Alumnus finds his niche helping others find theirs


By W. Scott Giglio

FLORHAM (July 29, 2014) — While he has a good day job as the assistant director of marketing and social media for Rutgers University Recreation Department, FDU alumnus Kevin O’Connell has a second gig. It’s called the Niche Movement.

“Right now the Niche Movement is a way to help this generation find a job they love,” says O’Connell. “The way we prepare the workforce isn’t the way the real world is expecting them to be ready.”

Also, those looking to enter the workforce aren’t always finding what they seek.

Kevin O'Connell

Kevin O'Connell, '06, is the founder of The Niche Movement

“Some of the key characteristics 20-somethings are looking for in a job are autonomy, flexibility in schedule, something they can be passionate about, and the opportunity to contribute,” says O’Connell. “We want to point 20-somethings to the direction of ‘There is a job out there for you that you will love.’”

The Niche Movement — which has been profiled on Higher Ed Geek and also made this Buzzfeed list on jobs — hosts workshops, keynotes, and other events to help young professionals and college students to figure out their career path. Its website has a blog with 12 contributing editors that provide advice on topics such as networking and entrepreneurism, and back it up with life experience.

The website also features a monthly interview series on a person who found their niche and loves their job. The goal is to create a pipeline between talented students and up-and-coming organizations.

“We want to find jobs for 20-somethings where they actually want to work,” he says.

O’Connell gave more attention to his side project when he decided to take a 30-day blog challenge to come up with something to share on the website for each of those days.

That became the beginning of his book, The Niche Movement: New Rules for Finding a Career You Love.

He has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish the book, which aims to debunk common ideologies surrounding the job search, entry level employment and employment unhappiness by offering true, inspirational stories along with research and advice from experts and influencers from around the world who chose not to take the conventional approach to career exploration.

O’Connell, who graduated from the Florham Campus in 2006, credits FDU with helping transform him from a shy teenager into a confident leader. While a student, he was a founder and eventually president of The Marketing Mix, he started student Habitat for Humanity service trips, and he played on the Devils golf team for four seasons.

His Kickstarter page can be found here.