“I have landed my dream job!!!! I am so grateful for your team and my resume writer! My resume and cover letter stood out among the crowd!"... "If you are out there virtually and have reached the glass ceiling at your company or you are out of work and looking for a job, make the investment in joining the Ladders.com and paying for the additional service to have their set of professional resume writers re-write your resume. You know you are amazing, so let their experts create a resume that showcases your expertise. Don't let your ho-hum resume cost you the opportunity to land your dream job.”Resume Rewrite Client ~ Jennifer ~ Fort Myers, FL
“Excellent job. What a dream! If this (resume) is not a bait, then what is :) Well worth the price!”Resume Rewrite Client ~ Jouni L. ~ Irving, TX
The past week has been really exciting. We (TheLadders) now have more than 15,000 recruiters and employers actively using our tools and services.
We’ve been experiencing increased growth due to recently expanding our services to professional candidates of any career level, as well as the continued success of TheLadders Passport™, which helps recruiters find the right match for their jobs at no cost. Since expanding our services, two out of three new job seekers that come to TheLadders are earning annual salaries under $100K. In the same timeframe, the number of jobs posted on TheLadders.com has increased by 80%.
“In the past year, more than 15,000 of the nation’s top recruiters have leveraged TheLadders to find professional-level candidates faster,” said Alex Douzet, president and co-founder of TheLadders. “Recruiters have recognized they gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace because we offer solutions and tools that save them hours upon hours of time every week.”
Passport, a limited set of TheLadders tools available to recruiters for free, has seen more than 33 percent growth since launching its free search access in August. In addition to searching for professional candidates on TheLadders, recruiters who join Passport also receive:
- A Job Post to advertise their open job to more than 5 million professional-level candidates
- Access to Pipeline™, TheLadders social recruitment tool, which helps recruiters build and engage their own network of top candidates
- Candidate Management tools that easily store, sort, access and organize candidates
For immediate information related to staffing, recruiters or employers can call TheLadders at 866-292-7083 to speak with one of our top enterprise representatives or visit us online.
Denise Cautela is the VP, Enterprise Marketing at TheLadders. Denise is a veteran in the online recruitment space with more years as a marketer than she cares to admit. In the limited spare time she has between being
a VP at TheLadders and parenting, she is also a
passionate advocate for issues around women
in the workplace and single mothers.
“John, my Career Advisor, was available to me in lining up opportunities, advising through the negotiation process, even coaching me through my transition. His coaching along the way was critical.”~ TheLadders Signature member ~ Ed S.
TheLadders blog is always sharing great stories about how our team helps our members, but we’re also proud of the accomplishments our team make out of the office. Today, I’d like to share with you a story about Michael Castro. Mike first started at TheLadders almost 2 years ago as a Job Search Advisor. It was his job to help TheLadders members use the site and to find the right jobs for the right person.
But Mike had a talent and passion that we didn’t know about.
Mike is an amazing and talented filmmaker. When he isn’t writing or performing his own music, he’s shooting videos and films on his Canon 5D. TheLadders first saw his talents come to life when Anita Samojednik, TheLadders VP of Customer Operations, had Mike make a film about his fellow Job Search Advisors for a QTF (Quarterly Talk Forum) meeting. Everyone was blown away by the quality and style of the video. I’ve personally worked in film and video with top commercial directors, and I was overwhelmed. TheLadders had a top director and editor in our midst. TheLadders CEO & Founder Marc Cenedella made it clear we needed to put his talents to good use. Mike moved over to TheLadders UX group, and over the past year has shot and edited over 15 videos. You can see all of his work for TheLadders on our YouTube channel – combined his TheLadders videos have almost 50,000 views.
Recently, Mike submitted a short film to the LA Comedy Shorts Festival. TheLadders is proud of our talented editor and producer, Michael Castro. Please watch and witness the talent we see everyday.
A short film by Mayfair Jollies.
Written by Jason Resnikoff & Shalani Tripathi
Directed, shot and edited by Mike Castro
Produced by Joe O’Brien, Mike Castro and Jason Resnikoff
“Yanina was instrumental in my job search and walked me through every step of the way. She gave me the resources and support I needed.”...“I wouldn’t be here, working my dream job, if I had done it alone.”TheLadders Signature member ~ Trish A.
Job seekers, recruiters and hiring executives have an increasing number of options to choose from when seeking their next great move/perfect candidate. We believe TheLadders is uniquely positioned to help both sides of the ecosystem achieve success. TheLadders invented the first job site for $100k+ job seekers 8 years ago. And, this year, TheLadders turned the industry on its head (again) by launching the first “job offer guarantee.”
So how did TheLadders invent an offering like Signature, our coach-led program proven so effective we guarantee the outcome? Eight years of data serving the $100k+ segment definitely helped. Latest technology and academic research didn’t hurt either. Our near-famous, unlimited snack area? Maybe.
I’d argue the differentiator is our people. People who are smart & incredibly passionate about careers. People who understand success occurs at the intersection of technology and people (yes, I’ve been reading the Steve Job biography). People who put job seekers success first. That’s what we mean with our new tagline, Your Career Is Our Job™.
We believe in our people so much, we looked internally when developing our new tagline and brand promise. Yes, we validated the heck out of it externally – but the important takeaway is the idea started right here. And when we had to showcase our new tagline at our 9/20 NYSE event, we again turned to our colleagues. Enjoy a video created in-house by the UX team’s Mike Castro (who was once a Job Search Advisor) with support from Todd Hoza (our creative director) and Kate Addicott (our copywriter and tweet-miser of @TheLadders).
We enjoyed making the video. Hope you enjoy watching it.
Nicholas Karrat is Vice President of Marketing for TheLadders.com. He’s passionate about building great brands (e.g., TheLadders), traveling with his family and October baseball. He’s been waiting ~20 years for “the call” from the Yankees…any minute…
“Ashley and I had an immediate rapport. She had high energy, stayed positive and was excellent at follow through, which made me feel my success was just as important to her as it was to me.”Signature Member Caroline K.
A few weeks ago one of our talented Interactive Designers, Michelle Zassenhaus, suggested we pitch TheLadders executive team on a persona research project. We discussed the need and merit of this project for a while without reaching a clear consensus. Where I was getting stuck was the need for this exercise given how much face time we actually have with our customers. We run usability testing every week. We call customers on an ad hoc basis but it amounts to nearly weekly conversations. The company has an annual focus group initiative and our customer service teams are always vocal with prevalent customer issues. In short, we know our users. So why would we need to create personas?
I posed the question to several folks including Tristan Kromer. Tristan suggested that instead of trying to sell the organization on an expensive project where they weren’t sure what they would be getting for their money and we, the UX team, couldn’t cohesively articulate why we were even doing it, we should introduce the executive team to the concept of personas as a corporate alignment tool. The idea seemed not only viable but also valuable. At the end of that lunch-time chat, I promised Tristan I’d write a blog post recapping the activity and its results. And so, here we are.
I decided to pitch the organization on a proto-persona (aka ad-hoc persona) exercise where the executive team would articulate who they believed we were building products for and how our current and future offerings would meet their needs in the near-term future. My belief was that in each of their points of view, the executive team had a different target audience in mind. In addition, I believed that many of them were approaching corporate strategy from the inside out – in other words, from their particular discipline (e.g., marketing, products/features, services, customer support, etc) and not from a customer-centric point of view. The goal of the exercise was to get everybody’s points of view out on the table and then consolidated into a single, shared consensus about who we believe our customers are and what needs of theirs we should be solving in 2012 and beyond.
My timing could not have been any better. The team was going through the nascent stages of 2012 planning and, if I could have the exercise pulled together quickly, we could build it into their process. I built a quick proposal where I articulated a problem statement, the objectives and goals of the exercise and the specific methodology we would employ to achieve those goals. Michelle and I reviewed it a bit and off it went for executive approval. Luckily for us it was quickly approved and I was cleared to book the executive team for two, 3-hour meetings over the next two weeks.
(It’s worth mentioning that our target audience had broadly expanded in the month prior to these exercises. In October 2011, TheLadders expanded its market reach from the $100k+ salary range to include professionals of all levels. This opened our products and service to a whole new set of potential customers. )
Day 1 – persona creation
The first day consisted of pulling the team together from noon to 3pm (pizzas were brought in) and presenting them a short introduction. The presentation stressed that we were going to look at the company from the customer’s point of view. Our goal was to articulate who the customer was (or were) and what needs they have that we could choose to serve or not serve. Michelle and I introduced the executives to the concept of an ad-hoc persona by explaining that these were going to be “people” they believed were going to be our customers now and in the coming future. It was important for us to stress the difference between real personas and ad-hoc ones. These were not going to be research-proven customer archetypes. They were however going to be reference points which the team can use as filters in the 2012 planning and decision-making process. We closed the short pitch with examples of what they’d be creating.
The team was going to sketch quadrants for each persona. Here is an example of a finished persona:
The top left quadrant was for a sketch of the individual, a name and some basic demographics.
The top right quadrant was for behaviors and beliefs of the persona.
The bottom left quadrant was for demographics.
The bottom right quadrant was for needs and goals.
The team was given 15 minutes to create as many personas as they could or felt were necessary.
Once complete, each executive presented their persona to the team. They read the persona out loud and posted up on a wall. The team would then provide some feedback on the realistic qualities (or not) of that persona and some real-time adjustments were made.
Next, the team was asked to place each persona on a set of 5 spectrums. The spectrums were: years of experience, education, ambition, risk tolerance and tech savviness. Each executive was given three Agile planning poker cards. The cards had the numbers 1, 3 or 5 on them and the team was asked to vote by raising the card they felt most appropriately mapped where each persona fell on each spectrum.
Much like Agile planning poker, if there was consensus there was minimal discussion. If , however, there were outliers or a broad distribution of opinion on where a particular persona lay on a particular spectrum, we encouraged the team to discuss and debate that. In many cases, the outliers managed to sway some votes. In other cases the majority won and in still other cases the team made real-time adjustments to their personas to more closely match their view of our target audience.
As each name was voted on the spectrum, their name was written on the whiteboard in the appropriate spot. Almost instantly, patterns began to form. There were clear clusters and clear outliers. At the end of the 3 hours exercise we had a board filled with personas and persona names mapped to spectrums.
We ended the exercise by thanking the team and letting them go for the day. Michelle and I spent the next few days consolidating the 20+ personas that were created down into a manageable size based on their spectrum distributions. We wanted to get to 3-5. We ended up with 6.
Day 2 – Persona verification and design studio
Day two began with donuts. It was morning and it was early. Donuts help. A lot.
We began the exercise with the team by going over the consolidated set of personas. We’d sent the team the document in advance of the meeting so they would come in , in theory, prepared to discuss. We projected each persona and began a vigorous discussion around their validity not only as a “real” person but also as a customer that we wanted to support moving forward. This part of the exercise truly engaged the team. Strong opinions were presented and an excellent debate ensued around some of the newer customer types were now attracting to the site.
Each persona was reviewed in detail and adjusted, in real-time, to provide a representation that the team could agree upon. This was probably the part of the two-day exercise where the most consensus was built. At the end, we still had 6 personas but they were now modified enough to where the team was comfortable with all of them as viable customers (Note: interestingly, one contentious persona had to get down to a vote and made it in as a customer by a vote of 5-4).
The second half of this exercise was a design studio. Many articles have been written about how to run these and we use them regularly with the staff at TheLadders. We modified this one for time and focus. The first 5 minute round of sketching consisted of a single 6-up template for each executive team member.
Each executive presented and got critique from the others. The team was then split into two groups based simply on where they were seated and asked to consolidate their sketches in to one big sticky note drawing. The drawings were all supposed to be of TheLadders.com home page articulating value propositions that were relevant to the 6 personas. Each critique session asked how the designs presented were valid for the various personas. The teams consolidated their visions into two big drawings that amazingly enough converged on similar themes.
We dismissed the team, thanked them for their time and asked for any feedback (good or bad) on the exercise. We followed up with a summary email that recapped what we did and what the themes were that we found. In addition, we stressed again that these were our beliefs and that, now that we had them, we will be using them to drive recruiting for usability studies, compare them against other customer samples and will update and adjust them as we find characteristics of real customers that go against our initial beliefs.
The one final asset we created was a printed deck of persona cards so that these ideas could easily come to any executive meeting – especially the ones where we were not present.
We had several goals when we set out to run this exercise with the executive team. The first was to introduce them to the concept of personas. We achieved this goal to the extent that the team now knows what this tool is and what components make it up. Given that these were ad-hoc personas, it is incumbent on us, the UX team, to continue to update the 6 personas we created as we learn more from actual user interactions. We must then update the executives with these new details.
The second goal was to get the executive team thinking from a customer-centric point of view. For the duration of the exercise we succeeded though it was a constant effort to keep the conversation focused this way. Each executive’s tendency was to fall back to their traditional points of view based on their responsibilities and, as moderators, it was our job to bring the focus back to the customers. One additional thing that I found particularly interesting was the team’s tendency to present their feedback and insights to me, the moderator, as opposed to their teammates. Our goal was to have the team debating each other and, while that happened at times, much of the conversation was happening with the moderator (Michelle or I) as the initial recipient who would then bounce the dialogue back to the team. Beyond the exercise, it’s too early to tell how successful we’ve been. Our hope is that the printed card deck will serve as a reminder for the team.
The third goal was align the executive team around a target audience and get them to debate and agree upon value propositions that serve the needs and goals of that audience. Again, within the constraints of the exercise I believe we were successful. We created over 20 ad-hoc personas and consolidated down to an agreed-upon set of six. We designed landing pages for those personas that spoke to the value of the products and services we’d offer them in 2012. There was consistency in the themes the team raised and a general acknowledgment of a shared understanding. Will this alignment last into future planning meetings? Again, it’s too early to tell but early indications point to only minor erosion of these initial ideas.
This article was first published at jeffgothelf.com
Jeff Gothelf is the Director of UX at TheLadders. He’s also the author of Lean UX: Getting Out of the Deliverables Business (O’Reilly, 2012), Agile practitioner, interaction designer, blogger, public speaker, author and design/product thinker.
Let’s just put in out there, the job search isn’t an easy one.
The questions one has during the search are endless. Should my resume be multiple pages long? How soon after applying should I follow up? How do I follow up? How do I go about finding job postings at a particular company? I’m fearful I may price myself right out of the running – how much should I ask for?
So while many of us have personal trainers or financial advisors, we really don’t have a place to turn for expert advice around the job search. That is, until now. TheLadders Signature program is a proven 6-month program that gives you one-to-one advice from one of our certified professional career coaches (CPCC).
I turned to one of the best Career Advisors here at TheLadders, John Scottaline. What qualifies John? Well, in addition to being a certified career professional, John has placed 5 $100K+ job seekers into new roles in the past 5 months (as this is a 6 month program, I would say John is doing extremely well). Here are some of John’s best tips:
Don’t be shy – network.
Networking is one of the BEST ways to find out about jobs. Whether it is through industry and professional events, alumni organizations or your local PTA, there are many contacts to be made. By going to events and meeting people, this gives you the ability to learn about a position not yet posted or ones you may have overlooked. It can also help you get your foot in the door and help you land an interview. So get out there and start filling up your contact list!
Your resume is your first round of interviewing.
John says that there are many common resume mistakes, like including an objective statement rather than an executive summary – not having a title, providing too much information or in some cases not enough. Having a professionally written resume is definitely an avenue to consider.
Some best practices include having a brief description of the each company you’ve worked for with size and scope of the business. Each title should have a few sentences of responsibilities and, after the brief description, it’s best to select the right achievements to add in bullet points.
Salary negotiations – know what your worth!
Many job seekers are afraid their previous or current salary will hurt their current negotiation. John’s advice: “Know what your worth!” Doing a little research on salaries of people with your skillset and experience is the way to start and there are many tools out there to use. Don’t just factor in salary. This should be inclusive of bonus, vacation time, 401K, medical benefits, etc. Then take that knowledge with your compensation goal and do a check to see if they are in line with one another. Finally, you must ask yourself what you are willing to compromise, such as less vacation for a larger base salary.
If you want to learn more about how TheLadders can help you advance your career, visit our Signature site.