500 Startups grad Zerply is announcing a seed funding round of $600,000 today to help it accelerate its efforts around modernizing the resumé. Zerply provides its users with templates and tools to create an online presence not only for their work and education history, but also for their work portfolios and recommendations, the idea being that showing what you’ve actually done and how it’s been received is as or more important than telling prospective employers where you did it.
Zerply, which has its headquarters in Mountain View and plans to open a development office in Estonia, has been primarily targeting web design and development professionals, but co-founder and COO Justin Style told BetaKit in an interview that it’s beginning to broaden its focus, and that the seed round will help with those efforts.
“We’re going to expand the team and get some engineers on board to build on what we already have,” Style said. “Originally we had this vision of a professional network that works more for the kind of people that we worked with in the web industry, and we saw that it wasn’t really working on LinkedIn because you couldn’t really get a good grasp of who was out there.” That led them to focus on profiles and themes in the beginning, but the long-term plan was to come up with something that has a lot more depth, so now they’re building the network side.
To that end, Zerply is adding Flickr and Vimeo integration today, and will also be adding SoundCloud down the road. There’s also the recent introduction of Behance integration, which makes it possible for users to add virtually any kind of portfolio from that broad-focused creative network.
Zerply’s real advantage over tools like About.me and others that focus on helping users present a professional face for the web might be its recommendation feature, which Style said has really taken off since its introduction. Users can easily recommend one another, using a system that’s designed to be as simple as liking or commenting on Facebook, and then people viewing Zerply resumés can see those recommendations at-a-glance thanks to a persistent bottom bar displayed on any profile on the site.
To really take off, Zerply will have to prove that it’s not only more user-friendly, social and visually appealing than other current online résumé builders, but also that prospective employers are as impressed as users by what it can do. The company makes money by selling premium themes and custom domain names, which means it already has a more viable revenue model than competitors. So long as the company continues to focus on integrations that demonstrate the quality of a person’s work, rather than just a dry description of when and where it took place, Zerply stands a good chance of doing just that.