Getting a job interview is often about standing out. When a potential employer reviews your black and white resume to decide if you deserve an interview, they’ll often do a quick Google search of your name. If they don’t find anything, they are likely to put your resume aside and move to the next candidate. If Google gives the employer more information about you, however, they might be intrigued. You may get the chance for an interview – and let’s face it, if you get the interview, you’ll be sure to win over the hiring manager with your charm.
When employers conduct their Google search, they may find your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. These are the platforms they expect to find and that other candidates will have as well. These platforms are important to manage professionally, but imagine a potential employer stumbling upon your professional website. They’ll be impressed and learn a lot about you quickly. Cue the “Aha Moment,” and you’re basically hired. According to Forbes, a professional website can set one candidate apart from the rest. It gives managers a glimpse into your personality and suggests that you take your career very seriously.
While writing about the benefits of professional websites, Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith explored a website called Workfolio. This is a personal website host and online resume builder. According to Workfolio, 56% of all hiring managers are impressed by personal websites, but only about 7% of job seekers actually have a professional or personal website. So why not create one? You’ll definitely stand out!
That being said, I know that creating a website is not an easy task. I had to create a personal website for a class last semester using HTML5 and CSS3. I struggled at first, but I finished the website and it still exists. If you’re interested in seeing what an extremely basic personal website could look like, click here. I know that the sound of creating a website from scratch is scary, but don’t worry – I plan to walk you through the process.
Before I send you off to put your life and work on the World Wide Web, take a look at this list of general tips I’ve compiled for your website:
- Own your domain: Place your real name in the domain of your website. This will ensure that employers can find you quickly and easily. Your website probably won’t help you get hired if your domain name is just a random combination of letters and numbers.
- Highlight your skills: If you’re looking for a career in computers, technology, social media, communications, or maybe even writing, definitely create a website. Your website should reflect your skills, interests, and accomplishments. Make it something that you’re proud of.
- Stay current: Keep your website updated and free of any grammatical or spelling errors. Simple mistakes can make you look careless, while a grammatically correct and smooth website will impress potential employers.
- Be appropriate: Avoid being too personal. Show who you are and share your interests, but don’t put too much information about your cat, religion, or political views. Share what is relevant for employers and other professionals.
Now that you have some basic information, let’s add some more detail. Here is some specific information you should include on your website:
- Professional headline: Create a short description about yourself for your home page or header. Decide what you like best about yourself and describe your skills and goals in a sentence or two.
- Contact Information: Don’t forget to create a contact page with your email, phone number, or other social media accounts.
- About Me: Have a page that gives detailed information about you. You could include your skills or hobbies that don’t fit on your resume. You could also put some information about your past education or career.
- Resume: Include your resume or CV somewhere on your website. It is possible that potential employers don’t already have a copy.
- Work samples: Include some samples of your previous work if possible. Writers, be careful about publishing work online!
- Results: As Stephanie said during our panel session, include the results of your work. Don’t just list your job responsibilities; include what you actually accomplished. Numbers can be very powerful!
- Blog: You should also try to maintain a weekly Blog. This way, employers will get a better sense of who you are and how you spend your time.
Finally, make sure that your website design reflects your personality. This may be difficult if you are not very experienced in web design, but there are a number of free and paid hosts you can use for templates. If you want some examples of what a good professional website may look like, click here. Social media doesn’t have to be the only place you express yourself online!