We want to share a story where cool things are happening; we’re meeting challenges beyond anything faced before. We want to share the complete story, what we did right and what we did wrong. This isn’t a story about successes but it’s not a failure story either. More than anything it’s a story about the journey.
The Beginning of Rezi. From June 2015
This all came about because too many of my friends were unemployed, or worse, underemployed (spending $30,000+ on an education and not using it the way you want sucks). As I was updating my resume, I read a profile on the systems that large companies use to organize job applicants. Interested in this trend, I read the user guide of Taleo Enterprise; the most popular Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
The employment troubles of my well-educated peers came from the miseducation of proper resume construction, primarily the formatting and content. Understanding how the ATS parses a resume was key to crafting a correctly formatted resume. In addition to ATS systems was Jobscan.co, a brilliantly built piece of software that explains how to write resume content using keywords from the job description. Together, these two systems could be used to create an ATS optimized resume.
We used this knowledge to help our friends and college students who much like us faced the terrifying question after graduating school on how to apply an education towards landing a dream job. So a good friend, who is a brilliant designer amongst other things, and I decided to start a website to distribute our resume education and optimization solutions. Thus founding Rezi.
Fueled by brazen naivety and unlimited coffee from a favorite coffee shop our initial goal was to launch Rezi in two days. Start to finish. Website. Product. Finances. Accounts. What a joke. Creating a business is a tireless process that will only cease when you give up or stop working completely. So we continued.
Since then, we’ve secured partnerships with many up-and-coming companies allowing us to work alongside those who share our vision. We’ve helped tens of thousands of job seekers with our resume education resources and hundreds of students with our templates alone. We’ve also just launched Rezi.kr, and doubled our team from 2 to 4.
The “Welcome to Rural Korea” Stage. From November 2015 to June 2016
I moved to South Korea on November 1st to teach English. I had made the decision for three reasons. The first being I wanted to experience other cultures while I was still young; largely inspired by my father’s travels. Second, teaching English would reprieve me from the realities of corporate America. Third, and most ambitiously, I wanted to introduce Rezi to Korean students.
I think introducing Rezi to Korea is the most interesting reason, so let’s talk about that, starting with “Why Korea?”
South Korea is a natural fit Rezi since it’s responsible for sending the third largest cohort of foreign students to the United States. But that’s hardly the only reason; you can read an awesome article on Korean startup culture here. In summary, Park Geun-hye has pledged to establish a “creative economy” to reform job creation and create a startup ecosystem with the help of industry giants like Google, and it’s happening. I believe the best years are coming as these programs mature and a shift of cultural conscience allows young Koreans to warm up to the idea of ditching corporate Korea in favor of a startup.
It took five months before Rezi made progress in Korea. I first lived in Iksan, which made it difficult to connect with people who spoke English. Yet, fortune was on my side. I met a really awesome person who spoke perfect English, and she also studied in San Francisco, which sparked a curiosity for the startup scene. After a week of planning we set out to make Rezi.kr a reality; full and native translations, branding that resonates with young Koreans, marketing strategies, pricing, etc. Thank god for 2Checkout. Did you know there’s only one processor that accepts payments from South Korea? Rezi.kr launched on Sunday, March 27th.
The “Welcome to Seoul” Stage. From July 2016 to Today
On July 1st I moved to Seoul.
What we’ve done right:
• Rezi Instant. Holy Fuck this is awesome.
• Resumes are boring. A major challenge was branding Rezi in a way that resonated with our niche—students. If we failed to do this, the company would fail. An overwhelming majority of resume companies fail to integrate contemporary design principles into branding.
For us, it started with the name; Rezi. A playful name that hints at our products yet doesn’t explicitly use the word “Resume”… Far too many resume companies call themselves a deviation of “XYZ Resumes” or “Resume XYZ” and doing so puts them at a significant disadvantage. Resumes are boring, remember?
• Offering ATS optimized templates as a blanket solution. Students are hesitant to drop a lot of money on a resume (I don’t blame them). However, as I mentioned earlier in this write up, crap resumes can create life-altering problems for students. The templates we sell are affordable, just 10 bucks for two of them. They’ve been optimized and re-optimized dozens of times, and have gotten tons of students though ATS systems used by some pretty kick ass companies, so we are confident they work. We’ve been able to help a lot of students with templates. This makes me feel great.
• Understanding the economics of the resume industry (A big thank you to Prof. R. Deneckere). The resume industry has no barriers to entry, which means anyone can start a “resume writing” business with ease… and many do. Assuming most products are roughly the same quality (Rezi being superior of course), the customer has the freedom of choice, which is influenced by a few factors; sensitivity to price, perception of the product/company, and marketing. We’ve spent a great deal of time ensuring our bases are covered; the template takes care of price-sensitive customers, our branding evokes happiness and trust, and we work hard to think of innovative marketing strategies.
Not quite right yet:
• Our site is built using WordPress and a theme that is no longer supported. Using better out-of-the-box solution, like Shopify, would have allowed for more rigorous marketing; offering incentives (discounts), remarketing, giveaways, you name it… One day we will have to abandon our WordPress theme in favor of a better solution—a headache for another day. However, the website optimization tool CrazyEgg allowed us to create a highly optimized (converting) website that seamlessly guides users from landing page to checkout. Still, not the best idea to use an unsupported WordPress theme.
• One co-founder is in New York City, the other is in South Korea. Communication is difficult. There’s one two-hour window in the morning and another in the evening during which we can collaborate. Slows everything down like crazy.
We haven’t created the universal resume solution. We want every student to have access to the ATS optimized templates at no cost. We’re working out the details of having a generator made that will automatically format your information into either the ALPHA or BETA format which can then be downloaded into a PDF. The OMEGA Template has yet to be created; Omega, meaning the “final” template.
Rezi started as an idea scribbled on the back of a napkin. I’m thrilled to see how far we’ve come since that afternoon. It’s been an incredible journey. We will continue forward.