Selling yourself on the web
Alan Webb found that the best way to sell himself to prospective employers was with his own website. Here's how he did it.When I created my first online CV, I decided that in order to make myself stand out I needed to do something different. I concentrated on the method rather than the content, as I had only limited experience in the field I wanted to get into (IT).
At around the same time I was keen on learning HTML and designing my own websites. I decided to combine my enjoyment of web design with the serious exercise of promoting myself to potential employers.
Developing the web site
From start to finish it took about five days to develop the site with the aid of Dreamweaver 3, although it could really have been done with Frontpage Express, Netscape Composer or, in fact, even Microsoft Word, saved as a HTML document.
The actual site is intentionally very basic. I was determined not to go over the top with mouse rollover effects, pretty Java applets, Flash or anything else which detracts from the site's content and which would add page-download time, possibly turning off a potential employer.
Once I had sorted the content for each of my four sections and tested it all locally on my hard drive, it was then time to decide where I wanted my site to be hosted.
I had essentially two choices; a free web hosting provider such as Fortune City / Surfeu or investing in my own domain and web space.
I looked carefully at the pros and cons and decided on spending approximately NLG 68 a year on my own domain for about 5 MB web space, which was more than enough.
The reasoning behind my decision was that there is normally a catch to free web hosting in that they will plaster your site with advertising banners, or worse, have those annoying pop-ups which could turn off a potential employer.
Having said that, I believe that there now exist free web hosting services that don't insist on banner advertising or pop-ups, so you may not need to pay as I did.
I now had my web site online and submitted to the search engines and I was reasonably happy with the site.
Potential employer identification
The next phase for me was to identify potential employers and entice them to visit my CV website. This involved some simple online research.
It was then a matter of visiting web sites and making notes of email addresses and perhaps the names of CEOs.
A search on a popular search machine using as keywords your branch plus your town of interest is likely to give you ample selection of potential employers.
Another source is still the job advertisement pages in the press.
The email campaign
Once I had approximately 40 email addresses, it was time to formulate the email content.
I was aware that I should have a goal for each phase of my campaign, and the goal for this particular phase was to create just enough curiosity and interest for a potential employer to click on the link in my email. The sending of 40 emails was really quite painless as the standard text did not vary. I chose generic text which could be held in the clipboard and pasted multiple times. It took less than a minute per email to send off.
The fruits of my labour
It is actually the second time I've used this method and I had approximately the same amount of feedback as I did the first time round a year ago.
The emails were addressed to a mixture of potential employers in my area and companies that have advertised positions in the local press. The results were as follows…
- Eight job interviews from seven different companies.
- Two solid job offers.
- Still receiving to this date requests for interviews although I signed a new contract on 19 June 2001 to start 1 July 2001.
The advantages of the online CV
- Cost! All of my job applications went through email. I had no postage, photo, folder and paper costs.
- printing out numerous copies and using up expensive printer ink.
- It's unique! In my opinion it's very important to get noticed. The best way to do that is to be different.
Only around two percent of CV submissions are done in the above manner, so it is more likely you'll be given extra consideration.
- It is easy! You do not need to know HTML programming. You can save a Microsoft Word document as an HTML document (try the 'save as' option). It may not be as pretty, but it will do the job.
- It works! I have had eight job interviews for seven different companies and two job offers. I don't attribute it to my experience and skills, but rather to the fact that I am marketing myself online which gets me noticed.
My online CV can be found at http://www.lebenslauf-cv.de
If you want to know more (company identification tricks, suitable branches for the online CV, search engine submission advice, layout tips) or have any other questions, by all means email me at email@example.com
Subject: Expat career tips