Needle in a haystack


I have my own personal webpage for friends. As a junior, I am re-designing it for prospective employers. Everyone has an online résumé, how can I get them to read mine?

Your question touches not only on student job seekers, but every webmaster. How do your market your webpage to interested viewers? We have all been exposed to techniques to capture our attention: Viral videos, native advertising, emails, Facebook and more. Is there a recommended strategy for me, as a student?

Look up search engine optimization in Google. Every firm listed will offer a different idea, that they guarantee. The first lesson is Google does not reveal exactly how it works. Industry experts learn by trial-and-error, to discover how Google makes decisions, which it constantly refines. Welcome to the game.

You have 2 concerns: helping employers find you online and   persuading them to hire you. Here are the ideas you will should know to succeed.

Most employers will search applicants online even before responding to their application. It is vital that what turns up for you makes a good impression and puts you above other candidates. Remember, while you want to present yourself positively, everything about you is accessible in a public records search. Careless posts, photos or behavior may be visible to an employer, so be prepared to respond.

What do you see when you Google yourself? In an ideal world, if you have done your SEO right you should dominate that first page. Setting up a website these days is pretty easy with open source, search engine, and mobile-friendly platforms. You should have your name as the domain name for your website, but that is not always possible. Some parents even register their newly born child’s name as a domain. Your own domain name and email address will look far more professional than a site on a shared host or a Hotmail account. If you cannot get your name into the domain name add your middle name or initial, use a dash, or try the dot net or dot org variation. It is definitely worth a few bucks of investment.

There are plenty of SEO techniques you can use on your own site to give it that edge over the others. Google currently loves mobile-friendly sites so make sure yours is compatible. Use search friendly URLs when building the website, word the title tags effectively, and use your name in the content when you can.

Content is king. Aside from the technical tweaks to the actual website you should also keep it up-to-date with fresh content. Blogging about your experiences, interests and hobbies will keep the website alive with new content, which Google will index. Potential employers will notice that you are motivated and dedicated to your personal webpage.

Online social and professional profiles play a huge part in personal branding. Start with the one you know Google will index, your Google+ profile. Design your snippet so it reveals the most information at a glance when it appears in search results.

Build a complete profile on LinkedIn and make sure the entire profile is viewable to the public (and search engines). This professional social platform is also a good place to upload your résumé. The design work of you Facebook page should be professional as should your Twitter and Pinterest accounts, tweak the settings to the privacy settings you require, but remember anything public can and will be seen by all.

All of these social profiles should be linked from your own website using plugins and widgets, and should include links to your website in your profiles. Build an online network for your personal brand. Intra-linking websites is very important for search engine ranking. Have a prominent profile on large sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn pointing to your own site to increase its overall searchability. 

Other methods of your overall marketing strategy include seeking out interviews, and having other people write about you, using your name and a link to your website. This provides a great PR piece and the SEO perks of more quality inbound links.

If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative… David Ogilvy.

Written by Nadeem Ghori, President of Webplex, a digital analytics agency.


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