This is the last post for now in my ongoing case study of my work with Shari, a mid-career training professional who's currently looking for a new job. On Monday, Shari will be weighing in with a guest post on the process from her perspective.
So far I've discussed how Shari is using Web 2.0 tools to organize and support various job search activities. We've also looked at setting up an online portfolio and how to begin setting up a personal branding strategy. Today I'm going to conclude with some tools Shari and I have discussed that can help her in communicating her personal brand.
A Personal Blog
The first, most obvious option is a personal blog. Shari had some experience participating in a group blog and definitely saw how blogging could help her create and communicate her personal brand. She was very interested in setting up her own blog, both to support her branding efforts, as well as to help her develop a personal learning network.
Part of what Shari's working on with her career coach is the personal brand she wants to communicate through her blog, something I mentioned yesterday. What I've been working on with Shari is setting up the blog to communicate the brand.
Wordpress.com vs. Blogger
For Shari, there were two potential blogging options--Wordpress.com and Blogger. She could have considered using Typepad (my blogging platform), but since Wordpress and Blogger are free, I figured they were better to start with, especially since Shari's just beginning to get her feet wet with blogging.
Through Shari's experience in working with a group blog, she had worked with an installed version of Wordpress, so she was somewhat familiar with the posting and tagging process. Wordpress also has a decent selection of design templates and a tab feature, which would allow Shari to set up tabs across the top of her blog to organize different segments of information she wants to present. This way she could have one tab for "About Shari" or "Hire Shari," another one for her blog, another for contact info, etc. These made Wordpress.com an attractive potential option for Shari.
Shari also took a look at Blogger, another free and flexible tool for blogging. Blogger has some decent design templates and a fairly powerful platform for managing her blogging process.
Shari actually set up blogs on both platforms to try them out and see how she liked them. Ultimately she went with Wordpress.com because she liked the look and feel better. It really did come down to personal taste and what was easiest for her to navigate.
A Domain Name
As part of setting up her blog, I suggested to Shari that she consider buying her own name as a domain name (URL) and then "map the domain" to her blog, something that both Wordpress and Blogger support. At only $10 to register the domain for a year, it's a bargain and then she owns her name. It also looks great on business cards to have www.shari-ward.com and it's certainly easier to remember. Shari asked me for a couple of suggestions to purchase the domain (I gave her BlueHost and GoDaddy) and before I knew it, she'd purchased her name and was ready to map it to her blog.
A Social Media Resume
Another potential branding tool for Shari would have been social media resume. This one, created by Bryan Person, was set up using Google Page Creator.
The value of this kind of format is that Shari could basically create a one-page online resume that links potential employers to the rest of her online content. It's more job search-focused than just sending them directly to her blog and allows her to highlight key information about her skills and to include links to everyplace she can be found online, including her blog, her portfolio (or a portion of it) and her LinkedIn and other social networking profiles. The one-page online resume format would ultimately give Shari a way to tie together all the places she can be found online without having to go into setting up and maintaining a blog. The down-side is that she would not have been able to use her own domain name, though.
Publicizing Her Online Presence
For Shari's online presence to be useful, she needs to publicize it as widely as possible. She'll want to include a link to her blog in her email signature so that it goes out with every email she sends. She can also have business cards printed up that include the URL, as well as including it on paper versions of her resume and in online applications. This way she can be sure to get the word out to as wide a network as she can.
Shari ultimately decided to go with setting up her Wordpress.com blog as the portal to all of her information and is currently working on filling that in. She's also finishing up with her online portfolio and beginning to upload the more than 50 documents and presentations she ultimately pulled together.
What's Next in the Series?
On Monday, you'll get to hear from Shari herself, who's agreed to write a guest post on how the experience of using these technology tools is working for her.
As I continue to work with Shari on pulling together her various job search tools, I'm also planning to write some additional follow-up posts that I'll share as they happen. Expect to see something on Shari's experience with blogging and with setting up her presentation portfolios. I'll also be doing some checking in to see how she's doing in using the organizational tools and to find out if she wants to learn more about how she could use Gmail to organize her job search.
Of course, what we're all hoping is that Shari gets a job as soon as possible. Things are looking good so far--she's getting interviews (today she has a third interview with a potential employer) and that's one of the best measures of how well your job search tools are working for you. Stay tuned. I'll keep you posted on Shari's progress.