I have built an application that captures informal learning of users. As we all know traditional resumes can only include formal learning and in the current era, more than 90% of what we learn is informal in nature.
Every job has prerequisites. Every job also has specific skills and skill levels that would be a bonus. A one-line description on a resume or an “endorsement” from their closest friends on LinkedIn shouldn’t be what makes one candidate appear more “qualified” than the next.
Our application allows candidates to prove their skills and skill level by showcasing what they are capable of through their research and what they’ve actually done. This is powerful, tangible evidence for determining if an applicant is qualified.
I want to start with engineering students as initial users for my product. Is it better to reach out to students or colleges? I cannot afford buying facebook ads.
You can do this organically + reaching target customers will be slow. You can do this by speaking to local college Marketing groups. Many engineering students attend these talks. Contact Marketing Deans at colleges to work out details.
A better way is to either use Facebook Ads or Traffic Oxygen (which allows creating audiences across many networks, including Facebook + many others).
Facebook Ads are very cheap.
If your budget can't support this, likely your project as many bigger problems.
You can also start a Kickstarter project.
You'll find out very quickly if people are interested, via Kickstarter comments + funding... or lack of funding...
Marketing to students is a great way to launch a business - but it has challenges.
1 - Students have no money so what you offer needs to be extremely good value.
2 - If you sign a student to your service, they will be with you for life. So it's a great time to get engagement and follow them through their careers.
I have done several student-oriented marketing projects and here are some suggestions which could work for your project.
1 - get yourself in to face to face meetings with the careers team at universities. Tell the permanent staff about your service ask them if they would agree to be in a case study.
2 - Go and meet the engineering companies recruiters who hire graduates. Check that they would value what you offer. Ask them if they would agree to be in a case study.
3 - Recruit a few students who use your service and get great jobs with engineering companies. Write a case study.
4 - Find the groups / networks where engineering students hang out. Ask your student case study people to add you into the groups.
5 - Offer an awesome up-sell for every student who recruits a friend e.g. one on one coaching, preferential listing on the site when hiring engineering firms view candidates.
6 - Offer an awesome up-sell for every engineering firm who reads a student's bio and experience via your platform.
Numbers 5 & 6 are where you can generate 'virality" or "growth hacking" using tools to improve your brand reach and product visibility.
Reach out to their professors and to their department chairs/deans. These people want their students to succeed and will promote your service to their students.