Tech provides online mobile help for job-hunting college grads

By Marco della Cava
USA Today

SAN FRANCISCO – June has arrived, and along with it college graduates eager for employment. But the news is sobering for the Class of 2015.

For starters, they’re the most indebted graduates ever, with 71% leaving school with student loans that average $35,000, according to Edvisors. And many leave school with skills that only 11% of business leaders feel fully prepares them for the workplace, according to Gallup/Lumina study.

Now two education-technology players hope to lend job-hunting grads a hand with online career coaching that moves out of beta Monday.

Chegg, the Santa Clara-based company that started in used textbook rentals and has expanded to other educational and employment services, has teamed with student success specialists InsideTrack to provide a monthly subscription service that teams job-hunting professionals with graduates.

The partnership pairs Chegg’s 15 million student user base with InsideTrack’s 250 experts. At the $19.95 a month level, graduates get access to employment-search content and training exercises, while the $44.95 a month tier also includes unlimited messaging with a coach plus one live conversation a month.

“More than 50% of graduates say they have no experience in putting together a CV (resume) or in job hunting or in interviewing,” says InsideTrack CEO Pete Wheelan. “We’re about unlocking the value of the education they’ve received. Using Chegg’s (student) portal, we want to provide ways for them to save time, save money and get smarter when it comes to finding a job.”

Since its founding in 2001, InsideTrack has focused on partnering with universities to provide students with goal- and time-management coaching and administrators with analytics, with the singular aim of increasing graduation rates.

But the trend towards on-demand content and mobile usage caused Wheelan to look for an opportunity to reach students directly regardless of whether their college or university happened to have a program with InsideTrack.

“Students tell us they value what we provide, so it was important to be able to reach out to them directly,” he says.

Chegg’s vice president of student success Bob Patterson adds that with current “student to career counselor ratios hovering at 1 to 1,887, it’s clear that there’s a need for a service that helps them make decisions that are critical to their lives, whether that’s moving from a community college to a four-year school or finding their first job.”

In 2014, Chegg hosted 200,000 jobs postings on its site. Last summer, Chegg bought, an online tutoring company, in an effort to move its business away from online textbook rentals. Last fall, it purchased in a growing effort to match students with prospective employers.

“Now with InsideTrack, we add an additional human layer to what we do,” says Patterson.

Students opting for the new service start with an onboarding quiz followed by a phone conversation or email exchange with a career counselor. Students are then steered toward a catalog of live streaming workshops that drill down on everything from cover letter writing to interview techniques. Those opting for the higher monthly fee get more one-on-one coaching. The service can be cancelled at any time.

“It’s a challenging outlook for those graduating,” says Wheelan. “This is professional, on-demand advice that’s affordable.”

Article originally published in USA Today, June 2015

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