This post was written by Raina Van Cleave for the The Talent Buzz blog post contest.
Due to “tough economic times,” my “position” had been laid off, and unfortunately I was going with it!
It was my first full-time job out of college and my first time losing one. I spent three years managing projects, providing Web usability consultation and testing CDs/DVDs, and Web applications.
So the question to follow was, “What should I do now?”
I was skeptical to move to another city and take a major loss on the “not guaranteed” sale of my quaint two bedroom/two bath house in the heart of an award winning community. I decided I wanted to focus my energy on advancing my Web career, learning more about social media and Web usability, as well as improving my graphic design skills.
In order to accomplish these goals and really showcase my skills, I knew I had to become more involved in the Web development industry through an in-depth exploration of social media, Web marketing, and social networking.
Here are some tips on how I made my situation of getting laid off into a huge pay off, turning my last job into just the beginning of my Web career:
Step 1: Brand Yourself Professionally
First impressions are significantly important, so make them worthwhile and have positive impact.
First, buy a domain. I bought the domain RainaVanCleave.com and hosting from (in my opinion, one of the worst user-friend Web sites) GoDaddy.
Next, create a Web site and online portfolio.
I wanted to brand myself as “professional, reliable, and knowledgeable,” both on and off the Web. And I kept my brand consistent by incorporating my design into my print materials, particularly my résumé and Web copywriting portfolio.
Step 2: Make Content User Friendly & Informative
If you don’t capture users attention in the first five seconds, you’ve probably already lost them to another Web site. Most users aren’t reading your content, they’re scanning it. Make your content easy to read using simple language while conveying an effective message.
Step 3: Increase Your Knowledge & Share Your Voice
Learn about your industry. Find what drives you and you will succeed. You can start by turning your knowledge into blog posts. Blog entries don’t need to be super long but they do need to be informative.
Try brainstorming at least 10 different topics you could confidently speak or write and follow these blogging tips:
Step 4: Explore Social Networking
Don’t be shy…networking now is easier than ever! Social networking can generate job leads, and other great business opportunities. Try some of these social networking sites to advance your career:
Twitter.com – search and find others in your industry
LinkedIn.com – create an online résumé, network with clients, and request recommendations
Plaxo.com – keep track of your contacts easily
Ning.com – create your own social network
Step 5: Apply for Jobs, Interview, & Follow Up
Avoid small but detrimental mistakes by following these job seeking tips:
Step 6: Continue Your Education
So I can really flourish and stand out from my competition, I’ve decided to expand my knowledge and enroll in graphic design school.
Don’t stop learning. Continue your education by reading blogs, books, attending conferences and even taking classes. These are all great ways to network too!
I had thought I was advancing my career with my previous employer, however, I’ve learned that this has just opened more windows for my success. And although, I’m still a fresh candidate for new opportunities in the Web industry, I’ve already taken the necessary steps to advance my Career on the Web which has lead to some great opportunities.
Talent Acquisition & Diversity Exec, Jason Buss, is the founder and editor of THQ. Prior to starting THQ, Buss launched The Talent Buzz in 2008. He is also the Vice President of Talent ... read more