The Be Excellent app intends to revitalize how students craft their resumes and push for career success. It’s set to launch at Georgia State this month. By integrating video components into student resumes, the app aims to communicate the candidates’ intangible characteristics to employers, including personality traits, mannerisms and appearances.
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“The resume is supposed to reflect everything about who you are, and while doing my research, I found most people don’t even feel like their resume reflects those intangibles; those special ‘it’ factors,” said Be Excellent founder and student McKenzie Bell.
When facing substantial amounts of resumes, job recruiters will often use a student’s experience and grade point average (GPA) to determine if they are eligible for the position, but there are problems with this.
“I even talked to recruiters and they explained to me what they go through when they sort out which resumes they want, and honestly it’s a bad and fickle process,” Bell said.
He believes it is easier to have a high GPA if a student is only taking classes, but students who have to support themselves with multiple jobs would have trouble translating their discipline and focusing on their resume.
Once Be Excellent goes live, students will be able to create an account and use the brand-new app to create unique resumes, but these resumes will be different than the ones you see on LinkedIn.
They will be composed almost entirely of video, allowing job candidates to better connect with employers. This will also give the employers more insight on the individual than they would receive from a traditional resume.
If the employer is interested in a candidate’s resume, Be Excellent will support video interviews between the two parties, producing a much smoother and efficient hiring process. The app will also include job boards and can host group interviews.
“I believe video content or video streamlining is the new way to do things,” Bell said.
By incorporating video into the resume process, employers can tap into a larger, more diverse audience of candidates. The diversity of students and potential candidates would eliminate an education bias that exists in the eyes of many corporations.
“The idea is: ‘Hey, you go to Stanford or Georgia Tech,’ and the automatic association is that you’re going to be successful because of the school you go to,” Bell said. “But what I’m saying is that you can find half of those people at Georgia State University and other schools that are just as good if not better.”
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With that idea in mind, the young New York native plans to expand Be Excellent and eventually make it available to other schools in the area. Directors of Career Services at other schools have already seen the tremendous value of Bell’s program and have expanded Bell’s list of business contacts.
“It didn’t make sense to me…Atlanta [has] Fortune 500 companies all over the area and half of them don’t even come to career services,” Bell said. “It made me upset and mad because we are just as good, if not more competitive, to work in those companies.”
Bell was discouraged and then later inspired by his unsuccessful attempts to obtain different internship and job opportunities in the past. The Georgia State senior and his team built Be Excellent around the goal of helping students that struggle to show potential employers their unique value through a mere, one-page document.
“It’s more about telling the journey that the individual student goes through to get to the end goal, which is being successful,” Bell said.
About two years ago, Bell’s roommate mentioned a business competition held on campus and convinced him to attend. Soon after, Bell began writing up his first business model. Unfortunately, he started too late and was unable to participate in the competition that year, but Bell continued to lay the groundwork for Be Excellent nonetheless.
This is when Bell started to write and make decisions about what kind of business he could create — one that actually tells the student’s story and personality in relation to a potential job. He took all of his hardships and the struggles he endured and used them to find a way to build them into something that allows everyone to create and share their own values. Bell found a way to show job recruiters what they have not been able to see in the past.
The ambitious and hard-working Be Excellent creator gives a lot of credit to his friends and the J. Mack Robinson College of Business department leaders for their honest feedback.
Bell said the criticism was especially helpful when he finished his executive summary. He wanted a trustworthy assessment of his work before he continued with the rest of his business plan. He took his executive summary to his teachers and certain department leaders and asked for their opinions during his creative process.
“Is this good? Is this idea good?” Bell said to them. “Don’t hold back…Let me know because I don’t want to do anything I’m unsure of.”
Bell said that an institution at Georgia Tech was also incredibly helpful to his success. The Advanced Technology Development Center holds lessons that teach students how to build start-ups, taught by people who run various successful companies.
“I walked up there from the Commons every Tuesday and Thursday when they had sessions and did my thing,” Bell said.
He also said that Google and YouTube were vital to his success thus far and that many people take these resources for granted.
“You can get a lot done on Google and YouTube. Most of the time [they have] everything you need,” Bell said. “You really have to utilize every resource you have.”
Be Excellent illustrates the student perspective and provides a deeper look at the undergrad decision-making process. The app facilitates the student’s success with innovative features.
- Personalization of a resume through video
- Easy set- up
- Direct access to the recruiter
The challenge of identifying a career path and having the fundamental skillset for that career is crucial for success. Be Excellent strives to show students the beauty of that challenging process: the success that follows thereafter.