Success is a mobile app that provides guidance for recent grads to find job opportunities that match their background, experience, and skills.
Entire project design from research to ideation, prototyping and testing
This year, employment in Canada fell by 200,000 , spread across both part-time ( -3.3%) and full-time (-0.5%) work.
In 2021, the youth unemployment rate is 16.1% which is DOUBLE the overall national unemployment rate according to data collected by Statistics Canada.
80% of employers surveyed say co-op and internship students are a source of new talent and potential future employees.
So far, there was no comparable apps/ website that offers a specific platform that targets students for job search. The majority of job searching sites are for all work hunters who either focus on hiring (Indeed and Glassdoor) or making social connections (LinkedIn).
The creation of competitive analysis (consists of market research, business goals, usability, layout, design content, and values) incorporating SWOT analysis helped to evaluate current brands in this category.
Also, opportunities and pain points of job searching for students and the challenge of how students can make professional connections and find jobs with no or little work experience was an important part of the research.
Opportunities and Challenges of Job Searching
Graduating students may have many social connections at school but the one type of connection that they lack is professional connections with employees currently working in the industry. These connections can help students learn the reality of the work content that students are going into after they graduate. There needs to be a platform for students to reach out to these professionals, and this platform needs to be made especially for students so the students are encouraged to communicate with professionals who know they are helping young graduates. In addition, tools and articles to help students learn the methods of socialization with professionals to facilitate their communication skills and adaption to the real work professional settings.
Time and Availability
Students in school may not able to work full-time jobs, therefore they are mostly looking for part-time jobs or internships and co-op opportunities. In their job search process, they would like to see more search results with flexible hours that fit their school's schedule.
After the pandemic, companies have switched most job positions to remote settings. It is beneficial for students as it saves time for commuting to work. With remote working, the job application process is also majorly transferred to online. Hiring managers will set up phone interviews or video-call interviews which is fast and simple. Meanwhile, students have more time to prepare for the online interview and be in a more comfortable setting to complete the interview.
Skills and Accomplishments
In high competition job positions and compaies, hiring requirement will often be more complex such as needing more experience, certification, and knowledge in more tools usage. From a large number of job applicants, we definitely want our graduating students to meet the basic requirements and even stand out from the crowd. Students will need assistance to help them meet certain requirements including ways to earn a certificate or opportunities to gain the experience.
Planning and Preperation
Career planning is important and should be done prior to graduation given the competitive application environment for entry-level positions in Canada. Students will need to think about the kinds of jobs they want to apply and the type of company they would like to work. Large scale companies have seasonal intakes for internships and apprenticeships, and students will need a large amount of preparation before applying. Students may need counseling or attend workshops and social events to learn about job application, work content, and more.
Entry Level Oppurtunities
Entry level job oppurtunities are limited and often very competitive not only among graduating students but also other experienced job applicants transferring from other career fields. Students often have to submit tons of applications before receiving a few interviews.
Lack of Career Support at School
Low career counseling support is a common problem in most post-secondary schools in Canada. The ratio between career advisors and students are highly imbalanced. There are also no lectures to provide guidance to students on how to craft their application documents (including resume, cover letter and portfolio). Often, there is also no support on interview preparation and real industry practices.
Impact of the Pandemic
Job application process have been severely altered after the COVID-19 pandemic. Students can feel stressed and lost both physically and psychologically. Career support has also majorly diminished meaning students are solely independent on their job hunting.
Hiring requirement often have minimum years of work experience. Even junior positions require 1-3 years of experience in revalent work fields. Students often need to waste time browsing through countless hiring posts to find a job that requires little to no experience.
Job hunting for graduating students is challenging mainly because of their lack of experience and limited job opportunities for entry-level jobs. For young inexperienced job applicants, online platform falls short in the ability to customize students' background to help them land on job matches.
Interviews & Surveys
User interviews are conducted with in-school students and recent graduates from various post-secondary schools in Canada.
What is the biggest challenge/ concern in job seeking?
Are there any existing resources from school/ family & friends/ government/ corporation?
What support is desired from students and recent graduates?
How is the experience like to use existing digital platforms & tools for job search?
What is your current career plan and future goals?
What kind of knowledge would you like to learn more about throughout the process of job seeking?
Findings from Interviews & Surveys
Interview Insight #1
Limited Career Support From School
Students feel there is not enough resources and counseling available provided by their school. Many co-op and internship programs also require students to find their own jobs to fulfill their degree requirements.
Interview Insight #2
Students do not know how to apply
Students are not taught how to apply for jobs professionally. This include the entire application process from writing resume and CV to preparing for interviews and selecting and negotiating offers.
Interview Insight #3
Entry-Level Jobs are Limited
Students find that many jobs require years of industry experience and there are few entry-level jobs. Only large-scale companies provide internships or apprenticeships but these opportunities are highly competitive. Average hiring companies only open intermediate to senior positions since they only need one or two employees to do a job.
Interview Insight #4
Time-consuming Application Process
Job application processes are timely and intimidating for students because many jobs now take numerous steps until the offer is given. There can be two to three rounds of interviews in which students are not prepared physically and mentally.
Interview Insight #5
Many companies post jobs with a long list of requirements in skills and experiences. Students may not encompass all the listed requirements and be timid to apply for the job.
Interview Insight #6
Companies tend to post on a variety of different job search platforms. There are often glitches and errors when job applicants are filling out their personal information, especially on a low familiarity site or platform.
Interview Insight #7
Geographical location is important when students are considering companies to apply. Their choices are limited since most companies are not located close to schools and remote jobs also vary depending on the job content and company type.
Interview Insight #8
It is difficult to tell which companies are actively responding because some job posts have been online for months. Students are also not sure how to contact recruiters about the status of their applications.
Interview Insight #9
Most interviews are now online due to the pandemic. Students feel challenged to conduct interviews over videos and calls.
Interview Insight #10
Socializing to make connections with other professionals in the industry is challenging for students. They don't know how to start a formal conversation and ask the right questions, and they also feel insecure about going to professional social events to make connections face-to-face.
Using insights from interviews and surveys, I created my persona who is an in-school student trying to find a summer internship. This will help me to emphasize with my primary user group and focus on their needs and goals as I design the app.
A product-based journey map helped to better understand the course of action that my user takes to achieve their goal.
Wireframing, Prototyping & User Testing
With low-fi sketches on paper, I planned out the user flow and the general layout design of the app. I sketched multiple versions of each page, and improved my ideas with each trials to obtain the best designs for my users.
The looks and feels of the app was mainly influenced by the moodboard and the existing iOS UI kit.
20 Participants are invited to conduct the user testing. These participants are mainly students and have a similar background to the persona I created above. User testing helped to gain insights into the usability and accessibility of the app. Then according to their feedback, I made five major iterations to the initial prototype.
Added filter to search bar so users can specify their job search. Frequently searched keywords are added below as labels for users to search with one click.
Users will be informed of the skills that don't have in their profile for this job so they can quickly determine if they want to apply.
When a user doesn't have certain skills in the job requirement, they can be directed to fulfill the criteria. The app will provide helpful guides including articles, videos, external websites, etc.
Added button to use existing resume or replace with a new resume.
Deleted the message box since it was shown on the job description screen.
After the user receives an offer, they can click learn more to become educated about decisions and actions that they want to take afterward. (For instance, how to compare all the received offers, how to negotiate salary, and how to decline an offer?)
In the last decade, we have witnessed the revolution of job application becoming entirely digital and remote. Digitization has brought convenience to hiring managers and mature job seekers but it can be challenging for graduating students with no experience applying for jobs. This is a problem for me as well as countless recent graduates who are applying for employment after the pandemic with little to no job experience. In the process of trying to land on a job, we realize that we have no professional knowledge in writing a resume, completing an interview and making social connections in the industry.
I wanted to create an online platform for graduating students to make the job search and application direct and simple for graduating students. First, it will only provide search results according to the applicant’s skills and experience to save time through the browsing process. Next, for the application process, it will provide insightful information to help applicants meet the job requirement, enhance their resume and prepare for the job interview.
The ultimate goal of Success is to help young, inexperienced job applicants land a suitable job in the shortest amount of time. User interviews helped me to learn that these applicants need help every step of the way, thus the platform needs to provide detailed guidance in response to their needs. This is an opportunity to maximize the use of the onboarding stage where users can fill out their background so the system can determine where they would need guidance. Finally, it is also noted that applicants often select the first offer that they get with the impression that they should seize the opportunity and land a job immediately. In this case, Success will provide relevant information including learning more about ways to compare offers and the background information about the company. In essence, the platform’s guidance continues even after job applicants receive the offer because I want the job applicant to land the best job among their existing opportunities.