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digital portfolios

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to have an Objective Statement if you want to knock the socks off of prospective employers, but Expert #2 says it’s an outdated concept and will only take up precious space.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

Pathbrite Joins Forces with Pearson LearningStudio

Today, Pathbrite officially announced a new agreement to integrate our Education Portfolio Platform with Pearson LearningStudio, which is a personalized learning environment built on the most advanced, scalable and dependable SaaSlearning platform available today.

As you might imagine, we’re pretty thrilled. Pearson is the largest learning company in the world and its online learning platforms serve more than 9 million students each year. Demand for effective, affordable education portfolio solutions that fully leverage contemporary technologies is growing. By combining Pathbrite’s next-generation education portfolios with Pearson’s market-leading online learning platform, we are able to offer a complete, fully integrated solution providing new ways of learning, demonstrating knowledge and evaluating learning outcomes. Pathbrite Portfolios also offer a way to improve career placement rates by enabling students to better showcase their qualifications, experience and academic achievements to recruiters and employers.

We so look forward to our work together!

pearson learningstudio

Pathbrite Selected as Finalist for NewSchools Venture Fund’s “Innovation Challenge” at NBC’s 2012 Education Nation Summit


We're excited to announce that we've been selected as a finalist for the 2012 Citi Innovation Challenge! This is the second year of the event which takes place during NBC's Education Nation Summit and rewards the winner with a $100,000 prize.  Last year, Class Dojo vaunted to world attention in part through the exposure it received by winning the Citi Innovation Challenge and getting time on NBC's "TODAY" show. Amazing right? Pathrite's CEO, Heather Hiles and our super intern Janette Phan, will be participating in numerous "challenges" along with the other finalists No Red Ink and readIMAGINE. They'll be required to pitch the the benefits of their applications to students, teachers and leaders in the business community.

The event will be broadcast on various NBC News outlets, online and via social media. The summit begins September 23 and ends with the pitch competition of the 25th where all 3 companies will present in front of a panel of judges which includes -- Craig Barrett, Retired CEO/Chairman of the Board, Intel; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor, Washington DC Public Schools; Walter Isaacson, President & CEO, The Aspen Institute; and Mark Mason, Chief Executive Officer, Citi Holdings.

We'll be blogging about Heather and Janette's experience in real time so be sure to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for news.  For in-depth coverage and news on the summit and the Innovation Challenge vist the Education Nation website.

Ode to the Pee-Chee Folder, the Original Portfolio for School

Back in the pre-digital days, students had a very simple way to organize class materials and homework: the humble Pee-Chee folder. Decorated with images of athletic high-school kids doing their thing and jazzy mid-century graphics, kids all over the country would add to these their own doodles, artwork and, occasionally, profanities. At the beginning of each school term, I would get a Pee-Chee folder for each subject, a real-life confirmation of the Pee-Chee slogan: All-Season Portfolio. I would immediatly set to work personalizing my Pee-Chees, filling out the forms on the inside pockets and labeling them according to each subject.  Being a naturally tidy person, my Pee-Chees were always a case study in organization and structure. But for the vast majority of my fellow students, the Pee-Chee was akin to a punching bag, and by the end of terms they'd typically be tattered, torn and nearly unrecognizable. Still: they got the job done.


Proving there are no wholly original ideas, Pathbrite Portfolios follow in the noble path blazed by Pee-Chee 50 years before. Some things are the same: students can still organize their course materials and homework -- all digital now -- in their free Pathbrite Portfolios. They can even customize them to reflect their own personalities, though we put a few limits in place to ensure there are no ugly portfolios. But there are notable differences, too. For instance, a Pathbrite Portfolio will stay with a student for a lifetime. Also, with Pathbrite, students can aggregate and curate any sort of digital artifact from any source, including photos, video, documents from MS or Google, official transcripts -- anything, really. Pathbrite Portfolios also enable and encourage students to collaborate with fellow students, instructors, career counselors and advisors.

And as a students begin to prepare for entry into the workforce, they can create professional Pathbrite Portfolios that highlight all the ways they are qualified for work that go well beyond a traditional résumé. Employers are better able to determine a recent graduate's "fit and finish" for any given opportunity by assessing work and internship history, relevant academic projects, volunteer work and extra curricular activities. Common résumés tend to focus on one or two dimensions of a person, whereas a portfolio presents people in 3-D, helping them to differentiate themselves in a competitive job market and stand out from the crowd.

While the humble Pee-Chee is an honored forebear, 21st century portfolios have a lot more to offer and deliver far greater impact. Still, I do miss the doodling.

Is the Résumé Dead? Not Quite Yet


How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Still Use a Résumé

A lot is being written lately about the résumé being dead. It makes sense: the idea that everything we are and everything we can be should be reduced to a single piece of paper feels archaic. And because we increasingly leave digital breadcrumbs all over the Web that add up to a lot of evidence of our life's work and achievements, the 1-dimensional résumé just isn't up to the task of representing a person's qualifications in the 21st Century.

Seth Godin, one of the leading thinkers on society's transition to all things digital, once wrote:

Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine...

And who wants to be positioned as just another cog in just another giant machine? Still, most employers want to see a traditional résumé from job seekers applying for work. The tradition is too ingrained and only a small number of companies are experimenting with alternative forms job-applicant vetting. That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't steps you can take to brand yourself, stand out from the crowd and give yourself an edge.

For instance, creating a personal blog or website is a great way to give yourself some Internet cred and to telegraph to potential employers that you're a "Web 2.0" sort of person. But not everyone has the skills, ability or time to create something as complex as a stand-alone Web site, and personal blogs or Tumblr accounts often contain posts that may not be what you want to feature in a job application.

Creating a portfolio can help you do all three things at once: stand out from the crowd, present a traditional résumé, and create a personal Web site for yourself. When you create a Pathbrite Portfolio, for instance, you can add your traditional résumé as your first artifact and choose to make it the cover image for your entire portfolio so it's the first thing an evaluator sees. You can also add all the other "digital breadcrumbs" that show what you've done in your career or life -- things like PowerPoint presentations, or spreadsheets, or a video of a talk you gave, or photos of you volunteering in your community -- anything, really, that helps to fill out your biography and differentiate yourself from everyone else. You can also feature digital copies of credentials, certificates, transcripts, diplomas or even Khan Academy badges to highlight your unique qualifications.

Once you hit the "Publish" button in Pathbrite, you'll get a custom URL for your portfolio, which you can use as a Web site address. When applying for jobs online, you can use your URL in the "personal website" field of most systems, and you can also provide the link in an email to folks you're hoping to network with. Also, if you choose to share your portfolio across your social networks (which you can do automatically via Pathbrite), that same URL is shortened so that you can ask your friends to share it across their networks to help broaden your reach and make your networking efforts that much more effective.

While the traditional résumé isn't dead quite yet, there are ways for you to present your qualifications in more a 21st-century way and that will help to differentiate you from everyone else. Pathbrite Portfolios can get you there.

Clinton Global Initiative

Although it has been two weeks since I attended the Clinton Global Initiative, I am continuing to feel the good effects.  I was an active member of the 21st Century Credentials group, a subset of Workforce Development.   President Clinton announced our company pledge of “Pathbrite marketing and offering 1 million free digital portfolios to underserved students and veterans of military service.”


  The reason we made the pledge is that this portfolio technology has proven to optimize learning outcomes including:  course-passing rates, writing proficiencies, critical thinking skills and even job placements.   So often we find that best, cutting edge tools are only available to the wealthiest and most privileged in society.  We at Pathbrite are already serving some of the top universities in the world, as well as companies on the planet.   We are equally committed to making sure that adults seeking jobs and students looking to maximize their investments in education get the access to the very best there is—for free!   At a press conference called “Apps for Heroes” [View Here] with the White House, Joining Forces, Code For America and Veteran’s Administration, we kicked off the process of educating our military vets on our free cutting edge technology.  We even integrated with Military Occupational Classifications so that when vets use our portfolios, they can embed their achievements (certifications, badges, etc) into their portfolios so that prospective employers and schools considering the candidates see what they know and have done.   We have a long way to go to letting our vets know about the tools available to them that will improve their chances of being accepted into post-secondary programs or landing that competitive job.   We will also continue to deliver on our commitment to providing our portfolios in public K-12 and post-secondary schools.  We look forward to partnering with the CGI family to get the word and the Pathbrite portfolios out.


Intellectual Property and Educational Technologies

People working in institutional education settings worry, rightly, about inadvertently violating Federal standards for student privacy when adopting new or cutting-edge technologies.  In reality, educational technologies like digital portfolios do not violate the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and a variety of “cutting-edge academic support methods are perfectly lawful” (Schulze, 2009). The matter of whether pedagogical choices by instructors that include peer group sharing of work, as in the case of establishing group portfolios and co-created work and grading, should not constitute a FERPA violation under a recent Supreme Court ruling. According to Schulze (2009), “The tactic of having classmates grade each other’s papers is a pedagogical method intended to present the learned material in a new context” (pg. 227), and it is not the intent of Congress to restrict pedagogical choices by instructors.

However, records of student work maintained by a central custodian, such as a school registrar or an institutional steward might be construed as an educational record subject to FERPA (Schulze, 2009), particularly at the level that they are aggregated beyond individual assignments. Schulze suggests that based on the Gonzaga University v. DOE case, FERPA, although vague and complicated to understand, leaves the interpretation to educational experts like the Department of Education (rather than courts) and is not intended to undermine teaching choices that “disclose innocuous information implicitly and directly” (pg. 232).

Bottom line? Applied to the case of digital portfolios, FERPA can be largely managed through the students’ ability to consent to share information, for instance by opting to share their information in a group portfolio, rather than having the instructor or institution make such selections. Self-publishing of academic work by a student does not constitute an institutional transfer of information to a third party if a student retains control over the public disclosure of their educational achievements, assignments and the like.


Schulze, Jr. L. (2009). Balancing Law Student Privacy Interests and Progressive Pedagogy: Dispelling the Myth that FERPA Prohibits Cutting-Edge Academic Support Methodologies. Widener Law Journal, Vol. 19, p. 215.

Responsible e-Sharing and Digital Portfolios

Issues surrounding user privacy and consent are among the most important topics for educators and institutions in the information society. Consumer data is amassing at speeds greater than organizations can mine or aggregate to develop a knowledge base for teachers and administrators interested in measuring student learning. Employers are also interested in tracking professional development of employees, without truly contemporary tools to measure success and plan for succession, promotion and human resource allocation. Social media platforms are taking a fair-share of their place in the educational domain, but what are the ways that employers, educators and students can be cognizant of maintaining student privacy and intellectual production? To begin, there are a host of considerations when using third-party digital platforms for the delivery of education. In order to evaluate the role of commercial educational technologies in higher education, it’s important to understand the rights and limits of the application of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to the development of academic work in digital portfolios. Concerns about the ways in which FERPA, (also known as the “Buckley Amendment”) are enforced is part of the terrain that students, faculty and administrators have been negotiating since 1974 (Shurden and Shurden, 2010).

Legislatively, FERPA was designed to protect the civil liberties of students who might be targeted by false or harmful record keeping and reporting by colleges and universities, without the knowledge or consent of the student. FERPA, under current law, applies to

“any public or private agency or institution which is the recipient of funds under any applicable program” (Shurden & Shurden, 2010; Legislative History, 2009).

In essence, the law applies to organizations receiving Federal funding ranging from K-12 to higher education. Student information can be accessed by parents of children under 18, but for all legal adults over the age of 18, parents are generally not able to access student records. The original intent of FERPA was two primary goals: to ensure that the rights of parents and students would be protected from third party access to information without consent, and to ensure that parents would have access to their children’s records (Shurden & Shurden, 2010).

Recent amendments to student privacy include emergency health information that should be known to third parties, after the fatal massacre of 33 people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University by a student whose mental health information should have been divulged by faculty to third parties (Klein, 2009).

Concerns over the misuse of student data are of concern, particularly in the deployment of educational technologies and the sharing of information between instructors and students themselves (Shurden & Shurden, 2010; Hunt, 2009). In the matter of students grading each other’s work, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Owasso Independent School district No. I-011 v. Falvo, 122 S. Ct. 934,534 U.S. 426. In this case, a teacher was sued by a student after a peer student was allowed to grade their work and was a violation of FERPA and the disclosing of private student information to another student. However, the Supreme Court determined that school work does not constitute an “educational record” and that grading was not a FERPA violation (Shurden & Shurden, 2010, Hunt, 2009). Nonetheless, staying on top of FERPA updates in order to maximize educational output can be achieved by following the Department of Educations’ Code of Federal Regulations, which often interprets FERPA challenges and provides clarification and advice (FPCO, 2012).

What is important to note about the legislative environment when it comes to student privacy and educational records is tools like digital portfolios, and other educational technologies, are typically making use of the World Wide Web as a vehicle for sharing information. Once information travels across the Web, it is not entirely controlled. For this reason, it is important that students have an opportunity to learn about the Web as a resource for sharing and showcasing digital information, but that they also understand the opportunities and the costs associated with using the Web. Information traffic through internet service providers, telecommunications companies, and software companies and social media platforms can be data-mined and privacy cannot always be protected. For these reasons, portfolio technology can be an important pedagogical tool for increasing digital literacy among students and educators about how to share and showcase responsibly, and curate achievements with an eye on reputation management.


Barrett, H. (2007). Researching electronic portfolios and learner engagement: The REFLECT Initiative. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. 50:6, pp. 436-449.

Copyright Center, The. URL: last accessed on 02/26/12.

FPCO (2012) 

Hunt, L. R. (2009). FERPA: Background and basics of the family education rights and privacy act. Your Rights. Retrievd August 27, 2009.

Klein, A (2009). Education department released new rules on privacy. Education Week, 28(16), 4.

Lorenzo, G. and Ittelson, J. (2005, September). An Overview of Institutional E-Portfolios.  Educause Learning Initiative. Ed. Oblinger, Diana. ELI Paper 2005.

Paulson, F.L., Paulson, P.R. (1994, April). Assessing portfolios using the constructivist paradigm. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA (ERIC Document Reproduction SErvice No. ED376209).

Riismandel, P. (2011). E-Portfolio Rising. Streaming Media. April/May 2011, pg. 14.

Shurden, S. and Shurden, M. (2010). Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act: A Historical Perspective. Proceedings of the Allied Academies Internet Conference. Vol. 12, pg. 100.

Stiggins, R. J. (1994). Student-centered classroom assessment. New York: Merrill.