Alumni’s website aims to bring local job opportunities to students
Job seekers have more opportunities to find work with the launch of a new business created by three Syracuse University students.
Austin Curtis, a public relations major who graduated in May and a current graduate student in the School of Information Studies, and his two business partners launched DreamFetcher, a job-search website based on matching potential employers and employees, on Dec. 1.
Job seekers can make a profile on the website and include their resume, references and specific information on what kind of job they are looking for. The latest version of the website has been up and running for about six weeks. Curtis said they have more than 300 profiles, and several employers are already using the site. He said they hope to increase those numbers even more at SU’s career fair Feb. 3.
Ever since his freshman year, Kyle McShane, one of Curtis’ business partners and a graduate student in the iSchool, said he always knew he wanted to start a business. After experiencing his own job-searching woes, an idea came to mind.
‘We were sitting at Austin’s house, and I said we should make something like eHarmony but for getting a job,’ McShane said.
With a lot of research and help from teachers, administrators and other mentors, Curtis and McShane began to lift their business idea off the ground.
Curtis, McShane and Gerald Decelian, the third business partner and a senior information and technology major, were accepted to the Syracuse Student Sandbox, a program for student-run businesses in the Syracuse area. The Sandbox is a place for new businesses to start and offers free office space, mentors and other resources to develop a business plan.
Decelian said that without the help of people willing to listen, they would never have been able to get their business moving. For new businesses, he said, networking is key.
‘What really happened was we would wake up every day and go visit teachers and learn about certain aspects of our business,’ Decelian said. ‘I’d say we probably talked to over 25 teachers and administrators.’
Some days it would be a financial aspect, other days it would be working on developing the business plan, or sometimes it would be networking and market research, Decelian said.
As far as revenue, Curtis said they are currently not making any money from their business. DreamFetcher’s services are free for both employers and employees, and they do not have any advertisers. But their main focus right now is not so much on the financial aspects as it is on growing and expanding their business, Curtis said.
Because all three entrepreneurs are familiar with the stressful and daunting task of finding a job, they want to keep their services free for job seekers, but they may start charging businesses in the future, Curtis said.
DreamFetcher also has a blog, which the team has been using since the early development stages. It covers topics such as networking trends and interview tips, Curtis said.
‘We wanted a way to engage everyone who would be using our services, so the best way we thought we could do that is by giving people valuable job advice,’ Curtis said. ‘We try and post an article every day that deals with one aspect of the job search.’
Brian Proctor, a junior sport management major, made a profile on DreamFetcher two months ago.
‘One of the best things about the website is that, being a busy college student, it was great to have a profile that was so professional and easy to navigate,’ Proctor said.
Proctor, who is not from the area, said it has given him many opportunities to explore a lot of different companies in the Central New York area. Proctor said he may never have known about many area-job opportunities without DreamFetcher.
McShane said they are looking forward to more job seekers and employers joining their website, and they encourage everyone to make a profile.
‘You can’t give up,’ Curtis said. ‘Persistence is key. There were days when we got bummed out, but we kept motivating each other and kept each other going.’
Published on January 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm