Kick-start your job search with new Yahoo social network

Y! Kickstart is a social network for career-minded college students and recent grads

Yahoo launched a new professional social network called Y! Kickstart Sunday aimed at helping college students take the social networking skills they perfected for fun during college and use them to launch their professional lives.

Kickstart is designed to connect college students and recent graduates with alums and professionals to find jobs, internships and career advice, said Scott Gatz, Yahoo senior director of advanced products, who wrote in a blog post about Kickstart.

For many college students, "submitting resumes to job sites or companies seems like a black hole," Gatz noted. "Enter Kickstart. It's based on the premise that everyone does have a network: the school you went to, the frat/sorority you were in, the professional/interest group you are in, the companies you interned with or worked at. Kickstart makes it easy to create and browse that kind of network."

The site now is in a "preview" release, Yahoo noted, with the company now mainly focused on getting alumni and professionals to join. The U.S. college with the most alumni signed up on Kickstart will get a US$25,000 donation to their alumni program, Gatz added.

Andy Beal, who operates the Marketing Pilgrim blog, noted that with Kickstart, Yahoo is hoping to fill a "big, gaping hole between Facebook and LinkedIn."

While Facebook is too whimsical to use for professional networking, Beal asserted, LinkedIn is "too vast."

"Yahoo hopes that Kickstart will be useful for anyone hoping to capitalize from their college association. Kickstart is a smart idea, especially when you consider that we all play favorites to anyone that shares our alma mater."

In a report released last month, Forrester Research Inc. urged companies to consider using social networks and other Web 2.0 tools to try to recruit future employees. To find the best talent, Forrester reported, companies must weave social computing efforts into recruitment efforts to ensure they are getting the best talent. That is because younger workers and, increasingly, older workers are turning to social networks for information and to build relationships. About 70% of online users between 18 and 23 use social networks, the report noted.

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