Collegefeed, a more employable, less social public profile

Collegefeed aims to make you employable rather than social

Something that most social media users don't think about is what their public persona looks like. They also don't realize that that persona is part of what you might call their "digital permanent record." 

So when, for example, a teenager joins a social media service such as Facebook or Twitter and starts interacting with their friends they create a trail that outlines their character; it will capture their opinions (not always a good thing when you're young) and document their behavior (both good and bad). Unfortunately when that same teenager applies to college many admissions officers will take the time to check out their social media profile, what an article in Time last year called "The Unspoken New Admissions Test":

According to a recent Kaplan Test Prep survey of 350 admissions officers, more than 25 percent of school officials said they had looked up applicants on Facebook or Google.

A new online service, Collegefeed, aims to provide a platform on which students heading for college and young adults joining or already in the workforce can profile themselves in the best possible light for either prospective schools or employers. 

Collegefeed's home page

You register (I experienced all sorts of problems registering but these will undoubtedly be sorted out in short order) then create a profile in which you include personal information, and connect to your LinkedIn account which will automatically populate your profile. You can then follow companies, apply for jobs (quite a few companies and head hunters are already using the service), and submit your own comments about interviews you've had anonymously as well as research what others experienced in interviews (this is actually a gold mine if you're prepping for an interview with a particular company).

Your public profile includes "About me", "Top 3 companies", "Work Samples", "My Top Classes", "Work Experience", "Personal Statement", "Education", "Accomplishments", and "References". For a good example see Rachel Warmwaterr's public profile (her personal statement is a video and it's great).

Rachel Warmwater's public profile

Other big inducements to use the service are that Collegefeed "pushes [user] profiles to companies that fit their interests and skills" and they hold "virtual Networking events with Industry Leaders and [a] chance to connect with them".

While Collegefeed positions itself as a social network it really is more quasi-social; it's much about developing an effective public profile rather than exchanging lifestream events with your peers; think of it as a sort of LinkedIn light.

On the social side you can only "like" other user's profiles (although there is no record of which ones you have "liked" which seems an oversight), forward a user profile to other people or introduce them via a personal email message (also not logged on the service), and send other users messages but there's no social graph to speak of ... that's something that happens outside of Collegefeed and would seem like an area that Collegefeed could easily expand into.

Another interesting feature is Collegefeed Awards. These are essentially sponsored essay questions with rewards for the best entry, for example, "Competitive Analysis Challenge: Who's going to win the social network battle in 10 years and why" which has a prize of $1,500 offered by Facebook.

If you have a child heading towards graduating high school or you're a student heading towards the workforce this is a service you should take advantage of ... it's a better (and less revealing) place to be public than the true social networks.

Go public with comments below or drop a note to gearhead@gibbs.com then follow me on TwitterApp.net, and Facebook.

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