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More From Shari on Her Web 2.0 Job Search

This is the latest guest post from Shari Ward, who I've been working with to integrate social media tools into her job search. I did a call with Shari yesterday and she reported that it's been really helpful to her to have an online presence. A recruiter contacted her to discuss a potential opening and she was able to immediately forward him a link to her blog and portfolio, which does a much better job of communicating who Shari is and her qualifications for the work. She's also used her experiences to do mini lessons during interviews, showing potential employers how she set up her portfolio to demonstrate her abilities as a trainer. Here's where she's at now.

So, last time I shared a bit about the helpful guidance I received from Michele, and I promised you I'd be back to share what we did to create my web portal.
When Michele first mentioned it, I loved the idea. I had always toyed with the thought of getting a web presence and was delighted to finally have someone knowledgeable about it guiding me. Michele mentioned using a blog as the main portal and told me about a few options like Blogger and WordPress. I tried a free account on Blogger first and felt it lacked functionality. Michele suggested WordPress because I was already using it to post on our ASTD chapter's BlogCascadia, so I gave it a try and signed up for a free account. The site has presentation templates that I used to choose a look that I liked and I even was able to customize the colors and layout. So far, so good.

As I proceeded to "build" my site, I was able to create different pages, such as "About Shari," which introduces me to readers, and "Shari's Portfolio." On this page I have loaded PDF files of handouts and a leader's guide from a course I developed of which I am particularly proud, as well as a link to my larger portfolio page, which Michele helped me to create on Wikispaces.

I created two free Wikispace sites - one that acts as my general "electronic filing cabinet" and another that will display my "showcase" portfolios. I uploaded the electronic copies of my work samples to the general site - this allows me access to my examples from anywhere so I am not dependent on having a CD or hard copy when I want to show a potential employer some of my work. On the "showcase" site, I created three pages, each one based on an area of expertise that I want to highlight: Management Training, Train-the-Trainer, and Training Plans and Tools. Then I uploaded specific documents to each page and added a description to accompany each link.
After she sensed I was comfortable in my new "space," Michele brought up the possibility of registering my domain name. In my case, "shariward" was already taken but "shari-ward" was available. Michele suggested two sites - and I checked them both out - bluehost seemed to be more powerful than I need at this time, and my husband was familiar with GoDaddy, so that's the one I chose. For $10 I purchased for one year.
At first I used Go Daddy's page builder software, which was rather clunky and not very customizable. When I checked the results, the page was okay but the site had permanent ads at the top, which meant folks had to scroll down to see my content. I spoke to Michele about my dissatisfaction and that was when she suggested I have my domain "forwarded" to my blog. That took completing a few fields on the GoDaddy site AND on my WordPress site (where I had to pay another $10), and VOILA! When you type in my URL, you are taken to my blog and can then access my portfolio and other information about little ol' me. <grin> I feel that $20 is a small price to pay for the exposure.
I am still fine tuning my site as I discover different options. Just yesterday, Michele emailed me to say she had found a way I could put a "badge" link on my blog to take folks directly to my portfolio, and I found the same thing for my LinkedIn profile. I actually have had some comments on my first blog posting too, which has me tickled. I have the ability to check my Blog Stats and see that everyday, someone (other than me) is clicking around my site. I have added my domain name to my email signature and my resume, so potential employers can check it out.
Well, that brings you up-to-date on my story. I feel the competitive edge I've gained through an increased web presence will pay off very soon as I find the perfect job for me. If you Google my name, you should find that many of the listings will lead you to my portal. Ummm...did I mention that THIS IS SO COOL?!?!


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Too Nice! I'm eager to hear the details on Tuesday. Well Done!!

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