As the economy continues to struggle, college graduates are searching for more ways to communicate the assets they would bring to a future employer.
Seelio, an online career portfolio company, was created to give students the chance to present themselves successfully to a potential employer.
The University of Michigan-based startup launched in January 2012 under the name TruApp. During the web-based app’s alpha phase, Seelio drew on the feedback provided by UMICH students as they created interactive portfolios in place of Word doc resumes.
According to the founder of Seelio, Moses Lee, who is also the assistant director of student ventures at UM’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the technology, which is being beta tested, is now being used by thousands of students and hundreds of U.S. campuses.
The name of the startup stems from a combination of the words “see” and “portfolio.” Seelio has links for students and a recruiters section, which will launch on Sept. 1. The program enables students to create portfolios with text, videos, and photos. Lee believes it will help students land jobs by showing who they truly are in a more creative way.
“In this tough economy, college students are doing all they can to distinguish themselves from others,” he said.
Lee said the idea for Seelio came from his time spent working with students in the entrepreneurship department who had expressed their frustrations with job searches.
“These students want to express themselves,” he said. “They’re very visual. Across the board, students are captivating everything digitally and they’re doing it for someone who is making an evaluation.”
He said for some students, they are pigeonholed by their degree and end up appearing one-dimensional. Seelio was created to highlight what a student can do by showing what all they have done.
“What are you going to do with a history major?” he joked. “But they want to show they can do other things. The students love the (Seelio) design. Most portfolios look bad. It’s more important than ever to have a strong digital presence.”
Seelio operates on two levels: the personal and the social. Students publish their own portfolios to share with prospective employers. It also allows students from different colleges to discover and follow each other. According to Lee, the site will soon allow students to give virtual awards to each other for their work.
“Students are naturally curious of what others are doing,” he said. “On campus, they’re always working in groups. They want to know what other students have done. People want to connect with others who have the same passions. Students are more collaborative than any others.”
Collaboration between students is a benefit of Seelio, but the the main point, Lee reiterated, is the collaboration of companies with potential future employees–the students.
“The companies say, ‘Show me who you are,’” he said, “The resume doesn’t show that. Resumes are based on experience and college students don’t have that. Companies want to know how they work in teams and show how they solve problems.”
Seelio is a free web-based application and only allows users with an .edu account to sign up.
Follow Dustin Bass on Twitter @dbass_cmn