Indiana University Employs ActivePDF to Facilitate Student Placements

Company Overview 

Founded as the Indiana University School of Commerce and Finance in 1920, the Kelley School of Business is ranked as one of the top business schools in the country by U.S. News and Business Week. To help jump-start the careers of Kelley School students and alumni, the Undergraduate and Graduate Career Services department works to facilitate placement within Fortune 500 companies and other national and international organizations. 

Business Challenge 

  1. Simplify Online Resume Submission 
    The Kelley School’s Undergraduate and Graduate Career Services department assists students in applying for internship and employment opportunities through both recruiting events and an online job board. The Career Services website allows students to login using the University’s central authentication service, and then view job listings posted by partner companies and upload their resumes to the school’s server. Once uploaded, each resume can be used to apply to a specific position or viewed by potential employers that have been granted access to the secure website. Additionally, the Career Services staff is able to query the school’s database to sort resumes by the students’ graduation year, major, and other criteria, and then combine the qualifying resumes into a single HTML page and email them to partner companies for consideration. These packets of resumes also include a customized cover letter and several informational pages, which are designed in ColdFusion® to be dynamically populated with company and student information from their database. Originally, resumes could only be uploaded as HTML, requiring students to type the HTML code into a form field on the website. Though several HTML templates were provided to assist students in formatting and submitting their resumes, the Career Services department received a steady flow of calls and emails from frustrated users requesting help or an alternate upload method. 
  2. Dynamically Generate Customized Documents 
    Most students were creating their original resumes in Microsoft® Word prior to uploading them in HTML; however, storing Word documents on the school’s server presented a problem. As employer queries typically yielded 10 to 50 resumes, the process of emailing or downloading each individual document would be far too cumbersome. However, recognizing that uploading resumes in the Word format would greatly simplify the process for students, the development team decided to find a solution that would allow them to automatically combine multiple Word documents into a single file, for easy distribution to hiring managers. As Word files cannot be combined programmatically while retaining the original formatting of the individual documents, the resumes would need to first be converted to a new format which could be easily downloaded and viewed on a variety of computers. This led the developers to select PDF as the desired output format, due to its visual fidelity, inherent portability, and flexibility.  In essence, PDF files behave as ‘digital paper’ allowing individual pages from multiple documents to be extracted and recombined effortlessly, without losing the formatting of the original document. To simplify the process and eliminate the need for desktop PDF software for each student, the team decided a server-side solution was required, one that could be easily integrated within the existing website. 

ActivePDF Solution 

The Career Services team’s hunt for a PDF converter uncovered a number of products that fell short of their expectations and requirements. "Many of the other products had poor performance and did not integrate well with our servers," recalled Patti Parkes, Director of Information Systems for the Kelley School of Business, adding that very few products offered a way to automate the combination of multiple files. The developers’ search ended upon discovering the ActivePDF suite of server-side products. Shortly after purchasing ActivePDF Portfolio, which bundles ActivePDF Server, DocConverter, WebGrabber, and Toolkit, for its extensive feature list and ease of implementation, Parkes and her team were able to integrate a PDF conversion and combination solution into the Career Services website. Though the user experience has largely remained unchanged, uploading resumes is now as simple as browsing to the appropriate Word document on their system and clicking Submit. Upon submission, the document is converted to PDF using ActivePDF DocConverter and uploaded to the school’s server. The original file is also retained, allowing each student to return at a later date and download his or her resume in Word to perform edits. The process of querying the Career Services database is also unchanged, allowing staff and hiring managers to quickly filter resumes by specific criteria. However, the staff now has the option to assemble the resumes into a single PDF for submission to employers. When this option is selected, Toolkit is used to merge the PDF versions of the resumes together and add bookmarks corresponding to each student’s name. The original ColdFusion cover letters and informational pages are also converted to PDF using WebGrabber, which dynamically customizes page headers and footers with the recipient’s information. These supplemental pages are then appended to the resumes using Toolkit, resulting in a single, navigable PDF that can be emailed to the potential employer. 

Results 

The Kelley School of Business Undergraduate and Graduate Career Services team now uses ActivePDF products to convert all student-uploaded resumes and generate customized resume packets for their partner companies. Through their implementation of ActivePDF Server, DocConverter, WebGrabber, and Toolkit, the department has: 

  • Automated the conversion of thousands of resumes to PDF each week 

  • Reduced the time spent troubleshooting upload issues by simplifying the resume submission process.

  • Increased both student and employer satisfaction by providing resumes in an easily distributable format the company’s paper waste by approximately 14,000 pages each year 

Kelley School of Business students can now upload professional-looking resumes for consideration by Fortune 500 companies throughout the country without issue, allowing them to focus their attention on their resume content, rather than its format. The benefits to the Career Services staff have been made clear by the precipitous drop in student requests for assistance in the upload process. "The task of creating HTML resumes was cumbersome for the students," says Parkes, "students can now upload Microsoft Word resumes and have them converted real-time to PDF… with just a click." The new format has also been well received by employers, as the addition of bookmarks have enabled hiring managers to navigate the resume packets and select candidates for interviews easier than ever before. "The price was right and ActivePDF provided more functionality and was more robust than other products that we tried," states Parkes, "The department has used ActivePDF products for several years and we are planning to continue to use them as we transition to 64-bit technology."