by YouTheDesigner . October 1st, 2009
The current unemployment rate in the United States is at 9.6% as of August 2009. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) That’s pretty scary if you ask me and most people think it won’t get better for a long time! Hundreds of thousands of people are getting kicked to the curb every month and graphic designers are no exception. I’ve spoken about how competitive the graphic design field already is and the current economic troubles have only made it worse. Don’t worry, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel and this guide will help you get there or at least get hired!
I’m going to teach you how to job hunt while you sleep and we will be doing this with your graphic designer resume. If you have not created one yet, check out our Graphic Design Resume Guide then come back.
Job hunting online is very popular nowadays, especially on big job boards like Craigslist and Monster. People who post jobs on these boards are being bombarded with tons of applications, especially now that there are many thousands more unemployed designers across the World. So your chances have become much more slim at finding a job online.
Thankfully there is a solution…
If you want potential employers to come directly to you, you must first figure out what they are searching for online. As an example we will use the phrase “Graphic Designer Resume”. If a company was looking to hire a new graphic designer they might very well type that phrase into Google to search for designers. How great would it be if they saw your resume appear on the first page of results? Getting your resume on the first page of Google can greatly increase your chances of being hired, especially for a popular phrase like “Graphic Designer Resume”.
If you use the Google Keyword Tool you will see this phrase gets an estimated 12,00 searches a month. This number is usually a high-ball figure, but if you were in the top 5 results on Google for this phrase you would see a significant amount of traffic, which could very well lead to some job inquiries! Obviously being hired will depend on many factors such as your experience, portfolio, location and so on, but who wouldn’t want a steady stream of potential employers visiting their site on a daily basis, even while asleep!
So check out that keyword tool above and type in some different phrases. Once you have picked a phrase you want to rank for we can start setting up your site.
If you don’t have a website up you will need to set one up. I suggest using your personal name as your domain name. If its taken try some variations such as first name and last initial or throw in your middle name. You can get a domain name ad GoDaddy or similar domain registrars. Most domain registrars also offer hosting, if not HostGator and Doreo are a few good choices as far as web hosting goes. All you need is a basic plan to start. Just make sure your hosting has cPanel and supports WordPress because they are very useful and powerful tools…
How you design and code your site is up to you, but the important part is what is on the website. For this guide I am going to recommend displaying your resume as the home page of your site. Its a very plain and simple concept, but not many people have done this. Most of the time you just see a link to download a resume or a portfolio displayed on the home page. I recommend adding those things as well, but your resume should be the main focus.
If you have your resume completed, then you should already have your site’s design and content! Just convert your resume design into a website and make all the text live so search engines can crawl and index your resume content. If you need help coding your website try using a service such as psd2html.
Now once your new resume website is up we need to optimize it for the keyword phrase you picked in step 1 such as “Graphic Designer Resume”. Below are several basic on page search engine optimization tips you can use to help boost your sites relevance and ranking for the search phrase of your choice.
1. Page Title Optimization
The page title is the title seen at the top of your browser window and is also used as the title for your listing in search results. Your home page title is very important and should include your target phrase. An example of a simple and effective page title would be “Graphic Designer Resume of Your Name”. Including both your target phrase and your name is very important and so is keeping the page title short and to the point. Page titles are added in the header section of a website, usually along with other META tags.
2. Title Tags
Once you add your resume to your home page as the main content of your site, you should add some keyword rich titles. So for example you could add the phrase “Your Name Graphic Designer Resume” wrapped in an h1 tag in the code of your site. The h1 tag is one of several tags that are used for titles and subtitle styling h1 is given the most weight by search engines. Adding one h1 tag and a few h2 tags around some important keyword phrases can help you rank better for those phrases.
3. Keyword Rich Content
Your resume is probably already keyword phrase rich, but you should try adding in some important keyword phrases to help your site rank better. For example if your target phrase was “Graphic Designer Resume” you could mix that and some variations of the phrase into your sites content. This will help search engines better understand what your website is about and will help it rank better.
4. Clear Site Structure
Your website should have a clear navigation that remains the same on every page. This will help users and search engine navigate your site better. Also make sure your website coding is valid.
Once all your pages are up you should generate both and HTML and XML sitemap for your site. The HTML sitemap should be linked in your footer and the XML sitemap should be submitted online to Google Webmaster Tools, which you need a Google account to access.
Now depending on the phrase you picked it can take some time and money to get on the first page of Google for your target phrase. The most common way to increase rankings is to do link building, because right now most search engines such as Google rank websites heavily by the quality and amount of backlinks pointing back to a site. So for example if a lot of websites linked back to your website using the link anchor text “Graphic Designer Resume” and your home page as the URL and your website was optimized for that phrase using the above tips, you would be on your way to the first page of Google.
While this is an important factor in rankings their are many other ranking factors as well, but don’t worry about that yet. Lets start with the basics and if you want to learn a lot more about SEO, I recommend checking out SEOBook.com, which is a great resource for learning all about search engine optimization.
They also have an awesome free guide on how to build links quickly. Following the tips in the link building guide can help you increase your rankings in search engines.
1. NoFollow Tags
Many sites now use the NoFollow tag on links. This simple tag can be added to links and tells search engines NOT to follow the link. This means you won’t get any ranking benefits from the link. So if you buy links, post on forums and do other link building. make sure you are getting follow links. You can check if a link is NoFollow or not by right clicking it to view the properties. If the link is NoFollowed you should see a mention of it in the properties.
2. Varied Anchor text
When you do link building its important you build a natural link building profile. This means varying the anchor text used to link back to your site and also mix up the places you get backlinks. So basically you DON’T want 5 thousand forum links all with the same anchor text pointing back to your site as your only marketing method. So mix it up and think natural!
3. Contact Info
Your contact info should be clearly visible in multiple areas of your site so potential employers can reach you easily. The harder you make it to be contacted the lower your chances of getting hired will be. You should include both your phone and email to give the employer options.
4. Available for Employment
It is very important that you clearly state you are available for employment and where you are available to work. Are you willing to move across the country, work remotely or do you only want to work in your home state? Put your available for employment message somewhere at the top and bottom of your site where it can be easily seen.
Hopefully you found this post useful. I have used this tactic myself and it has worked wonders. I am currently employed full-time, but recently got two very generous full time job offers in one week by companies who found my resume by searching online using Google. Even if you are currently employed and have to turn down offers, you will be making contacts and securing possible future employment.
If you have any questions related to this guide please feel free to ask in the comments below and I will do my best to answer back quickly.
YouTheDesigner is a graphic design blog under the UCreative Network. We do features; give away brushes, icons, wallpapers, and other freebies; and bring you the latest news in the world of graphic design.