A personal website isn’t just reserved for brands and creative professionals. A branded website or landing page is also a great tool for job seekers of all levels and industries.
In certain industries like design, specific areas of advertising and marketing, writing, and fine arts, the personal portfolio or website has always been a key component of one’s professional marketing portfolio.
But job seekers in other fields benefit from having a basic website as well. And they are using a personal URL to complement their resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter.
Bonus: they’re pretty easy to create these days.
A website can include things that don’t quite fit into the standard resume format, such as outside projects or unrelated skill sets. But it can also be a platform for providing more context on things that matter heavily to hiring managers, and for which the resume provides limited space to highlight. These might include related freelance or volunteer work, additional training, earlier experience, or even personal interests that you want to use as a bridge into a different area of focus.
Here are some of the major benefits of creating a great personal website.
Like LinkedIn, a website increases your visibility, making it easier for hiring managers to find you online and get a broader picture of your experience and qualifications. It’s an extra tool to help you stand out in a competitive, digitally-driven job market.
A web presence can help you articulate and market your personal brand, and appeal to the culture fit. In addition to the information on your resume, there’s a personal component that factors into your personal brand, and the value you can bring to an employer. And while you may be limited as to what personal attributes you can discuss on a resume, LinkedIn, or cover letter, a personal website gives you more flexibility to discuss yourself as a person, and that can be an important part of an organization’s culture fit.
Social Proof of Accomplishments
A website can simplify complex ideas and show (instead of tell) your accomplishments. Resumes are famous for jargon, and even the best ones can still lack that complete picture that often is easier to describe in your individual voice, through more relaxed language, visuals, and samples of your work.
It provides a better platform for telling your story, particularly if you’re changing careers. Sure, a good cover letter makes the connection between what’s on your resume and why you’re interested in a particular company, industry, or role. But with certain constraints on space, format, and content, it’s hard to tell a full story. A personal website is a broader, more flexible platform to really educate your audience on who you are. It shows what you’ve done, why it’s relevant to the new field you’re pursuing, and how you can bring value.
Better Search Results
Negative search results will be less visible by creating a public profile that organically shows up higher in the search results list when someone searches your name online.
So what should you include on your personal website? How do you ensure your audience will appreciate the content?
A solid personal website should include 4 things,:
- A compelling introductory homepage
- An “About Me” page with a thoughtfully written (and professional) bio
- A page that includes your resume (preferably with a link to download a PDF copy)
- A contact page with your details and links to other relevant profiles (like LinkedIn)
Subject Matter Expertise
A blog can be a good space to share content and position yourself as someone who’s knowledgeable and actively involved in the industry. This can add extra value to someone who is changing careers, lacks experience in a particular industry, but wants to showcase their knowledge and interest in the field.
Examples of Work or Knowledge
To further show your expertise, include side projects, freelance work, and personal work. For example: demonstrating a certain software proficiency, a knack for design, or strategic thinking. Examples of your writing and philosophies show more of your personality. But only if the content is appropriate for hiring managers to review.
Create Your Professional Website
The good news is that there are so many services and tools available now, like Squarespace or Wix, that make the process of creating online profiles and basic websites extremely user-friendly. About.me is another great option for a basic static landing page where you can build out a detailed bio and include links to relevant social media sites and profiles.
A well-executed website is thoughtful in its approach to marketing, content, and design. It rounds out your personal brand portfolio with a professional and polished edge.
Just remember: like your resume and other materials, a personal website should must tell a unique story. It must center around your personal and professional accomplishments. Done well, your website makes a big difference in your job search, and career.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses. She also offers career transition coaching and business consulting.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities. Her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!