A recent Forbes blog post on personal branding based on the Office Team survey with HR managers has claimed that in the next years online presence will replace traditional resumes. The blog post advises to claim the online presence and manage the different personal profiles on social networks by setting up a central page to collect and showcase digital traces. Although the Office Team survey shows, that about 63% of HR managers don’t consider online presence to be a likely alternative to resumes, online presence is definitely already supplementing our resumes to a lesser or larger extent. With recruiters using the Internet to conduct background searchers and applicant tracking, active management of own social media profiles becomes crucial. Since in some professions being present on social media has become a must, avoiding or ignoring the evidence of social presence is not a viable solution.
The idea of aggregating our digital traces comes very close to the Personal Learning Environment approach and the idea of bringing PLEs and E-Portfolio approaches closer together as expressed by and Simon Grant in his blog post “PLE, e-p, or what?” An e-portfolio based on the PLE approach would :
“(…) be a tool for bringing together evidence residing in different systems, and organising it to provide material for reflection on, and evidence of, skills and competence across different areas of life, and integrating with institutional systems for recognising what has already been learned, as well as slotting people in to suitable learning opportunities.”
If online presence is going to supplement or maybe even eventually taking over our resumes, how then career or showcase e-portfolios should be designed in order to support keeping track of, aggregating and evaluating various digital traces we create when using the web? What should an output presented to recruiters be like?
Stohmeier (2010) in his article “Electronic Portfolios in Recruiting?” makes an important point about what he calls “output quality” of e-portfolios defined as “ the degree to which e-portfolios are able to predict the fit of an individual with possibly volatile job, team and organizational requirements. Consequently, the validity (the degree to which e-portfolios inform about what they should inform) and reliability (the degree to which e-portfolios are accurate, i.e. free of measurement flaws) constitute valuable evaluation criteria for the output quality”.
However, he remarks that currently the functions which would automatically extract meaningful information for recruiting are missing:
“(…) e-portfolios of current design are not able to predict the fit of an individual directly. Rather, e-portfolios offer valuable input information for the prediction task. This information, however, has to be “manually” retrieved, interpreted and used by the recruiter in order to predict potential fits. Given the extent of e-portfolios this “manual” retrieving and interpreting of offered information is a burdensome and laborious task for recruiters (…)”
This is really a good point that we also know from other uses of e-portfolios in educational contexts. For example in order to be able to assess learning progress of a person in reflection-based portfolios, complex evaluation criteria and time-consuming assessment procedures have to be applied, which may be the reason why still many educators are keep on taking up the e-portfolio approach.
It would be interesting to discuss which approaches can alleviate the cumbersome retrieval and interpretation of relevant information in e-portfolios, also in relation to multiple digital traces created by online presence.