Product design at TopResume:
A toolkit to make the job search easier for job-seekers.
TopResume is one of the largest career-services brands in the world, providing job-search advice and products to a huge chunk of the job-seeker market each year. As the lead designer on the Product team, I am constantly working to improve existing products and prototyping future ideas.
TopResume’s customers expect a great and easy experience that takes the stress out of the very opaque process of “how to properly write a resume.” However, our existing post-purchase flow was fragmented, used outdated branding, and wasn’t always getting our writers the information they needed to provide a great experience.
We designed an account dashboard with messaging for every stage of the customer lifecycle from account creation to order completion. The goal was to make life simple: every visit to this page would either inform you what we need from you to continue and where to give us that information, or give you information on what we’re working on and when it will be ready.
In addition, we created a new design language for our iconography that is more modern but suited to the personal, document-centric resume-writing business. Our goal was to make the process feel friendly yet professional and add some levity to what can be a tedious information-gathering process.
The Resume Critique
TopResume’s expert resume critique goes out to millions of people each year. Since its debut, it took the form of a long, personalized letter detailing issues with the customer’s resume, combined with a section showing the customer how their resume would be scanned and parsed for recruiters by common applicant tracking software:
Over the course of a year, the engineering and product teams worked together to evolve the critique from a subjective document to a data-driven report. We used machine learning and other automated tools to pick out problematic areas in a variety of fields including writing style, visual formatting, and software compatibility, all compiled by a resume expert into actionable and helpful advice.
As the advice and the intelligence driving it became more sophisticated, the critique’s long letter format became less and less optimal for delivering the information with the context and visuals to give the customer the greatest impact. We found ourselves continually hitting a ceiling where we were unable to add more great advice to the critique without hurting conversion rate by making the document too long to be inviting. It was clear we needed a new interface that could grow with the content.
I proposed a radically different app-like design for the resume critique, and working closely with the rest of the product team, CEO, and marketing, rapidly developed prototypes with real user data that we then put in front of customers for validation. After ironing out some interaction issues found in user testing, we deployed the new critique to a small percentage of users to gather data on behavior changes and conversion rates, making tweaks along the way in response to the data.
TopResume’s freemium product, a personalized expert resume critique, goes out to millions of people each year, but doesn’t allow for repeat usage.
To provide more value to job-seekers looking to perfect their resumes, we built a fully-automated version of the critique called the Scorecard that gives people insight into how their resume gets pulled apart and shown to recruiters by automated hiring software that is pervasive in the hiring process.
TopResume has a unique opportunity to provide context to the scan results by comparing them to the millions of other scan results we’ve done for others using machine learning. Visualizing this data in a simple way was key for the Scorecard. To start, we put file-size and word-count into perspective, showing people where they fell on the spectrum, as well as when they were out of range for what’s industry-standard good length or size for the job-hunt.
User testing revealed that users found the Scorecard to be a valuable tool that was successful at contextualizing the importance of computer-readable resumes. Upon launch, Scorecard increased our engaged user-base by 8% and added an additional $100,000 in revenue in three months.