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Vault.com Undergoes a Career Change

June 23, 2009
With companies undergoing multiple rounds of layoffs and the nation’s unemployment rate creeping toward 10 percent, it may seem counterintuitive for anyone to be investing in job Web sites.

But the economic downturn hasn’t shelved expansion plans for career Web site Vault.com, which on Tuesday, June 23, unveiled a multimillion-dollar revamp.

“If you’re an attorney, it’s not the same world now. If you’re in finance, your world is very different,” said Erik Sorenson, president and chief executive of Vault. “The definition of a career has changed in the last decade; we’re not necessarily going to sit in one silo for our entire work life.”

The new Vault.com includes a number of features aimed at moving the Web site beyond mere job hunting and into what Sorenson calls “career management.” Vault is adding more than 150 industries to its coverage, moving beyond the professional services realm into fields as varied as health care, energy and government. The new site features nearly 500 professions, up from around 60, and includes blogs, industry-specific news and video from publishers such as Dow Jones and TheStreet.com.

But key to the site’s revamp is MyVault, a customizable interface that allows users to create profiles of their interests. Through those profiles, they can follow customized news feeds and find other information related to them specifically. MyVault is part of a broader goal to push tailored information to Vault users, rather than having them look for it, Sorenson says.

“If you’re really focused on something, it’s worth giving us some profile information so we can push the relevant content to you,” he said.

Sorenson joined Vault in 2007, when the company was acquired by private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Vault’s founders—three Stanford grads who launched the company in 1996—were named Crain’s New York Business Top Entrepreneurs in 2005.

Tuesday’s revamp is the first major change at Vault since Veronis took over; traffic—between 2 million and 2.5 million unique visitors a month—had leveled off in recent months, after years of growth. But the lagging economy may be helpful for smaller sites like Vault, which appeal to job seekers with their personalized feel.

“It’s no longer ‘just get the job,’ ” said Charlie O’Donnell, co-founder and CEO of career site Path101.com. “The job that’s right for you is also the job you have a higher percentage chance of getting. So finding which jobs are appropriate for you helps you filter.”

Path101 has members fill out of an extensive survey to give them guidance on which jobs are most appropriate for them.

For Vault, recession resistance also comes in the form of three revenue streams. The company makes money through advertising and from premium subscribers, and also sells its services to institutions such as universities and libraries. Sorenson also says he hopes Vault will be well-positioned when more jobs become available.

“I think people are just getting their brains around what happened to the economy and their career,” he said. “It feels like things have stabilized, and people are starting to calibrate.”

Filed by Kira Bindrim of Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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