Employers search and research candidates in a variety of different ways. Some use LinkedIn, but not everyone. Owning an online portfolio or personal website is one of the smartest long-term career moves you can invest in.
When you have a personal website, you own your domain name and its content. This is a basic SEO (search engine optimization) best practice. Have you ever heard of a company without a website? How would you perceive a company that didn’t have one? That’s the world we live in today.
Every employee is now considered a free agent or a business of one. So you are responsible for managing what people can learn about you online.
I’m always looking for evidence to support claims and trends in job search. And I’m especially interested in those that have to do with online visibility. So this study, though small, still helps prove my hypothesis.
The Quality of Your Online Portfolio Really Matters
Hover conducted research to test the importance of an online portfolio. People were surveyed from various job levels including specialists, coordinators, managers, directors, VPs, and C-Level execs. So what did they find?
According to Hover, 71 percent of employers “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” that the quality of a portfolio influences their decision to hire a candidate. Or not.
And how do we define “quality” when it comes to an online portfolio? Quick Sprout uses these 10 elements of a high quality website:
- Relevance & Context | Both humans and computers need to understand what’s on the page.
- Content Length |Top websites have 900+ words per page
- Images & Video | Pages with images are more engaging
- Grammar & Spelling | There’s no excuse for errors. It hurts your credibility
- Readability | The easier to read the better. Shorter sentences and eliminate adjectives/fluff.
- Formatting | Scannable page with good headers to break up content
- Expertise | Shows your expertise/authority on the subject
- Social Media Shares | Make your content easy to share and help increase search rankings
- Google Internal & External Links | Link to content on your own site and to other valuable sites
- Quality of Comments | Good comments help build authority.
Now that you understand what quality means, why does it matter?
Yes, Employers Will Look at Your Online Portfolio
Humans are curious creatures. And people investigating candidates are no different. They will uncover information that will help make an informed decision. They will also attempt to eliminate risk. After all, all this work now makes their lives easier later.
86% either Agree or Strongly Agree that they will visit a portfolio when given the option, according to Hover. You should know that if you provide a link to your personal website, odds are, it WILL get looked at. (Add it to your resume, your LinkedIn summary, and your email signature!)
Where should you include a link to your personal portfolio? Everywhere! Put it in your email signature. Place it in your resume header and your LinkedIn profile summary section. Be sure to put in the bio section of every social network and also on your business card.
Ready To Build Your Personal Online Portfolio?
In the Social Age, hiring professionals are looking for personal qualities that aren’t easily evident on a resume. And you’re looking for an edge in a competitive job market. So use this guide to build a high-quality online portfolio… and get noticed.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.
About the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!