Friday, September 18, 2009

Interfolio Planetary, Planetary Interfolio!

Mailbox in front of the Claremont Post Office

(If the title of this entry makes you need to hear the Beastie Boys, here's the link!)

Now that hiring season is upon several of us, it is a good time to start thinking about ways to organize your application documents and promote yourself as a candidate.

When she came and talked to our group, Jackee Engles from Career Management mentioned Interfolio as one option for preparing your job applications. And with Philip Clayton returning to speak to our group about CVs next meeting, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss Interfolio.

So what is Interfolio? What does it do? What does it cost? Should you try it?

That's what today's post is all about!

I joined Interfolio last night to gather information for the group and see how I like its functionality. It's too soon for me to know yet how much I like it, but here is the initial information you might want to get started.

The breakdown:

Where do I find it?

How much does it cost? $19 for 1 year, $40 for 3 years, $57 for 5 years. Fees for sending individual documents based on pages and mailing (priority, overnight, overnight express)

Doesn't our school offer a free service? Nope. The service our school recommends is Interfolio.

Why would I need it for more than a year? In case you don't find a job during this round, in case you go on the market again, or in case you get a good "starter" job, but want to move on to something else.

What's it do? Holds all of your documents in one place (letters of rec, transcripts, statements of teaching philosophy, etc.) and will mail them or e-mail them for you when you ask it to! (for a cost, of course)

Of course, you could store your documents yourself...

Does it do anything else? It currently has an online portfolio webpage system in beta testing, which is sort of like your own website where you can advertise whatever you do. Because it is in beta testing, it has some quirks (for example, not being able to change font size, links to enlarge pictures not working). But it's also FREE at the moment (when you subscribe to interfolio's dossier service)

Click here to see a sample portfolio page to see what it looks like.

It's a little buggy at the moment, but once they get the kinks ironed out, it should be a really fantastic tool. When it goes live, they will charge for it, so it would be advantageous to get on and try it now while its free.

How does it work? You upload your documents and you send requests to your letter writers to upload their docs. When you're ready to send off applications, you click on which documents get sent where, in what form, and how fast you want them to go (you can pay for expedited service, tracking, etc. if you need to.)

What if I'm a technophobe? What if my letter writers are computer illiterate? You can send documents to interfolio by mail as well. The interface on the system (so far as I can tell) is very basic - only a few buttons to choose from, very clearly designed.

Will it look as nice as it would if I did it myself? What about university letterhead? This is something I'm still waiting to see. Since your letter writers can still send interfolio letters by mail, it would seem that the letterhead would be scanned as well. And at the end of the day, the weight of paper or the precision paperclipping that you do probably does not matter that much - certainly not as much as having all of your applications materials in order, presented together, and submitted on time. If you are particularly paranoid about paper, you could use interfolio for most of your applications, and then do the most important, long-shot application by hand. Interfolio could save you a lot of time on applications, allowing you to just focus on your #1 job.

What if I still have more questions? Their help page is here.

If you have any experiences with Interfolio or tips that you'd like to share, please leave a comment. Happy job hunting!


  1. Thanks for great review of Interfolio.

    I'm on the technical team and we will get those bugs fixed before Potrfolio goes out of beta.

  2. Thanks for this! Have you seen The Chronicle's Great Colleges to Work For list? Might be a helpful thing to share with the group as well. See you at boot camp!

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