Acadiate is an online platform that connects colleges, universities, students, and employers to improve student employability.
Acadiate integrates a number of tools that deliver employment focused functionalities for students, institutions, and employers. For students, it provides personal branding, access to job opportunities, application tracking, and access to resources from their institutions. For colleges and universities, there are in-class experiential learning tools, access to student branding for feedback, private job posting for employers, the ability to send students directly to employers, and generate detailed reports on student employability. Lastly, employers can post jobs on Acadiate to receive specialized applications that allow them to make better hiring decisions.
Key Features for Students
Acadiate integrates a number of tools for students looking for a summer job, a co-op placement, or their first job after graduation:
Showcase: Using Showcase, students can develop engaging packaging of their skills, experiences, and achievements that differentiate them from other applicants and highlight their interest in a particular position. Showcases include students’ employment assets, such as portfolios, video introductions and references, work examples, school project and assignments, relevant social and professional networks, personality assessments, reference letters and content targeted to each potential job. An example of this would be a potential marketing plan for a company product. Students can track how often employers have looked at their Showcase, revise it even after submitting it, and delete it at any time. Access to a Showcase is by their permission only, so students are assured of privacy and control.
A Sample Showcase
Funnel: To support students throughout the application process, a tracking tool called Funnel was developed. Funnel helps students understand and structure the essential steps or stages of job hunting, moving from reading a job ad, researching a job, to being interviewed and, finally, being offered the job. Acadiate’s job Funnel helps students to organize their job searches at each stage and tracks the progress of their applications, with alerts to remind them to follow-up. Students can track numerous applications, identify bottlenecks in the processes, and seek help at the steps that are causing the most problems in their job hunt.
Job Board: The extensive Acadiate job database can be searched and filtered to the student’s specification, with hundreds of new jobs added daily. Employers, colleges, universities, and recruiters can create private locations on the database, with access restricted to students with specific requirements or from particular institutions.
Key Features for Educators
Using the tools available through Acadiate, instructors, faculty, placement advisors, and guidance counselors can help students look at their educational achievements and advise students on how to market themselves to employers in more creative and distinctive ways.
In-Class Mock Applications: Acadiate can be used in the classroom, with students creating mock job applications. Students vote on best showcases and applications and see how they compare with their peers. Along with feedback from instructors, students can also look at each other’s applications to get ideas for improvement – and to experience what applications look like from an employer’s point of view.
Co-op Opportunities and Job Placements: Acadiate helps institutions and employers save time and effort by allowing them to more efficiently get well-suited students in front of employers for co-op and full-time placements. The system is password protected, with a private link for each institution.
Private Job Board: Schools using Acadiate can invite employers to post opportunities directly to their students, providing employers with access to their best graduates and a value-add service for the students.
Analytics and Reports: Colleges and universities can get analytics on how students are using Acadiate and what success they are having, learning more about their graduates and their search for jobs. Student permission is essential before any data are shared.
Key Features for Employers
In addition to offering employers more distinctive and individualized Showcases from job candidates, Acadiate provides formats for employers to question or test candidates prior to inviting them to interviews, ranking and organizing their applications for quick sorting and prioritization.
Acadiate, based in Toronto, was founded in 2011 by Zane Westmoreland. His first job after graduation was with a recruitment start-up, where he saw hundreds of nearly identical resumes from students and new graduates. He wanted to help students differentiate their applications and improve the way they marketed themselves, especially given their lack of job experience. The company is mentored through HalTech and MaRS Discovery District, both members of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.
The platform has been used by over 5,000 students from universities and colleges, such as the University of Toronto, Sheridan College, McMaster University, and Ryerson University, as well as in classrooms at Centennial College. Acadiate has also been used in more than 300 workshops. In Summer 2014, the Council of Ontario Universities recommended Acadiate in an article on steps to finding a summer job.
According to Zane Westmoreland, the overall goal of Acadiate is to “give students a product they can depend on to create the solid foundation they need for better interactions and connections around successful career planning and job search.”
With this in mind, a new layer of functionality and networking is being added to Acadiate in Spring 2015 to allow student access to a network of mentors. A mentorship capability will provide students with links to people who can have a meaningful impact on their career planning and job searches. Colleges and universities would supply the mentors on a private, secure network, with mentors who are student support staff, graduates, senior students, alumni, or industry contacts. Acadiate’s mentor product is designed to support the full student life cycle, whether during first-year or after graduation. Students can connect for guidance and advice, as Zane Westmoreland says; “so they have the best possible shot at maximizing the value of the education they invested in.”