For These Entrepreneurs, the Dream Job Was Finding Jobs for Others
There is nothing quite like the anticipation that comes with starting a new job or launching a business of your own. Liz Wessel and JJ Fliegelman, the co-founders of the quickly growing Campus Job, a platform for students seeking part-time work and internships, know this feeling very well.
Campus Job was inspired by a side project that the pair put together during their senior year at the University of Pennsylvania called the Campus Rep, a site to connect students with campus representative jobs. Having served as a campus ambassador for beer giant Anheuser-Busch – a gig she loved – Wessel pitched Fliegelman the idea of helping their fellow students find similar positions.
In the months following their graduation, Wessel went to work in product marketing for Google in California and India, while Fliegelman, whose background is in web development, headed to New York to work as an analyst at McKinsey & Company.
Campus Job began when Fliegelman got in touch with Wessel last summer and said he wanted to start a company together full-time. They took the plunge, abandoned the Campus Rep site -- which had largely thrived on word of mouth and zero marketing dollars -- and then launched the Campus Job in July.
Campus Job hosts all kinds of part-time jobs and internships -- everything from coffee shop barista to DJ to graphic designer. What makes it different is the application process. Students -- and only students -- apply for jobs using a Common App-style form. To start an account, users must provide their .edu e-mail address and graduation year, which are both verified.
To apply, students fill out a profile and basic questions about themselves once, and that profile gets automatically submitted the employers the user chooses to apply to. If required, they also fill out an essay question answering a specific query from the employer.
The jobs a candidate sees are specific to that person's qualifications. “We won't waste time showing an art major a position that requires a computer science degree,” Wessel says.
For every student that gets a job through Campus Job, CEO Wessel and CTO Fliegelman send them a shirt that reads "99 problems but a job ain't one."
Campus Job is expanding rapidly, gaining 10,000 new users and over 100 new employers each week, and the site recently hit 100,000 student users in just six months. The site has active student users at 2,043 schools.
Of course, Campus Job, while dedicated to students, is entering a crowded playing field alongside platforms like Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn's job portal for students and recent graduates.
A range of businesses post on Campus Job, from Fortune 500 companies to stealth startups and small businesses. It's not only companies that want to get the word out to students, but brands that want to do philanthropic events on campuses, and need to hire students to help them produce these events and initiatives.
Campus Job also has a number of exclusive postings, especially campus representative positions and internships with growing startups or small businesses. Fliegelman and Wessel say they conduct many surveys with students to find out what brands they are interested in working for. Whether it's a local or national brand, if there is a big demand for it, the Campus Job team will reach out to see if there is an opportunity to get them on the platform.
So how does it work for employers who want to use the platform? Companies can specify what credentials they want a prospective hire to have, set up optional filters and how many applications they want to receive. Pricing is based on what type of position is being offered and how many filters the employers elect to use.
When asked if they had used Campus Job to help them build out their team, they answered with a laugh and "of course." The pair oversees a staff of seven and the company has hired about 500 campus reps across the country through the platform. "It's great because it also gives us a chance to demonstrate how the product works [in real time] and get feedback from our own team," said Fliegelman.
Fliegelman said that they are already hearing about how the platform has helped users. He cited a pre-med student who completely switched gears after being hired as a part-time campus rep and finding a passion for marketing. "We’re seeing that students are discovering new kinds of jobs and industries through us. People are having whole new experiences that they wouldn't have otherwise."
Of her best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Wessel says that it's important to build team that you trust and want to spend time with. "Do something you are unbelievably passionate about. This can become your life very quickly if you're doing it the right way."
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.