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Getting personal with potential employers

Welcome to Trev's Web. The natty-looking fellow in the yellow, long-sleeve dress shirt and tie is Trev Hall himself. Do you want to know his work history? Click on his resume. Want to know what he thinks about business and technology issues? Click on his essay section. Impressed? Want to talk to the man? Click on the pager icon and leave a message; or click on "Contact Trev" and fill out the e-mail form that pops up.

Hall, president of the MBA class of 1999 at West Virginia University in Morgantown, has made it easier for potential employers to learn about him, his history, his training and even his personal life. It's all there on his Web site. The site isn't perfect. But you get a positive, more rounded picture of him as a manager than you would normally get from reading a resume.

The idea of using a personal Web site to lift your business profile is growing fast, as costs decline and the tools to design such pages get better. Most Internet gateways offer free Web space, as do Web-hosting services such as Geocities.

If companies can market products and services online, why can't managers market themselves? Web sites give you the opportunity to present more detailed information about yourself than you would in a traditional resume. Just by putting it together, you can demonstrate your grasp of technology, graphic design and Web marketing. "It gives you a competitive advantage," Hall says.

Hall saw his home page as a way to reinvent himself as a jazzy, Internet-marketing kind of guy. There is little evidence of it in his work history. He spent the first six years of his career at Tenneco Packaging Co. in Pittsburgh, where he eventually rose to customer-service manager. Hardly the picture of an Internet expert.

But a few clicks on his home page will take prospective employers to his WVU class Web site, which he helped create and to which he has contributed considerable content. The Web site outlines the class's high-tech orientation. Potential bosses also can summon essays he has penned on such topics as quality control, management and technology and a section titled "Who is Trev Hall and What Can He Do for Your Company?"

His diverse set of "core capabilities," in such areas as strategic management, project and personnel management, computer technology, marketing, customer service and team problem solving, he writes, "will allow me to quickly enter a new business or industry and immediately have an impact."

Robert Kaye has a personal Web page that shows well the wide range of background information that should be on such sites.

Kaye, until recently the executive project manager for data integration at DaimlerChrysler, has sections on his Web site for organizations and associations he belongs to, recent business seminars attended and business books and trade periodicals he has read. He also has a "press center" containing news articles in which he is quoted.

He is explicit about his accomplishments. He discusses in detail, for instance, the $8.2-million annual cost savings he got for one employer by installing new software.

Eventually, Kaye wants to add more sections: one that would chronicle advice, stories and tactics he has picked up in his career, another offering advice for business travelers and another linking to "outstanding employees and consultants I have worked with."

Hall has launched a "resume newsletter" to fill in some of the gaps on his site. Recently, he added a guest book and, for those who don't sign in, a tracking icon that tells him who has visited the site. Both are useful tools for expanding his contact base.

Hall, who includes the site's address in all correspondence (http://www.westvirginia.com/www/trev), says he has gotten positive feedback from employers. "They say they've learned a lot about me without even talking to me," he says. The chief executive of a local, high-tech consortium clicked on the site after receiving an e-mail from Hall and soon called to offer a consulting assignment.

Hall and his classmates want to form an online alumni networking community that can share business ideas as well as opportunities.

Isn't that what the Internet is all about?

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