We all know today's economy is the worst it's been in 26 years. It could have been a lot worse had the Federal government not stepped in and saved the financial industry from completely caving. But that doesn't help today's job seekers, which is now at 10% nationally, and even higher in specific regions, including Chicago at 10.4%. One thing that can help today's job seeker is a new service offered by a company based right here in the Chicago area. Guugos.com. I recently read an article about them on Mediabistro.com. I decided this was definitely newsworthy for Chicagoans for two reasons 1)they're based right here in our backyard 2)this service can definitely set job seekers apart from others. It provides an outlet for you to give an introduction to yourself. It adds the human element back into the job search, which has more or less been removed with all the computer programs that scan resumes for keywords.
Steven Brooks, Founder and CEO of Guugos.com, was kind enough to do a quick Q&A with me via email. I'm happy to share his insight of the ompany and his vision of helping those seeking jobs.
Q: Why and how did you get started with the idea behind Guugos.com? How did you come up with the name?
A: The idea of a video cover letter came after the realization that it’s nearly impossible to tell someone who you are and why they should speak with you in the current cover letter format. Employers receive 5 - 10 times the number of job applicants these days. How can they possibly make a good decision about who to bring in for a first interview? Hence, the video cover letter. My vision was to give the applicant a chance to “tell” the employer why they should meet. Give them a chance to “see” who they are and make a better decision. I wanted to put the humanity back in the process and give people a chance to be seen and heard.
As for the name, I wanted to create a brand that was unique. I believe Guugos.com is about collaboration. Guugos has its origins from a Japanese word that means to collaborate.
Q: Who are your main competitors and what do you see as Guugos.com's value proposition compared to others?
A: Our main competitor is the hesitancy to embrace change. We are not trying to replace text based resumes or cover letters. We are suggesting that the addition of a video cover letter is a win-win for the candidate and the employer. Research tells us that 86% of hiring managers would view a video if they were sent one.
Our value proposition is enabling the candidate to more effectively promote their capabilities and character in a way that clearly differentiates themselves. For the employer, our value is in the ability to make better decisions about who to interview which will lower the total cost of the new hire.
Q: What are you plans for growth and becoming a bigger player in the job search/human resources space?
A: College graduates are a big part of our business. Without the benefit of years of experience, these students need to promote themselves to prospective employers. We are already building this segment of our business. We are working with Graduate Placement leadership to produce video cover letters for students, graduate students and alumni.
Guugos.com began in Chicago. In 2010, we will be opening offices in other cities, and continue the geographic growth as quickly as we can manage.
Q: Are there plans for integration of Guugos.com's service in the social media space (for instance, someone posts their Guugos video cover letter on their LinkedIn profile?
A: This is already being done for our clients. The video is theirs to use. We suggest they post it to these social media services and to imbed the link on their resume. This is a major component of our value equation.
Q: Have you heard of any success stories for users of your service and how it's helped them get interviews or land a coveted job opportunity?
A: We are still young. We can report that many of our clients have modified their search strategy to integrate the video cover letter into their search, and are more confident when speaking about themselves.
Q: Last but not least, if someone is interested in your service, what's the best way for them to get more information and speak with a Guugos.com representative?
A: You can speak with a Guugos.com counselor at 1-877-8GUUGOS, or you can visit our web-site at www.guugos.com . We will be scheduling video production events 2-3 times each month at our Chicago studio. Dates will be posted on our web-site.
Example of Guugos.com video cover letter/introduction: