June 28th, 2010 by

Anybody out there see that New Yorker cover a few weeks back?  It’s the one of a proud Phd graduate hanging up his diploma in his bedroom, and his parents staring at him desperately in the distance.  The message: the college graduate is doomed.  And of course, the cartoon has more than a kernel of truth to it.  The job market is dreadful.  We’re facing a “job-less recovery.”  “Cold Blanket Krugman” is whispering of a “third depression” (bummer.)  Meanwhile, Jimmy, the guy who used to smoke cigarettes behind the cafeteria in high school just bought a new BMW.  (You may remember Jimmy – he skipped college and now runs a successful landscaping business.  It’s not fair, really.)

But fear not, Magna Cum Laude Oklahoma State grad with a degree in Ethno-Medieval Marxist Studies: there is hope… as long as you’re smart.  And your hope is BeyondCredentials, an interactive job placement service and career resource center.  It only accepts resumes from students with a 3.0 GPA or higher from the best 300 universities in the US.*  It vets out the riff-raft** which is good for you, and lets participating companies know that all applicants are truly the cream of the crop***

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So I cranked up some Smashing Pumpkins, cracked open a Natural Light, and got in touch with my inner recent-college graduate.  I checked out Why BC, their modus operandiThe BC Blog, meanwhile, is a great resource for the recently-graduated.  I found some helpful posts by recent grads, conveying their experiences in the job market, as well as interview tips, like this one, around the “what’s your biggest weakness?” question.  (For what it’s worth, mine is, “I love without expectation.”)

But ultimately, BeyondCredential’s value proposition is about creating and nurturing an offensively hireable, three-dimensional job candidate.  Resumes are nice, but they only go so far.  BeyondCredential adopts the principles of social networking and all that other stuff, and provides applicants with the tools to go beyond one-dimensional resume posting.  Applicants can, for example, add pictures (no tank tops, please), answer video interview questions via webcam, add writing samples, and share personal interests that make an emotional connection.  Applicants can also control who sees their page (yourname.beyondcredentials.com), download their business cards, and track their page views.  As an applicant, this is easy, fluid, second-nature stuff: college grads have Facebook running through their veins.  And for employers, it’s a fantastic vetting mechanism (e.g. profiles of people in tank tops will likely go in the Recycle Bin.)

A couple of quick navigational comments: I found the Why BC page to be illuminating, but I think it could be tightened up a bit to get more bang for the buck.  This isn’t to say 22-years won’t read it (although I hear, with the Facebook and stuff, attention spans are waning) but some short, crisp copy from the outset could go a long way in setting the tone for the page.  I also liked the navigation bar on the Blog page, which was different than the home page.  A single navigation bar would tie the site together quite nicely.  Lastly, I think it’d be nice to have a sample applicant profile front and center on the site.  You can, in fact, see what it’ll look like (see below), but I had to do some digging to find it.  Heck, put it on the home page or on the Why BC page.  I mean, the profile looks awesome!

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BeyondCredentials isn’t your grandfather’s job board (I’m looking at you, Monster and Yahoo.)  Quite simply, it takes the principles of social networking and applies it to the job search.  I mean, c’mon people, what’s your resume worth on, say, Monster, if it’s sitting there inert, inactive, unloved, gathering digital dust?  (Voice rises with passion) College graduates are more than just sheets of papers, static resumes, and crippling student loan debt. They are people with feelings and experiences, darn it, and they need to be heard (and, ideally, hired.)  And BeyondCredentials lets them be heard.  It enables grads to shout from the rooftops. (Note: they’re shouting, “Good Lord I need a job!!!”)

* My university was not on the list.

**Did I mention my four-year accredited university wasn’t on the list?

***My university was not on the top 300 list.

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