Career Center

Computer keyboard and mouse

Psychology doctoral student David Acevedo once considered Web-site building technophile turf. But as the time to seek a job drew near, he decided he'd better get more familiar with it so that potential employers could access his training and education information in the easiest and quickest way possible-online.

Acevedo, a fourth-year clinical psychology student at the University of Kentucky, taught himself HTML coding basics and built a site to showcase his curriculum vitae and teaching and research interests in cross-cultural and ethnic-minority psychology and child and adolescent mental health. Using his site, potential employers can click through his credentials instead of sifting through loads of paperwork, which he hopes will expedite his job search.

Students are increasingly finding, as Acevedo did, that having their own Web site can help them network with psychologists and market their training, research and education experiences to potential employers. But with limited Web skills, could you do the same? Take heart, says Acevedo: You don't have to be a technology whiz to construct your own site.

Many Web-authoring programs-such as Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage, Claris HomePage or Netscape Composer-provide templates and coding so that users need only to plug in the information, which means you don't have to master Web-formatting codes such as HTML.

"If you know how to format in Word, like changing colors or fonts, then you can create a Web page," says Lauren Papp, a doctoral student in the combined developmental and counseling psychology program at the University of Notre Dame, who created a site for her job search.

Here's some advice she and others offer for creating your site:

  • Tap university services. Papp attended a three-hour seminar at her university to learn Web-page basics and then used Microsoft FrontPage to develop the site. University library, computer science or journalism departments usually offer information or seminars on Web-site building, says Jason Vogler, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Nebraska¬≠Lincoln, who took such a class to design his own Web site during his undergraduate training. In addition, universities typically offer students free Web space.

  • Keep it simple and professional. While an animated chicken strolling across your Web page might grab attention and laughs, is it professional? "That might be neat as far as programming to show you can do it, but you're not out to prove you can do programming, but show yourself," Acevedo says. He maintains a separate site for hobbies and peers, but keeps the content on his professional Web site geared to what an employer would need to know about him. Students' Web sites may include links to their research, teaching portfolio, syllabi, clinical work and service projects.

  • Start your site right away. The job hunt isn't the only reason for creating a site. Papp is finding that she can use the Web to market her research to faculty or researchers at other institutions who might help build her career down the road. She created a Web site for her graduate program research lab that details the lab's research project on interparental conflict in family functioning and child development and includes links to her Web page and those of other students in the lab.

Students not yet on the job market can also reap networking benefits from sharing their personal Web site addresses with faculty and other professional contacts they meet at conferences and elsewhere. Certainly, that's what George Slavich-a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Oregon-has found. He includes his Web site address at the bottom of e-mail messages so people can click on his site if they want to learn about his clinical and research work on life stress and cognitive vulnerability in depression.

"There's no specific time to start marketing yourself," Slavich says. "The competition is so great that you should be marketing yourself all the time. I began my Web site when I was in undergrad, and since then it has connected me with a number of professors, some of whom may one day become my mentors, collaborators and even colleagues."

 


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