Redefining work experience for college grads

To get a job you need experience, to get experience you need a job.

This is a conundrum that thousands and thousands of recent college graduates face every year. Post University alum James Tansley is hoping to come up with a solution.

James Tansley

James Tansley, creator of Workula

Tansley, who graduated from Post in 2009 with a B.A. in Computer Information Systems, has recently launched a professional network called “Workula” that allows users to share work experience in the form of status updates, project pages, and contributions on works created by others.

The site, which launched last month and has approximately 35 users, provides an alternative to recent grads with limited resumes by allowing them to create a webpage detailing non-traditional accomplishments.

“I feel the way we define work experience right now is the number of years we spend at a certain company, and that really puts college graduates at a disadvantage,” said Tansley.

Time spent at a job or internship is accounted for on Workula, but users can also include just about anything that has helped them build their brand or make them more marketable. This includes what they’re learning in a certain class or program, work they’ve done to help other people and even homework assignments and projects they’ve completed.

While at Post, Tansley completed an internship at Realized Solutions, Inc. and currently holds a full-time position at United Health Group.

“The small community at Post gave me a close mentorship with my professors, and that mentorship, helped me get an internship I was able to turn into a job,” he said. “It was great to be able to learn from professors that were in the industry and acquire the real-life knowledge from them.”

He quickly realized though, that some of his friends and fellow classmates were not in as fortunate of a position as he was coming out of school.

“I thought it was unfair to see smart students miss that small window of opportunity, and how difficult that made getting a job,” he said.

This concern about helping smart graduates become more employable, along with a desire to apply the education he received at Post, were the reasons for pursuing this new venture, said Tansley.

“Post helped get me to where I am today and I’d love to turn this into something that can help current Post students down the line,” he said.

Workula is in an early prototype stage as Tansley searches for feedback on ways to make the site a go-to place to search for talent and create visibility for people with useful knowledge and skills, even if they don’t yet have extensive work experience. Changes and adaptations will be made as feedback is received and the site begins to add additional users, according to Tansley.

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