out other parts of the convention, and heard some really interesting words from Tom Kerber, Banny Banerjee, and Nir Eyal in the Internet of Things forum! 

Tom Kerber: 

Banny Banerjee:

The term "Internet of Things" refers to the concept of a network of physical objects (or "things") embedded with technology and connectivity so it can communicate with the manufacturer, operator, and/or other connected devices.

Imagine you're on the way to the airport for an international flight, and you're running late. You're rushing around, the taxi is honking outside, and suitcase in hand, you grab the door handle to throw open your front door and run down the stairs. Only instead of behaving like a normal door and simply opening when you turn the handle, your front door alerts you in a patient voice in a British accent and says, "Katie, you've forgotten your passport. It's on the kitchen counter." 

That, my friends, is what the "Internet of Things" (IoT) will look like. Your home, your possessions, will be able to talk to each other, to their manufacturer, and maybe most importantly, to you. 

Okay, maybe your front door won't have a British accent, but wouldn't that be pleasant? 

Moving on...

Nir Eyal, author of "Hooked", gave an awesome talk about successfully changing consumer behavior through his model of building habits based on internal and external triggers. His insights were spot on and very valuable to anyone thinking entrepreneurially or working in a startup:

It's all about the anticipation, not the reward itself @nireyal #TIEcon

A video posted by Pathbrite (@pathbrite) on

Here are some other great tidbits we culled from the IoT forum!


We also caught some of the talks in the Cloud Security forum. Cyber attacks are a growing threat in our society, and the speakers had some interesting words to share:

Overall, TiEcon was a great experience. It provided invaluable networking opportunities and we were able to listen to some truly inspiring, insightful speakers. We are proud to have made the list of 2015's Top Startups, and who knows, maybe next year we'll win!

Three Reasons College Students Should Care About ePortfolios

Three Reasons College Students Should Care About ePortfolios

Professionals in a variety of industries, such as design, advertising, and architecture, have used portfolios to track their achievements and show off their skills to prospective employers for generations. As a means of demonstrating skills and knowledge, portfolios have long been considered effective because they actually contain evidence to back up the claims made by the candidate. Interestingly, over the past few years, the utility of ePortfolios, or digital portfolios, has been recognized more and more by individuals outside of the creative industries.


In particular, college students may be in the position to benefit the most from eportfolios, especially if they start early in their academic career. Recently, Pathbrite partnered with Cengage Learning to provide free access to Pathbrite digital portfolios, with the goal of providing students with the tool they need to show what they know and get hired after graduation. 




Here are Cengage's three reasons why college students should recognize the value of digital portfolios:


1. "As students build an ePortfolio, they can think critically and creatively about their academic and personal accomplishments."

"Many students may never think about what they need to bring to an interview until they start the job-search process… and at that point it’s a matter of scrambling to find quality pieces that will speak to their skills, interests, and expertise."

Instead of waiting until the last minute, Students can easily add to their portfolio as they progress through their academic career, adding and aggregating papers, projects, and presentations as they finish them. Additionally, with the benefit of the ability to make multiple portfolios in Pathbrite by drawing from their My Pathbrite library, students can easily remix and reuse their work to curate portfolios to suit different needs. They can create portfolios that cover their different areas of study, track their involvement in extracurricular organizations, or even create tailored portfolios to apply to different internships or jobs after graduation. 

2. "Once the ePortfolio is created, students have something to show for all the effort they’ve put into their educational experience."

Instead of just listing skills on a resume like "copywriting" or "video production skills", students can upload "artifacts" to their digital portfolios--such as papers, presentations, videos, and photographs--that demonstrate these skills and talents. Prospective employers are able to see actual proof that the candidate has the desired traits and abilities that fulfill what they're looking for. 

Students can quickly share their portfolio with a direct link in a cover letter email, or include the URL in their résumé, making their digital portfolio an easily leveraged tool. 

3. "With an ePortfolio, students can tell the story of their educational and professional journey in a way that’s personally meaningful to them."

"With a thoughtfully constructed ePortfolio, students have one attractive package that communicates their skills and ideas in a vibrant and visually compelling manner. Thanks to its ease of use, as well as its modern and responsive interface, Pathbrite’s solution empowers students to create this tool in a simple—but powerful—way."

Reposted from Cengage Learning

Getting started with Pathbrite is easy and free. Create a portfolio that shows what you know. Bring your story to life.  

TweetBrite: Social Media Saves the Day

TweetBrite: Social Media Saves the Day

This is "Secrets of Pathbrite" a recurring feature spotlight aimed at helping you create the most compelling and beautiful portfolio possible.



You have an interview, and it’s not just an interview, it’s THE interview .

It’s the interview for the job you’ve dreamed of, the company you admired for years. You’re on your way, sitting on public transit, going over your elevator speech, considering your answers to the usual questions, mentally scrolling through your Pathbrite portfolio, when you realize you forgot to add one last thing.


Your passion project!


Your project is a culmination of weeks’, maybe even months’, worth of time and effort. You put your blood, sweat, and tears into this project, knowing its value would far surpass personal satisfaction. You know it could possibly be the catalyst that launches your dream career.

All is not lost as you realize the photos are on your phone, but that presents another problem entirely: pulling out your phone during an interview is incredibly unprofessional.

“Good heavens!” you think, “What if my mom calls during the middle of my narrative?”

Or worse, “What if my buddy who’s still an undergrad texts me?” (You know who I’m referring to, that friend who continues to greet you every Thursday with, “WATS GOOD WITH THIRRRRSTY THURRRRZDAY SON!?”)

It’s just too much of a risk for such an important interview. You almost scrap the idea.

But then you wonder, what if there was a way to get them into your Pathbrite portfolio? Your plan all along was to show them your professional portfolio on your tablet and guide the conversation by scrolling through your artifacts as you described your experience and qualifications. If you could just get the photos into your portfolio, it would be perfect!

You only have minutes until you arrive at your stop. You can feel the seconds ticking away as your mind races for a soluti on...

It hits you like Mayweather’s right hook, Pathbrite’s best-kept secret:








With only moments to spare, you whip out your phone, go onto Twitter, and send a direct message @myPathbrite with the photo of your project, a short description, and #ProfessionalPortfolio. Just as you arrive at your stop, you receive a confirmation of the upload, and breathe a sigh of relief as you head into the interview.

It goes beautifully; you’ve never been so poised, so articulate, and they are intrigued when you open up your Pathbrite “Professional Portfolio” on your tablet to guide them through your experiences, concluding with the photo of your passion project. You take a moment to point out the different features of the project, elaborating on the time spent and the technology utilized on each stage. You talk about the grit and determination required to see the project through to its completion, the endless problems you had to solve, and the skills and knowledge your learned throughout the process.

Now, they are no longer intrigued, they are astonished, and very impressed.


Needless to say, you’ll probably get the job.


Getting started with Pathbrite is easy and free. Create a portfolio from anywhere. Bring your story to life. 

Leverage Your Passions Into Opportunities

Leverage Your Passions Into Opportunities

Mauvis wanted to solve a problem.

He was at Burning Manin the desert, with no cell service, no internet connectivity, and over 50,000 people. He immediately realized that if you become separated from your friends, it’s almost impossible to find them again. “Everybody still had their cell phones, but they couldn’t use them,” he says, “I wanted to create a way for people to leave messages or get in contact with each other, using devices they already were used to carrying.”



Mauvis went home and built a solar-powered computer so he could bring the internet to Burning Man. He's what you would call a "Maker", and is part of a rapidly growing, Millennial-driven movement in our culture that can be roughly defined as, "a group of technology-savvy individuals who leverage their access to open-source learning, crowd-sourced fundraising, and powerful personal technology to learn new skills and create innovative solutions to the problems they see around them" (CengageBrainiac). 


Makers are transforming the way we think about education, product manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. Their passion projects, such as Mauvis' solar powered computer, can be created using incredibly powerful (and increasingly affordable) technologies such as 3D printers and Rasberry Pi computers, enabling them to produce innovative solutions and products that can compete with products from larger, more established companies. Not only that, but the process of creation demonstrates valuable skills that can be leveraged into further opportunities, if the project can make it out of the garage first!


Here at Pathbrite, we love the innovation and creativity that Makers bring to life, and we want to help them take their projects out of the garage and bring them into full view. While lugging around a solar-powered computer may be a bit difficult, documenting the entire process, from inception to completion, in a digital portfolio creates a portable, shareable record of the project that can be distributed across social media, emailed to prospective employers, and even showcased during the interview itself. 

Read our full post over at CengageBrainiac 

Getting started with Pathbrite is easy and free. Create a portfolio to showcase your creations. Dazzle your audience with your innovations. Bring your story to life.   

Keep Calm and Manage Yourself

Keep Calm and Manage Yourself

Depending on who you talk to, Millennials are considered some of the best or some of the worst employees to have in your organization. There are a variety of reasons for these labels, but a commonly cited trait is the need for more frequent feedback and review of their performance. Some employers may bemoan the difficulties of having to manage these personalities, but considering the fact that Millennials will comprise nearly half the workforce by 2020, these employers may want to stop lamenting and start looking for a solution. 

Recently, Pathbrite CEO and Founder, Heather Hiles, wrote an article discussing her experience with managing Millennials in the workplace compared to other generations, and how a digital portfolio might be the answer employers are looking for:



One development we have observed is the possibility for portfolio based performance evaluation for this generation, which means managers can give a lot of detailed feedback on how to improve the work output. We can put Millennials in a position to document personal and professional growth over time, as well as mange their own paths, in sync with the many studies about their workplace style and needs.


Read the entire post here


Pathbrite User Spotlight! An Interview with Jyoti Kumar

Pathbrite User Spotlight! An Interview with Jyoti Kumar

 Jyoti Kumar

When you look at the stats, it’s pretty clear that it’s tough trying to get a job in today’s economy, especially if you’re young and don’t have a lot of experience in your field. For those about to graduate from college life to real life, the prospect could even be downright terrifying.

So we thought we’d share the story of one of our users with you, to remind you that you’re not in this alone. I recently spoke with a young journalist and copywriter named Jyoti Kumar, and she was good enough to sit for an interview with me to discuss her experience after graduating from Brunel University:  


Tell me about what happened after you graduated.

Like most graduates, I left university feeling super excited and hopeful about the future. After all, I had worked hard and devoted a huge part of my time to getting the best grades possible in my assignments. I knew the recession was going to make things challenging but as a fresh, creative-writing graduate, I felt I had an extra spark to give. My goal was to get a job that would really suit my skills and value my dedication and hard work. I wanted this to be reflected in the pay and in the way they treat their employees.

I had worked hard and devoted a huge part of my time to getting the best grades possible in my assignments. I knew the recession was going to make things challenging but as a fresh, creative-writing graduate, I felt I had an extra spark to give.

I spent hours crafting the perfect CV, taking inspiration from books, online articles and a few friends who were working in HR. I’d print out pristine copies of my CV along with examples of work that I had published to showcase my writing skills. However, I soon realized that these snippets of my talent weren’t getting the keen glances they deserved. During interviews, where there are so many other candidates to view, employers flicked through my work faster than a flash of lightning!


How did the process impact you?

I felt awful. A year went passed and I was beginning to doubt my self-worth and whether my degree was worth all the money invested into it. While many of my friends were entering different industries than me, it was hard not to compare myself to them if they were a step ahead. It can really rob you of your confidence and make you feel defeated.

Fortunately for me, I never just stuck to just sitting at home. After two months of rejections, I decided I would take a course, or go on an internship as well as keep up the job search. The great thing was that I was gaining more skills. I realized it was time to document all these somewhere – and it would be a different approach than a stack of print-outs.  

My first portfolio took less than 10 minutes to set up...Within a few days, I was being headhunted.



What steps did you take to solve the problem?

I remember thinking to myself, seeing as most of us are using online not just for our job search but for communicating with employers, there surely has to be a tool or software that can make you a “digital portfolio.” I wasn’t entirely sure it existed but I tried a Google search and came across Pathbrite. [Discovering] it was free was another force that drove me to check it out (for a recent graduate, your budget can be tight).

After going on the site, what I really liked was how simple the language was. There was no complex jargon or a load of instructions and it was clear what I needed to do to get started. I was able to see examples of how others were using Pathbrite and this was key to knowing how my work could be displayed and how I could showcase my skills and talent in a way that’s captivating.

My first portfolio took less than 10 minutes to set up. After a further 20 minutes of uploading my work, I had something visually striking and a true testament of all my achievements. I hadn’t yet reached my goal but my portfolio was helping a great deal in restoring my confidence in my abilities.


What happened after you created your portfolio?

After I had a portfolio in place, I wanted it to gain exposure. I placed a link to it on my CV and my cover letters. I was also heavily using LinkedIn to connect with employers and the social network lets you include a portfolio of your work – I highly recommend doing this! Within a few days, I was being headhunted.

It solved the problem of having my work get the recognition it deserved. I was hearing recruiters say they were impressed with “so and so” work and that in itself taught me a lot about which specific pieces were creating [the opportunity for] those conversations to happen.


A month after I created it I landed myself my first full-time job


I was gaining so many insights. I learned that recruitment agencies and HR professionals will take the opportunity to look over your achievements because their job relies on it. After all, if they present their employer/client with a bad candidate to interview, it wouldn’t reflect positively on them.

A month [after I created it], which was also around the time of my birthday, I landed myself my first full-time job as a copywriter at a fun, dynamic agency. Needless to say, there was a lot to celebrate!



Any lessons learned?

The biggest lesson I learned during my job search process is not to settle if you feel you won’t be happy at a certain place, even when it seems like the right job isn’t coming your way. It will happen, just keep yourself and your work visible and have faith in yourself. When you’re sure of yourself and your abilities, it helps others become sure of you too. Also, don't avoid applying to certain jobs you want just because you see a few things listed that you can't do. If you have a willingness to learn, apply and put that forward. It's endearing.


I just wanted to see it grow - it pushes me to do better, be better and to stay proud of all the things I’ve already accomplished.

Do you continue to maintain your portfolio?

I continue to maintain my portfolio especially because it’s so easy, and with a full-time job now, something that isn’t time consuming and yet is so worthwhile is hugely beneficial.

It is also so addictive. Once I had some of the best highlights of my life up there (whether personal or academic), I just wanted to see it grow - so in a way, it pushes me to do better, be better and to stay proud of all the things I’ve already accomplished.

Another thing I like to do is every year, on New Year’s Eve, I dedicate some time to look through my portfolio with a cup of tea in my hands. It makes me think of my goals for the year to come and also fills me with pride with the year just gone by.


Jyoti Kumar is a Journalist and Copywriter working in the heart of London, UK. At university, she studied Creative Writing and developed a love for writing short stories. In her spare time she bakes cupcakes, basks in the Zen of yoga, and drinks copious amounts of frothy mochas.


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Teaching Students the Value of Building a Digital Portfolio

Teaching Students the Value of Building a Digital Portfolio

Portfolios have been around for at least a century in some form or another, and as we entered the Information Age, portfolios easily transitioned to the new digital medium. However, at first they didn’t really catch on, probably because they were cumbersome, static, and frankly, rather unattractive. 

Over the past few years though, digital portfolios (also called eportfolios) have undergone a transformation in their look and feel, and now creating and maintaining a digital portfolio is easier--and more important--than ever before. Many employers and college admissions officers now expect individuals to submit a digital portfolio of their skills and experiences in addition to résumés and applications. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t create their professional or academic portfolio until somebody asks for one, and they run the risk of creating something subpar or incomplete.



Recently, CengageLearning and Pathbrite partnered to bring free Pathbrite digital portfolios to CengageLearning users, and Cengage posted a great article detailing why students especially would benefit from creating a digital portfolio as soon as they start college.

“[Portfolios can be] particularly helpful for college students who may not yet have extensive work experience, a portfolio is the perfect way to showcase relevant school work and achievements. These can be used for many opportunities, such as applying for an advanced degree, seeking employment or internships, applying for a scholarship or financial aid, and many more” (Cengage).

Students can use their digital portfolio to collect their academic work as proof of the skills and knowledge they earn over the course of their academic career, and the reflective nature of building the portfolio itself gives them perspective on their academic goals. Instructors should encourage their students to  build one sooner rather than later, so they have ample time to not only collect their relevant work, but also to thoughtfully reflect on and describe each artifact within their portfolio. Additionally, digital portfolios provide a variety of benefits for students--and Instructors--while the students are still in the classroom:

“As an added bonus, ePortfolios have been shown to increase student engagement throughout the course of the semester by clearly showing students (and instructors) how far they’ve come in their achievements...An ePortfolio also gives college students the chance to showcase the types of skills that are not easily measured in standardized tests, giving educators an opportunity to rethink how they create learning outcomes” (Cengage).

Read the entire post at Cengage Learning.   

Creating a digital portfolio in Pathbrite is easy and free. Click here to get started.