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Release: March 15, 2002

BizFolio course helps student job seekers stand out

In today’s tight job market, students need to take advantage of every competitive tool that will make them stand out from other job seekers. The online BizFolio project, http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/BizFolio, at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business helps students prepare an electronic, Web-based portfolio that not only highlights their scholastic experience but also their grasp of technical applications.

"Students use BizFolio as a competitive tool to set them apart from job candidates with similar qualifications," says Dee Hurst, director of human resources for the Tippie College. "Employers see something different from our students who present these skills in BizFolio, and in a tight job market, that can make all the difference."

According to a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, more and more colleges are encouraging or even requiring students to highlight their academic work in electronic portfolios.

Once enrolled in the BizFolio course, students design and implement an electronic portfolio Web site. It's not only a resume, but is a repository of papers, writing samples, presentations and other materials that show practical skills to potential employers. The combination of an electronic portfolio site and professional career and technical training gives students a distinct market edge.

To ensure that students receive the proper career placement and technical advice needed to produce a high quality site, the course is team-taught by Hurst and the Tippie College's Director of Computing Services Maggie Jesse.

The pair guides students through site development by introducing them to a Web authoring software package and providing guidance about what should go in the portfolio. They offer critiques, suggestions, and improvements until the finished product is one that will impress potential employers. Not only are students able to use their BizFolio site for use to gain employment, but graduates can access this site to manage their growing resume.

In addition to highlighting their scholastic work, students can include work experiences and other material that highlights their potential. On her BizFolio site, http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/BizFolio/2001/melissalhermes/, management information sciences major Melissa Hermes not only highlights her work experience and class projects, but several web pages she has created. Additional samples of student-designed BizFolio sites are available at http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/BizFolio/samples.html.

This spring semester, two five-week courses have been offered. Some 33 students took the first session that ran from Jan. 25 to March 11; a second session begins March 25. BizFolio is a one-credit course, open to Tippie College of Business students or other University of Iowa students who have paid the full Tippie College of Business technology fee.

BizFolio was proposed by the college's Student Leadership Council in the spring of 1999 and was developed in partnership with the University of Iowa Career Center and the Stead Advanced Learning Technologies Center.

The University of Iowa also provides other online portfolio programs, including the Career Center's IOWA Advantage program, http://www.careers.uiowa.edu/students/iowaadvant/, the College of Education's ePortfolio project, http://www.uiowa.edu/~edplace/OnlineCenter/port.htm, and the English department's SMACK magazine, http://www.uiowa.edu/~smack/, which showcases student art and literary work.