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Professional Webmaster Business Issues Forum

Looking for New Job
Have to move to a new state, need work

 10:57 pm on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Due to personal reasons my family and I need to move within the next few months. I know I will be relocating to South-East Virginia in the Norfolk, Hampton-Roads area. From one perspective I'm excited about leaving my current job, but fustrated at having to have to try to find something in another city, let alone state. I'm currently in Ohio, and a friend in Virginia has offered a place to stay while we get settled and look for jobs and somewhere else to stay and that is the only reason why we are considering VA.

My problem is that I've been with the same job for the last 5 years. While I've had a lot of accomplishments at this job, I don't have multiple web sites to show for this. Also the web site that I was the primary designer of has known been taken over by the Marketing Department and I no longer have a lot of control over the look, thus not showing my full capabilities. Also the web site functions off of a CMS that was purchased from an outside contracted company that causes the web site to function little more than just static html with no glitz or glamour that many design firms look for in creative design. Also because of this CMS, everthing is built in a point and click (Word on the web) interface, much like Frontpage, yeah real nice way to create site don't you think?

My question is what I can do to make my portfolio more appealing to a design firm looking to hire?

I found one company that is looking for a designer, and while the company sounds like a fun one to work for, their job ad asks for a resume (no problem) but also 10-20 links to show off the prospects design abilities. I would probably have barely 5 links from other on the side jobs I have done.

What has anyone that has been in a similar spot done to their resume or their portfolio? Have you produced both an online as well as print (printing out various sites) portfolio to take with you on job interviews?

My current job is for a community college, I used to manage, before the CMS, a 1000+ page site with only a part-time person. Making edits, adding new pages, while also maintaining the server, and other webmaster type duties. We also maintained a few other smaller sites that the college owned but wasn't used as much as the main site.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If this isn't an appropriate place, I apologize in advance, moderators please relocate. I'm used to the idea by now ;)



 4:26 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can you design about 5 fictitious sites and show off your design work that way?


 5:37 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yeah I could do that, I could probably do more than 5 no problem.

How many pages per site?

Could they just live in a directory or should they be subdomains of my domain?

Do potential employers look favorably upon fictious sites instead of real, actual, living sites?


 6:03 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Could you volunteer to do some sites for local people or organizations?

If most of the ones you have checked out already have sites, look for individuals who coach soccer for a living, or new fundraising inititives. I know several coaches who are getting web-sites.

Good Luck,


 1:53 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Do potential employers look favorably upon fictious sites instead of real, actual, living sites?

I'd be looking for the quality of the graphics and the layout. Is it attractive? Professional? Easy to use?

I don't care if real business is conducted there or not, just the quality of thought you could bring to the company's websites.


 11:06 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

grafix, I admire your courage to get yourself out there! I've been in the same boat myself. Found a casual employer - led to about 3 hours work every 3 weeks... phh! They're not interested in me and I dislike what they are marketing and producing.

Now going to go it own my own...

My wife has steady full time income, my daughter is at school, what better way to get work if an employer cannot be found?


 11:42 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hey grafix don't underestimate the value of your experience at your previous (current?) job. The experience you gained there you could never get doing 20 mom-and-pop sites, not to mention that being the webmaster of a community college site gives you a bit of credibility. Use your one site (or few sites) as a vehicle to showcase your strengths. Don't even worry about trying to come up with 20 sites in a hurry and selling yourself short. You'll be much better off IMHO.


 11:49 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Try to go to the way back machine and get copies of your site when it looked like what you designed or just redo the site the way you had it and host it on some free account. Just put a not saying that this is not the real site but an online portfolio.


 12:54 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Also the web site that I was the primary designer of has known been taken over by the Marketing Department and I no longer have a lot of control over the look, thus not showing my full capabilities

Oops, missed that part. :) Note to self: read, then write


 2:59 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Check out the various user groups in Hampton Roads - Google for Umbrella Hampton Roads.

Although you describe yourself as a webmaster, you are in a position to be more marketable as an SEO/SEM specialist. Other webmasters can build sites; you can build sites that will be found.

I firmly believe that all WW users have enough knowledge freely available here to learn from and make a comfortable living if they follow these steps:

* Learn efficient HTML coding, e.g. CSS. Throw out FrontPage.
* Fix your own sites
* Learn SEO
* SEO own sites
* Learn PPC
* Read WW at least one hour a day
* Post at least once a day, helping others
* Try Affiliate programs, AdSense and the like
* Get own PPC account purely for practice.
* Network in various physical or online venues and be known as the SEM guru.
* Decide if you want to work for yourself or a boss.

Doesn't matter where you live - I live in Australia and 99%-100% of my work (6 days a week at present) comes from the US or UK.


 4:29 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the posts everybody. We may have a chance for getting a house up where we are currently thus allowing me to keep my current job, which is good considering having good insurance and the like. I have been trying to get my own web design business of the ground, have a few clients and trying to attract more, I also have a reseller account for hosting. I've been hoping that one day it would get large enough to sustain my family with it, and be able to quit the other job.

My skill set is more than just a webmaster but more on the side of a web developer (asp, some php), web designer (graphic design major in college - no degree yet), graphic artist, system admin, type of person. Thankfully I have all of the design and completed web page files on my computer at the office as well as a cd that I've brought home to retain my work.

I feel better about facing this, if it should happen that we need to relocate outside of the state. Any tips on creating an online portfolio or paper portfolio would be greatly appreciated.

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