The Personal Website — Your Next Job Search Tool?
In today’s competitive market, both employers and job seekers would love to have a foolproof formula for standing out from the crowd. Companies hire recruiters to help them seek out and attract the best candidates. Workers agonize over their resumes, online profiles, and interview techniques. But if you’re on the hunt for a great job, you might be neglecting one potentially powerful tool: your own career-focused website.
Power in the personal
An online professional profile has become an essential tool for job seekers. Between LinkedIn — which many employers and recruiters turn to when looking to fill positions — and other social media, blogs, job websites, and social coding sites, job hunters have become savvy at promoting themselves. But according to CareerShift, many people stop there, foregoing what 56% of hiring managers say is a candidate’s most impressive hiring tool.
That tool is a personal website. Only 7% of candidates have one, so developing one that stands out is a fantastic way to put some distance between yourself and competing job seekers. The Muse notes that high-level employees of companies such as eVestment, Noodle, and Idealist credit their personal websites with improving their career prospects.
How can a personal website help in your job search?
- You can display an interactive work portfolio that potential employers can easily peruse. Your site can, for example, include quotes from satisfied employers or clients or provide links to completed projects.
- You can highlight your expertise and share it with anyone visiting the site — including employers. Show your coding skills in action. Explain how you’ve used your talents to contribute outside of the workplace: volunteer projects, hobbies, and other capabilities that might catch attention but aren’t on your resume.
- A polished site can establish your credibility as a skilled, experienced professional.
- You can provide contact information that makes it easy for employers and recruiters to find and work with you. Include links to social media profiles, pertinent job search and hiring information, direct lines of communication, and so on.
- You can establish and manage your personal branding, visually and through active links.
Dos and don’ts
- Resume — Make your resume available for download in several document formats (particularly Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF), to accommodate multiple CRM and ATS technologies.
- Photo — A flattering, professional photo gives employers a more personal connection and can positively influence their initial impression of you. (But be careful!)
- Blog — Although optional, a blog can provide updated content, showcase your professional knowledge and continuing education, and give potential employers a reason to make repeat visits. (See “CareerJuice,” the blog for IT/technology professionals, as an example.)
As with any online resource, carefully consider which personal contact information you want to divulge. Make sure that your contact information is easy to find and up-to-date. (You’d be surprised what grammatical or typographical mistakes you may find!)
Aside from all the items that should be on your site, you should also avoid certain things:
- Don’t use low-resolution images.
- Although you can let your personality show, beware of going so far as to be informal. You want the site to show your professional persona.
- Don’t bury your contact information.
- The site should be aesthetically pleasing, especially if your expertise is in web design or development. Don’t use conflicting fonts or odd, informal typography (e.g., Comic Sans, Curlz MT). Avoid overloading on text.
Remember, the point is to get your information across quickly, not to distract from it. Be sure to get input on your website from people you trust, such as your IT recruitment expert.
A personal website can help set you apart from competitors. Perhaps more importantly, it can help you make a lasting impression on employers by giving them a more complete picture of your personality, experience, and capabilities.