Resumes, LinkedIn and Indeed, oh my!
The job search process can be overwhelming, especially as graduates embark on their new lives post-degree. JobConscious, a website created by two Montclair State University students, will showcase first-hand accounts of industry experts to help demonstrate that success can take many forms.
Non-degree student Nicholas Vassilakos came up with the idea for JobConscious, a “career-focused video blog” with goals to provide insight to emerging professionals. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Penn State University and was currently enrolled in Montclair State’s doctoral audiology program when he switched gears to focus on the project.
Vassilakos explained that he was postponing JobConscious to focus on his education but realized he was passionate about the business venture and wanted to make it a priority to help others questioning their path.
“I decided to take a leap of faith and see where it took me,” Vassilakos said.
Cofounder Riste is a junior majoring in computer science and oversees the website. The entrepreneurial pair met while working at the front desk at Montclair State’s IT Service Desk.
Vassilakos was in the process of conceptualizing a site to provide resources to students that were unsure of their career path when Riste stepped in to offer help.
“Riste was actually sitting next to me while I was working on the first template of the website and he was asking me what I was doing,” Vassilakos said. “I told him and he was very interested right off the bat.”
Riste’s encouragement sparked a newfound determination to fulfill his goals for the site according to Vassilakos.
“That was actually something that really pushed me to keep working on it,” Vassilakos said. “When I was looking for help I knew where to turn my head because he was sitting right next to me. We’ve been working together on it ever since.”
Through their collaboration, JobConscious began to take shape online and Riste is working to address the important role that technology plays in the success of the platform.
“As the website developer, I’m trying to see what ways we can incorporate technology to help students and current employees find their future career,” Riste said.
The website will feature video interviews with professionals from various fields and offer insight on their backgrounds and experience in their chosen profession.
“I want to give some awareness to the workers of the last generation, tell their stories and hopefully use their experiences as a way to show students that there’s many different career paths they can take,” Vassilakos said. “Just because you choose one major doesn’t mean you have to end up in careers related to that major. There’s more than one path to take.”
Recent interviewees include Montclair State Professors Thomas Miller and Faith Taylor as well Joe Amditis, the director of the Center for Cooperative Media.
Taylor shared her experiences at Wyndham Worldwide as former senior vice president and chief corporate social responsibility officer and gave students advice to take advantage of their professors’ experience in the field.
“We have some incredible professors here with lots of experience,” Taylor said. “Ask them questions, they’re a free resource right there.”
Wilfer Reyes, a senior business management major with a concentration in management of information technology, works with Vassilakos and Riste at the IT Service Desk and believes JobConcious is a resource that students desperately need.
“I know so many people that just sit in class and are uninterested in what they’re learning,” Reyes said. “They want to do something different but don’t know about other careers and are tired of just generic advice from their advisors. I think this is something that will really make an impact, especially here at Montclair [State].”
JobConscious will be entered in the sixth annual BulbHead.com Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, which is described as a “Shark Tank” style pitching contest. Vassilakos wants to raise awareness through the contest and share his mantra, “if you can think it, you can do it.”
Vassilakos intends for JobConscious to be a source of inspiration, guiding users through the difficult decisions they face in the working world by creating a community of opportunity seekers.
“You feel like you’re not sure what your next step is, [but] everyone’s in the same boat,” Vassilakos said. “We can work together to help each other out.”
For more resources visit JobConscious.com, where users have the opportunity to view interviews or schedule an appointment with Vassilakos to become a voice featured in the job experience encyclopedia.
To support their mission and spread awareness visit their social media sites, @JobConscious on Facebook and Instagram. Consider sharing their story and signing up for their weekly newsletter to gain more insight for their career search journey.