Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey everyone! My name is Ryan Bucci and I’m the founder and full-stack web developer of ResumeCompass. I started the company, built, and launched the platform this year in order to help job seekers and professionals solve the common pain points of improving their resume and increase their chances of securing job interviews!
With ResumeCompass, I wanted to solve the common issues that job seekers and professionals face when they're attempting to improve their career or secure that coveted dream job they've been struggling to get. The all-in-one resume platform for job seekers and professionals gives them the tools they need to identify weak points in their resume, build a resume for free with guided steps, tailor their resume to the jobs they're applying to, and a host of other great tools and features all in one location.
On ResumeCompass, students, job seekers, and professionals can submit their resume for free and receive the most comprehensive resume review available. Our free resume review provides instant and personalized feedback based on how the resume stacks up against over 45 different metrics including expert-level resumes, best practices, professional insights based on what employers are looking for, and potential candidate highlights based on applicant tracking system evaluations. In addition, job seekers and professionals can use our Free Resume Builder which has over 285 unique templates to choose from. This means that students, job seekers, and professionals have no limits on the creativity they want to use when building their resume.
The platform is growing rapidly as millions around the globe are faced with rising unemployment and new challenges in a competitive job search landscape. Our goal is to give job seekers and professionals all the tools they need to succeed in their careers, and more importantly - it should be affordable as they face new challenges in our rapidly changing environment!
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Eight years ago when I started my professional career, I never knew that I would learn how to program or would be launching my first business to help job seekers and professionals improve their careers. In fact, the idea for ResumeCompass didn't even come up until I started to struggle with my own job search after graduating from university.
I, like many others today, would submit my resume to employers, forward it to recruiters, attach it to job applications or job postings, and then I wouldn't hear back. So I did my research like everyone always says and the two most common answers I could find and rely upon were, "It's a numbers game," and "It takes time. Job postings can be open for a month or longer before they start to review candidates."
After not hearing back from employers, the seeds were planted in my mind that there had to be a better way to identify weaknesses in my resume and have the tools that could help me build the perfect resume and increase my chances of getting a job interview. And then, I sat on the idea and never used it until years later when I realized I wanted to build a project that would help others.
You do need to get some early feedback and validation on your idea. Developing and launching a business takes time, and you don't want to wait until the last minute to make sure that others think your idea is solid and there is value in it.
I'm a business graduate with a professional background in Copywriting, Search Engine Optimization, and Digital Marketing. I didn't have a single ounce of programming knowledge in my brain, until one day the realization hit me that if I wanted to build a business from the ground up that actually tackled the problems I was hoping to solve, I'd be better off building it first hand!
I never took a computer science class when going to school and I would often become frustrated with some of the abstract concepts until I realized that the best way to reinforce all the things that I was learning was to finally develop a real solution or project that would help me tie all my skills together. That's where I remembered the idea I initially had for ResumeCompass and the pain points I was hoping to solve.
So I set out to build the first working prototype, a simple application that would take in a resume, review it, and give personalized feedback in the most basic sense. After getting a working demo, I shared it with friends and family to get some initial feedback on what they thought, and the feedback was positive. This initial feedback was so crucial in helping me identify things that I needed to incorporate into the platform early on so I could truly help others solve the pain points in their career.
The passion for the idea and business came from knowing that I could make a difference in other people's lives or careers and that it was also a personal struggle of mine in my past when trying to pursue job opportunities I was interested in.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
When I realized I wanted to develop the platform, the very first thing I did was do a competitor analysis. I believe it's important early on to identify what the value proposition of your service or business is so that you can build your core product offerings around that value proposition and carve out your own niche in a competitive landscape.
Part of figuring out this value proposition was also largely based around the pain points I found for job seekers and professionals, which was that there were plenty of resources and tools available, but they were so scattered. And if they weren't scattered, choices were expensive and didn't align with job seekers and professionals who are currently looking for jobs and unemployed, and can't afford to break open the piggy bank to improve their resume!
Once I figured out the value proposition of an all-in-one affordable platform, I quickly began to outline all the core features that job seekers and professionals needed. They needed professional resume tips, insights into what employers are looking for when they're trying to find the ideal candidate, and tools that would help them stand out as the leading candidate.
Early prototyping involved a constant stream of iterations to improve each tool. I wanted to make sure that as I was prototyping each feature, it was as good as it could be before moving forward to the next challenge.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Building and launching the business took several months. The company was completely bootstrapped from the ground-up with personal savings which were largely based around sweat equity and legal fees. Since I built and designed the platform from the ground-up myself, I didn't have to spend money on any extra employees, outsourced development, or sunk costs early on, which helped keep the startup costs lean.
I thought it was important to do a soft launch for several months because I wanted to work out all of the kinks first. More importantly, I felt that if I had to change strategies, it'd be much easier if the platform was still in its soft launch stage. So the platform was ready in late February 2020, and I announced it to friends and family hoping to garner more feedback, get initial customers, and rapidly improve on the platform based on user feedback.
During this soft launch phase which lasted a couple of months, I was constantly changing up the text on the website and doing A/B testing to identify what really connected with users and professionals who would visit the site.
It became clear to me that my initial designs of the website weren't accurately portraying the features of the platform fast enough, and that some of the calls to action weren't helping consumers identify exactly how it differentiated itself. So I was focused on constantly improving and iterating on the design of the website and CTAs to improve user engagement and brand awareness, and the reception was positive.
Now, our soft launch has concluded and we're doing our grand launch and the platform has received positive feedback, more users are signing up each day, and the changes and improvements made during the soft launch based on user feedback have proven to be tremendously helpful!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
There are several different factors that have led to us attracting and retaining our customers since we've launched. The first thing we've done is to educate them about the platform and get them to use it. Once our users have had a chance to poke around the platform and use some of its features, they see the value that it can provide them.
The second thing we've done to attract and retain our customers is to clearly differentiate ourselves from our competition. The industry that we're in is super competitive, and there are a ton of different product offerings. That's why I felt it was super important to make sure we could carve out our own niche with the platform, and we've been able to do that thus far by highlighting that ResumeCompass is an all-in-one platform and job seekers and professionals don't have to go to dozens of different solutions to find the answers they're looking for, and on top of it all it's affordable.
It's important to clearly outline the problems that you're attempting to solve. It's much easier to solve one problem than to try and solve one hundred problems at the same time. And with that, it's much easier to build one thing at a time than to try and build several.
The third thing that we've done to attract and retain new customers is to massively step up our organic search campaigns, SEO efforts, and blogging endeavors. My professional background comes in handy here as I can use my own SEO and organic search experience to quickly identify ways we need to step up our search engine efforts and tailor our content to our audience and their search intent quickly.
When someone is conducting a job search or looking to improve their resume, they often try to find answers online. We've rapidly stepped up our SEO efforts to try and get in front of our customers to help them answer those questions and access the tools they need.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The future is looking bright and the platform, its users, and subscribers are growing with each day. Monthly traffic is increasing and search engine rankings are rising. I'm currently rapidly prototyping new features and gaining feedback on those tools from our userbase to continually build out the platform.
Short term goals are currently focused on making sure that all the tools and features our audience needs are on the platform quickly. Long term goals are focused on increasing brand awareness and becoming a staple in the competitive industry.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
There have been so many helpful things or tips that have helped me build and launch the business that others could definitely find useful. For one, it's important to clearly outline the problems that you're attempting to solve. It's much easier to solve one problem than to try and solve one hundred problems at the same time. And with that, it's much easier to build one thing at a time than to try and build several. That's how I approached core features on ResumeCompass, which was to just build one thing really well before moving on to the next task.
When you try to keep the focus on one task or problem at a time, you don't get bogged down in the macro-level details. When you take a step back and look at all the things that need to be done as a business owner, developer, or entrepreneur - it can become overwhelming fast!
The next thing that's been super helpful is to be passionate. It is really hard to start a business in the modern landscape. I personally believe it has never been easier to enhance your education with all of the different types of education platforms, resources, and tools that give you all the things you need to turn your ideas into reality and develop those skills you need to succeed.
This also means that everything is inherently more competitive. That's where your passion really needs to play a role because you're going to struggle and you're going to question whether or not it's worth it in taking the leap of faith to start your own business. Being passionate about what you're doing and the problems you're attempting to solve are going to help you work a little extra harder when the going gets tough!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I don't listen to a lot of podcasts or read a lot of business books. I'm more of a fiction and sci-fi nerd myself in those categories, but what inspiration I do read and learn from is on sites like StarterStory. I find inspiration in what others are doing and their stories help motivate me to continue my own journey and learn from things that have been useful to others.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Clearly identify what problems you're trying to solve and make sure it's worth your time and effort.
I see so many other entrepreneurs try to solve a dozen problems all at once, or they flip-flop on what they're actually trying to do. Both of these methods will only cost you time, money, and heartache when it doesn't pan out. You need to clearly identify what you're hoping to solve and make sure that the market is big enough for your commitment. You don't want to spend thousands of hours working on something, only to realize that there are a handful of potential customers.
Make sure you're passionate about what you're doing.
As I've mentioned earlier, you're going to face struggles and tribulations on your entrepreneurial journey. There are going to be days where you are so excited to be working on something, and then you wake up the next day to question whether or not what you did the day before was truly worth the time it took. Your passion will help you power through those uncertain or down moments and often help to remind you why you're working so hard in the first place. Make sure that you're passionate about what you're doing because when things get rough (and they will), you need to fall back on why you're doing it in the first place.
Build an early prototype and get feedback as soon as possible.
You don't need to share your idea with everyone (in fact if you've got a great idea, don't go telling everyone), but you do need to get some early feedback and validation on your idea. Developing and launching a business takes time, and you don't want to wait until the last minute to make sure that others think your idea is solid and there is value in it. You want to make sure you get feedback quickly, so you can also implement that feedback and keep it in mind while you're developing and launching your business.
Most importantly, you can do it!
As I mentioned earlier, my professional background isn't in developing and launching software products or web applications. In most cases, you don't need to have the technical expertise or professional background required to succeed as an entrepreneur. Yes, it certainly helps, but it shouldn't hold you back from pursuing your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. In my opinion, hard work is the true indicator of success, and if you put work into truly solving the problems that consumers face - you'll be successful.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
At the moment I'm not looking to hire any additional help for positions within the company. But part-time internships or unpaid part-time internships down the road are possibilities if someone is looking to gain some experience and learn about building and launching a business, growing it organically, and rapidly developing new features on the platform.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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