Path 101: When Data Mapping Meets Your Career

 
 
By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-03-23 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I came across an interesting site called Path101.com that combines your personality traits, your resume and career advice to help you target a career path that could match you with your ideal employer, and vice versa. Eventually.

Path 101 is a New York City-based startup in its alpha stage. The minds behind the site have a pretty fresh take on what's missing from most career-related sites: matching job character traits (what you and your network say about you) with your stated experience (as in your resume) and career goals, and giving hiring managers and recruiters a more targeted, more efficient hiring experience.

At least, that's what it seems to be about to me.

Looking closely at the language of the site shows me that they are latching on to social media ideals, but with a real focus on data, with three main ways to capture it so far: a personality quiz, a resume uploader and a community advice area. The site's tag line is "Community-Powered Career Discovery." Also, the site has something called the "Resume Genome Project" that appears to be attaching itself, at least linguistically, to collaborative data mapping worlds like the Human Genome project (gene mapping) and Pandora (which calls itself the "Music Genome Project" and uses an algorithm to play music customized by what you type in).

I'll explore this site more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I put a few questions to Path 101 co-founder and CEO Charlie O'Donnell. Here's what O'Donnell had to say:

Without tech jargon or buzzwords, can you describe what Path 101 does in one sentence?

Path 101 helps people figure out their careers by providing free tools and data that are based on the career paths of real people across hundreds of industries.

What is path mapping? What are the goals of path mapping? What is the business [model] for path mapping?

Path Mapping is just the name of our career guidance blog. We use it both to attract users to Path 101 and to provide some useful content to our users.

The business model of Path 101 will be to provide a way for recruiters to target potential hires. Because our users are working with us on their career guidance, we know a lot more about them than other sites that are just selling resumes to recruiters. It's difficult to find the right hire and we think more information can make the process more effective. We also have several schools interested in using our career data to analyze educational outcomes--to see what happens to people after they get various degrees, especially given the increased cost of education.

Who is your target audience?

Our target audience is basically anyone working who either doesn't like what they're doing now or needs to figure out a direction for their careers--either because they've lost their job or [are] just entering the work force, or who just want to know what lies ahead.

How many users do you have to date?

We just fully launched our product, so the user base is growing, but it's early. More [important] than just the user numbers is how engaged they are--whether they share career information with us and they come back--which is something we'll be watching closely.

What kinds of social media are you using to grow your user base?

Not only do we keep the Path Mapping career blog, but we have a live Web radio show each week (mapping.path101.com/live) and a Twitter account where users can get their best advice "retweeted."

What is the future for career Websites, online networking and obtaining the ideal job?

Career Websites need to get a heck of a lot smarter and more informative. Path 101 is built on the premise that a lot of great career information is already out there. There are nearly 10 million resumes sitting in public on the Web. There are 175 million-plus Facebook users and over 50 million LinkedIn users. People are so accessible now and the information on how they got to where they are is out there--just not easily compiled.

The idea that you're selling people I couldn't find or information I couldn't look up is becoming less and less believable, so you need to be the place where recruiters and job seekers find more information and it's more easily accessible than the next site. Plus, it needs to be a very relevant experience. There's no excuse for putting irrelevant offers in front of someone these days--not when so much information about them is available ... For example, we'll working on releasing a job satisfaction survey. Not only will this provide a nice little bit of feedback for the job seeker, but it will also help cut down on inbound offers from recruiters in an industry that you have no interest in working for anymore.

This will undoubtedly lead me to other questions, but for a little more info on the company, take a look at how it characterizes Path 101 in the 'About' section of the site (business product road map):

The basic concept of Path 101 is that users provide data about themselves so that we can compare them to others and show them possible career paths. While our database is sure to be full of valuable insights into careers, it's not the database itself, but the application of the database that drives value. Because we have relevant information to show candidates, they're willing to share more with us about who they are and what they want.

Our business goal is to know more about potential candidates than any other candidate search site. Not only can we provide a better service to users that way, but that makes candidate searching for recruiting purposes that much more targeted--better for both sides.

Candidate search is a significant component of all the major job boards and it's a bulk of LinkedIn's revenues, which is estimated to be $100 million next year. Are we competitive with them? I don't think so. LinkedIn is built on trust, networks, permissions. We're coming at things from a slightly different approach. I actually think that the kind of inherent trust built into the LinkedIn network could help power other sites, just as I hope LinkedIn will open up to allow sites like ours that maintain a really deep information relationship with our candidates to help power their offering.

Wonder if LinkedIn looks at it the same way?

 
 
 
 
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