As mobile phone use continues to boom across the developing world, demand for Souktel’s JobMatch has grown quickly. Since the start of 2010, the service has expanded into new countries across East Africa and the Middle East.
Last month, this expansion continued as Souktel welcomed veteran software project managers Uqba Owda and Mohannad Zalloom to its Middle East IT hub in Ramallah, Palestine. With a bigger team, Souktel is now poised to take on new projects and partnerships.
Working for clients such as Orange Mobile and France Telecom, Owda has also managed complex projects as a senior developer at Ideal-Soft in Dubai, UAE, and is fluent in English, French and Arabic. Zalloom, meanwhile, has ten years of software development behind him, including mobile application design for leading Palestinian firm Assali Tech. At Souktel, he will be focusing on the open-source RapidSMS platform.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this team,” offered Owda. “Souktel’s focus on technology for social change is really unique, and I look forward to contributing my own skills here–so that services like JobMatch become even better and more accessible to people who need them”.
New SMS-to-Email CV Service
Already, the new developers are hard at work, creating a new JobMatch feature which lets job-seekers send full-length CVs to employers’ email inboxes—just by texting a basic command from their mobile.
Currently, people who hope to find work through JobMatch must create a simple “mini-CV” by SMS, answering five or six text-message questions about their work and education background. These listings are then uploaded by mobile to a central database, which employers can search by web or phone.
It’s a great solution for people who have no computer access, but Souktel focus groups have shown that many JobMatch users do use the Internet occasionally—even if it’s at a cafe for a few minutes each month—and want more options for getting in touch with employers.
“Even in rural East Africa, we saw that job-seekers wanted the ability to create a full-length CV which would tell the whole story about their work experience,” explains Souktel co-founder Mohammad Kilany. “Now we’re giving them that chance: Whenever you’re at a computer, you can log on to the web version of JobMatch and attach your Word or PDF resume to your online profile. Then, you can leave the Internet cafe and search for jobs via SMS, which is what most people do”.
“Any time you see an SMS job listing and you want to apply for that job, you just write a simple text message that says ‘apply’, followed by the employer’s email address. When you send that SMS, it tells our system to grab your the full-length CV and automatically forward it to the employer’s email account”.
Kilany believes this “SMS to email” feature will boost job-seekers’ chances of finding work: “Now you don’t need regular web access to submit a professional job application. You send an SMS command from your phone, and employers receive a regular email with your CV. They don’t see any difference between you and someone who owns their own laptop. It really levels the playing field for job-seekers who have skills but can’t afford to use a computer all the time”.