UCSD Alum Revamps Professional Online Networking With thePortfolium

 

Markowitz is the founder and CEO of thePortfolium, a website that serves as an online portfolio for students to visually display their resumes of academic achievements and work experience. The website was launched in late 2012.

The idea for the website came to Markowitz in 2008. He found it incongruous that while there was a permanent record of his social experiences online, none existed for his academic records.

“There wasn’t an online profile that I was proud to show an employer, my family or my parents,” Markowitz said. “All my cousins are the same age as me, so they were in college at the time. It was a little sad that I couldn’t tell you what some of them were majoring in, but I could tell you about every party they ever went to, because that was what I saw online.”

ThePortfolium incorporates the basic functions of common social networking sites — messaging, commenting and “liking.” Users can choose to view the portfolios created by others and bookmark pages that they find interesting or impressive. Furthermore, users can contact other users, giving them the opportunity to engage in professional networking.

All users have complete control over their privacy settings, along with all the content that is uploaded to their page, or portfolio — be it photos, videos or written entries about a particular experience. Students can utilize the description box offered with each entry they upload to elaborate on any additional or relevant information.

The list feature gives the portfolio an organized feel. Students can use the list functions to group their portfolio entries into different categories. Once the portfolio has been filled and polished, a custom URL linking to the online page containing the portfolio can be created. With this, students can easily access a readily presentable copy of their portfolio on an iPad or smartphone anywhere they go. This way, a portfolio can easily be showcased in different settings — at career fairs or interviews. In the near future, Markowitz promises a PDF function to allow users without a portable Internet access point to print out formatted versions of their portfolios.

Markowitz said the site has received positive feedback from both students and employers.

A student using thePortfolium once decided to bring an iPad to a career fair to show employers his online portfolio. When the employer saw his accomplishments, his eyes lit up.

“Why did you give me your resume?” the employer asked. “You should have started with this. This is exciting. I can see what you’re working on — see how much you’re involved.”

Of course, Markowitz explained that they aren’t trying to replace LinkedIn and other such websites that allows for users to create resumes and professional online profiles. He views thePortfolium as a way to supplement students’ resumes and distinguish themselves among their peers.

“It’s the 21st century, and we’re still using a paper resume,” Markowitz said. “You can’t get a sense of someone’s passion or experience just from a piece of paper.”

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