Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

As the nation's unemployment rate soars, a group of Brown students have come up with a response: start a job search company.

Inspired by his own frustrating search for a part-time job as a first-year, Walker Williams '11, along with cofounders Kevin Durfee '11 and Ben Mathews '11, spent his sophomore year designing and developing, a Web site tailored to students and employers in the Providence area. The site counts 170 registered students and 40 unique job listings since its Sept. 2 launch.

Unlike large job search services, such as and, the startup allows for closer interaction between jobseekers and employers, Williams said. The Web site makes the most of its small size by continually test-driving features with its targeted users, said Williams, who freelanced as a graphic designer during high school.

"We've talked to employers, people up and down Thayer, students at Brown and at other schools in Providence," Williams said. "The site is rapidly changing based on the feedback we get. We are so small that it's easy for us to adjust."

Though the University's Student Employment Office runs its own job search Web site, Williams described it as "outdated."

"Brown has one standard application for all jobs. Someone can be applying for a lifeguarding job, and the application would ask to list computer skills," he said. "Our Web site personalizes job applications. We also recommend jobs based on a profile system like Facebook's."

Williams said he hopes the site will, "far down the line," replace the employment office's current Web site, which is operated by NextGen Web Solutions LLC.

Jobzle would offer its services "completely free" to the University in the pilot stage — an important proposition given the University's budget deficit, he said.

Director of Financial Aid James Tilton said he has talked to students from Jobzle about the possibility of collaboration since last year, most recently at a Wednesday meeting. But he said it is "too early" to talk about the startup's replacement of the present system.

The current employment Web Site, serving about 2,500 student employees, was designed by previous Brown students "specifically for Brown students," Tilton said. "There are clearly things that our current system does that Jobzle doesn't do."

The University will stick with the present system for now, but will be open to Jobzle's input, according to Tilton. 

The student site creators — joined by marketing director Dominique Ferraro '11 — turned Jobzle into the focus of an Independent Study Project last fall under the supervision of Professor Emeritus of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine.

Though they still count Jobzle as part of their courseload, the project bears more resemblance to a full-time job than a course credit. While continuing to develop the Web site, the four juniors juggle the marketing and public relations side of running a company, attracting press coverage from the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and Xconomy in three consecutive days last week.

Durfee said the students are interested in scaling up operations at an opportune time before their Brown careers end. Their ultimate goal is to bring Jobzle to campuses nationwide, he said.



Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.