I'm sorry if the title is not clear. But basically I'm creating a website for people to apply for open jobs at our company. The requirements are that there are different sections a user must fill out such as Personal Info, Skills, Education etc. Right now, when a user logs in a panel is displayed that looks like this:


Each section is a link to information they'll need to fill out. Is there a way that I can show a user from this dashboard whether a section is 'complete' or not. For example, they've filled out the 'Personal' section but have not yet completed the 'Education' section. Would icons be best? Or different colors? Or checkmarks. I'm looking for some ideas on how best to communicate this. Perhaps I should just a do a progress bar?

Thanks for your input.

  • Don't make applicants fill out their employment history in your custom forms, allow them to send/upload their cv or a link to a profile web site such as linked in or [careers]. As soon as I find that a company asks me to re-enter my job history I leave the application form and may never return. Aug 21, 2013 at 8:03
  • @MarjanVenema I definitely understand your point. I do not like having to type in all the information by hand either but this is the way our HR department wants it so I'll have to work with it. Though, if someone really wants a job they'll take the time to fill out a hand typed application in my opinion.
    – mint
    Aug 21, 2013 at 13:12
  • Yeah I understand. Might be worth pointing out to them that they are asking a lot of their applicants. But perhaps you have already done so :) Aug 21, 2013 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


This time I'll try to generate some ideas first (sometimes it might be a good idea to spend 3 minutes with some useful tool).

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Personally I like #6 -- it provides required information and provokes me to fill the profile. Please identify your goal: do you want to provide precise percentage or stimulate users to fill the whole profile?

I would say it is much better to stimulate users. Don't get me wrong, there is still a need to provide clear information, but in a slightly different way. So precise progress is not that crucial and this is the reason I'm a bit against a progress bar.

So let's try to make #6 a bit better:

enter image description here

You can also treat this issue as a gamification problem. From this point of view there are several reasons to have global score (global progress), but please note you will need to rethink the whole approach a bit. Because it is much better to tell user what he can do in order to increase his score rather than just show a status. Please see real example below:

enter image description here

70% looks like a puzzle to me. It just says: your profile is not finished, but available actions below the progress provide enough clues.

Finally, the simplest solution is the following: you have user profile nicely visualized, so just mark problematic sections in order to drive user's attention.

  • Thank you for some excellent feedback. Seeing visual examples definitely helps a lot. I liked examples 3 and 7 a lot, i may do a mixture of that with the highlighted background like in 6. Thanks.
    – mint
    Aug 21, 2013 at 13:14

I would put a checkmark for each complete section. It is more stimulating to show positive impact. So I wouldn't mark sections as incomplete.

Over the Jobs title would be a nice spot for a progress area, claiming that you only need 2 of 7 sections to have a complete profile. Here I would show the other way round - showing how much is left. Because if you miss just 2 sections (one is for sure the upload process as it requires a already available resumee or a second visit) showing how less is left until completion, encourages a user to the little extra effort.

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