By Kayvon Kaviani
If you’re like most people who have searched for a job in the past, you’ve probably spent more than a few hours polishing your résumé. Also, like most job seekers, you've probably had quite a few copies of your résumé thrown into the trash. The fact of the matter is, the résumé has been the foundation of hiring for years, but it is a woefully incomplete representation of a candidate’s potential, especially for job seekers applying from abroad who lack on-the-ground connections (the ability to “stop by” for a formal or informational interview, or the cultural knowledge of how to accurately address or tailor their submission for example.) In an increasingly interconnected world where location is less and less of an impetus to job seekers, there needs to be a tool that allows job seekers from other countries to more fully portray their abilities.
A traditional résumé may be convenient for some professionals in displaying relevant experience. For many individuals, however, the classic résumé doesn’t capture their personality, their identity. This presents a fundamental problem.
Recent college graduates, for instance, often have very little to put on a résumé in terms of real world experience. One may hope to display an educational background and possibly some internships, but not much else. There are plenty of smart, talented students who didn’t land that prestigious internship, but who could be an integral asset at most companies. If only candidates could provide hiring managers with a more comprehensive and well-rounded depiction of who they are, instead of being boxed-in to the restrictive mold of a simple résumé, the employment market could look radically different.
For candidates applying to a job from outside the country, the prospect of hearing back can be even more elusive, as they often lack local connections and the ability to meet in person for an interview. The same is true for people aspiring to work in creative fields, where getting hired is often a simple question of knowing the right person, rather than being the most qualified. This isn’t exclusively a product of nepotism, of course, but one of convenience as well. Who has time to look for the most qualified applicant when they already know someone capable enough? This narrows the employer’s prospective candidate pool to their confined network.
This is where YouFolio, a startup out of Washington, D.C., fits in. Adamant about changing the international employment market, I’ve created a company that seeks to facilitate a new type of employment process.
A résumé is just words on a page, and LinkedIn is slightly more than an online résumé with a rolodex to boot. YouFolio, on the other hand, offers to add something never before seen by employers. Job candidates can showcase not only what they’ve done, but also who they are and how they define themselves.
On a traditional résumé, one might list that they spoke as their class commencement speaker, but how does that compare to showcasing that clever graduation speech that had the whole audience laughing? That detail says a lot more than the generic “Selected as commencement speaker" byline. Using YouFolio, artists can upload displays of their paintings and sculptures, musicians their songs, and students the impressive projects and presentations they've delivered.
Users can choose which skills to highlight and which works they feel showcase their talents and achievements. For example, an intrigued hiring manager might notice the kid who, despite a thin résumé, has a folio with just the right blend of humor, professionalism, and writing chops to manage the new company blog. YouFolio equally benefits companies, giving them the opportunity to find the best candidate for the job based on the totality of their accomplishments, abilities, and interests.
Currently, YouFolio is represented by users from over 78 countries. It has 10 study abroad programs using our platform to select candidates. Each month, we’re bringing on new programs, employers, and job seekers together. Our reach, like today’s job market, is truly global.
It’s innovations like this that bring us a little bit closer to creating a global meritocracy. New inventions like YouFolio help level the cultural and socioeconomic playing field, making job opportunities less location-driven and more skills-driven. It gives the people with great ideas the same opportunities as the people with great connections. In this day and age, that’s something we should expect.
Kayvon Kaviani is the co-founder of YouFolio and a fellow of the Kairos Society of Entrepreneurs. He was the winner of the Virginia Tech business competition as well as the recipient of the prestegious Robert B. Pamplin Merit Scholarship from Virginia Tech.