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Vault - cracked?
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by Preeti Khicha
May 18, 2009

The experience of choosing a school, a profession or an employer can be overwhelming. Calculating the seemingly innumerable variables for the best outcome can be mind-boggling. Enter the website, which attempts to instill some method into the madness. Vault proclaims to be a multifaceted business, offering products and services for those embarking on a new phase in their academic or professional lives.

Brandchannel decided to check out the brand’s online portal to see if the website’s brand—which is ostensibly both pragmatic and professional—is truly in line with its offerings and functionality. Is Vault truly different than the morass of other vanilla career-related portals, or is it just another platform of hyped-up platitudes and a series of forgettable clicks in cyberspace?

Upon entering, visitors are confronted with strong messaging and career advice that acknowledges mounting layoffs across a variety of industries; presumably—regardless of how brutally accurate the information may be—this is not the most welcome and comforting news for a job seeker. But it’s true. It is brutal out there, and at least Vault is honest and does not make lofty promises or rosy predictions it can’t back up. Effective brand promises are seeded in reality, and Vault is matter-of-fact about the current state of the market.

A deeper exploration of the site reveals that is both useful and serious. With insider information on schools, companies and industries, Vault provides visitors with sincere insights and real-world information. From showcasing employers to tips on succeeding in the interview process, the advice on is comprehensive, relevant and practical. Sure, other sites offer similar tips, but Vault caters to everyone from students to seasoned professionals who are moving their lives forward in one form or another.

If you’re a college sophomore contemplating an industry in which to begin a career, browse through the “Industry” section, which provides comprehensive material on possibilities ranging from biotechnology to book publishing. In particular, Vault is known for its expert coverage of the consulting and banking industries. However, access to all of Vault’s material and resources does come at a cost, as visitors must pay a fee to become a member to access every area of the website and chat with career counselors. But choosing a career track is an important decision, and the money may be worth it to some. Other job seekers may consider the free occupational profiles a valuable section, where a highlighted box cleverly showcases the positives, negatives and personality match of a particular job role.

Another intriguing area of the site is the rankings section, where visitors can access sharp advice on popular employers and colleges. However, the site’s real attention grabber is the “salary surveys,” where information on salaries is provided through the anecdotes of current employees. This is reassuring for wary job seekers who feel that this important information deserves more than being mentioned in a list or graph, as is common on other sites.

Furthermore, the company profiles and interview guides are helpful to job seekers preparing for an interview. There is also a virtual drawer filled with material on resume and cover letter preparation; though such amenities are not exactly unique resources and tools, they do provide visitors with a one-stop option for their job seeking needs.

For current advice and insights with a more personal touch, job seekers can head to the message board section and discuss the latest developments in the marketplace. Visitors can post their messages in specific industry boards and easily communicate with fellow job hunters or industry professionals. Apart from providing the standard industry-specific job searches on the “Job Board,”—unlike and Yahoo jobs, where jobs are posted without much screening—more effectively matches particular jobs with particular job seekers.

To provide a break from simply reading the website, visitors can also explore the videos section, which features real-life experiences and testimonials of professionals and students. There’s also an online shopping section, where visitors can buy “Vault Guides” if they prefer to read material in print. does, however, have significant brand-related flaws. The layout, for example, is hampered in some aspects—beginning with the highly unattractive and unprofessional looking Google ads, which are not only distracting, but also clunky and an aesthetic disaster. From a branding perspective, this diminished quality of the site directly opposes the brand promise of receiving polished and professional information in a streamlined platform. The different-sized boxes are randomly displayed and give a scattered appearance. Not exactly a confidence-building attribute for already skittish job seekers.

Yet, for those who can afford the membership benefits and see past the aesthetic shortcomings, does offer useful and pragmatic information, and considering the current state of the global economy, the best step job seekers can take is to invest in themselves.


Preeti Khicha currently lives in Mumbai, India. She graduated from the University of Bath, UK, with a master's degree in management, specializing in marketing. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics and psychology from the University of Virginia, USA.

*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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