Weekly business rail, with tips on how to market your online portfolio so it gets noticed, a BBB warning about a questionable loan company and more.
Tip of the Week
You have an online portfolio, but you aren't sure if it's working for you. Because a good online portfolio is an asset in a job search, it's important to know how to get it in front of the right people.
Here are some suggestions on how to market your online portfolio from Marc Scoleri, director of Career Services at The Art Institute of New York City, and Juliane Pelfrey, director of Career Services from The Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati, a branch of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.
- Industry sites and other portfolio sites: Whether you're a budding professional or a skilled expert, content is important to sites that host portfolios because content generates traffic and attracts employers. Pick sites that have higher traffic, are more visible than others and best fit your skill sets. In addition to your official portfolio site, look for other portfolio sites or industry-related sites like FilterFoundry.com, Behance.com or Art Director's Club adcglobal.com. Get these industry sites to feature you by entering their contests, volunteering for pro-bono work, etc.
- LinkedIn and social media: Scoleri recommends LinkedIn as the best use of professional online networking. You can create a company profile from within your personal LinkedIn profile. Connect with other professionals and ask for recommendations. While other social media sites can assist in your marketing efforts, it's not necessary, Scoleri says. If you plan on using Facebook, Twitter or blogs, use them so that they link to your official portfolio site.
- Search engine optimization: Include keywords on your site that employers are using to search for talent. Include these keywords in your online portfolio, blog, LinkedIn page, etc. If you are looking for freelance or contract work, you may want to look into paying for Google AdWords.
- Go mobile and keep up with technology: There's nothing worse than a missed opportunity. A portfolio site should easily load on a mobile device. Take your site to networking events via an iPhone or iPad. Show up in person when networking at industry events. Pull out your iPhone and show your work when appropriate. Get others to view your site quickly by placing a Quick Response code (QR code) on your business cards that links directly to your portfolio site.
- Marketing promotional slicks: A marketing slick or a promotional slick is like a teaser ad, says Pelfrey. "The slick is a self-promotional document, perhaps in PDF format, that includes your top two, and no more than four pieces of work with short descriptions and a link to your online portfolio site should they want to see more," she says. Pelfrey recommends that you keep the slick to the standard 8.5-by-11 inch document size to facilitate viewing and printing. Send the promotional slick with your resume.
The Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers about EZ Loan Protection, a Utah-based company that sells payday loan "protection." More than 100 complaints from 32 states have been filed with the BBB.
Complainants claim that they were not familiar with EZ Loan Protection, do not remember signing up for any sort of loan protection, and end up with $30 or more taken from their bank accounts. Several consumers also said that they have never taken out a payday loan in their life.
"Due to the high number of complaints, it's evident that EZ Loan Protection is not being clear or conspicuous with consumers," said Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "It's imperative that consumers research any company before providing any financial information."
Consumers are unclear as to how the company obtained their bank account information. Some state a representative from the company called and offered the product, but even after declining, they were still charged. Other consumers state that they were on a website and there was a pop-up ad, which they closed - but were still charged. Still other consumers are baffled by how the company got their information as they rarely do business through the Internet.
For more information, visit www.bbb.org.
Here are the 10 most affordable colleges in the U.S.:
- South Texas College
- University of Texas-Pan American
- Indian River State College
- California State University-Dominguez Hills
- California State University-Los Angeles
- Palm Beach State College
- CUNY Lehman College
- CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice
- Texas A&M International University
- Bellevue College
Number to Know
1 percent: Amount of Web traffic that the iPad is responsible for, according to NetMarketShare.
Online movie giant Netflix recently announced that the company if expanding to 43 countries in Latin America.
GateHouse News Service