Now that we are approaching graduation, many of my friends have begun creating websites for their professional portfolios. While this practice is not as applicable to my area of study, I find it interesting that personal websites have changed from the informal, glitzy personal sites I remember from the fifth grade. Some of my most successful friends share their portfolios, Pinterests, blogs, resumes, current news, and Linkedin profiles on their personal site.
I summed up what I believe to be the best advice for people entering the job market here in these easy ten steps.
1. Include all of your social networks
When your new site is up and running, link to it on all of the social networking platforms that you actively use. If you are not active on a certain platform, do not pretend to have a presence for the sake of the link because it may be a turn-off to employers if you are not able to maintain your presence. I will make one exception for Google+. Though it is not the most popular social network, it is the most visited website on the Internet and Google will reward you for using their sites by improving your searchability.
One person who I believe has done a great job with her blog is my friend Meg. Here, she keeps friends, family and work contacts updated on what she is doing at school and in her various co-ops.
2. Be Proactive and Engaging
Primarily, you want to use language in your site that is professional, yet welcoming. Do not use language that you would not use in person just because thesaurus.com is right at your fingertips. Make sure to use your social networks to engage potential employers. Employers are not just looking for someone to fulfill a task, they want someone who they will enjoy working with. So, post career-related content as well as appropriate content from your social life to give them a feel of who you are.
“Learn about me so I can learn about you” is probably the best phrasing for this site I can think of. It invites visitors to engage with Meg but also gives a sense of her outgoing and caring personality.
3. Start a Blog
One of the best ways for employers to get a feel for your personality is to keep a blog. It can be about your work, travel, or what you have for lunch each day — just remember to keep your audience engaged. Having a blog and linking it to your site and vice versa will also increase your searchability online.
Advertising on social media is a proven way to increase your website traffic. Sites like Facebook are also able to give you fantastic feedback on who is seeing your ad, how long they view it and how often they visit your site as a result. This is one example of where you would need to spend money to make money because advertisements are not cheap.
5. Get Referrals
Use your network to increase traffic to your site. Invite your network to check out your page and to forward your URL to other professionals in your field. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to help you spread the word!
6. Mix It Up
Whether writing a blog or posting on your social media sites, it is essential to keep your followers engaged. Instead of writing carefully crafted essays about your experiences in your internship, break up the monotony by sharing an image of your newly organized desk. Images are eye-catching, use them draw the attention of your readers.
7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This skill is very tech-based but will help you boost traffic to your site without directly advertising. Make sure that you are using internal links to your content and meta descriptions to make your page as searchable as possible. I think Raechelle did a great job summarizing what this important practice is all about: https://professionalusesofsocialmedia.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/search-engine-optimization/
8. Make sure your site is mobile compatible
Nowadays, the times that we use an actual computer to browse the internet is decreasing. You want to make sure that employers can access your site on any device they use, especially at job fairs where they will be able to access your information quickly before they move on to the next potential candidate.
9. Make yourself heard in the comment sections
Find a few sites that interest you and are related to your dream profession. By posting insightful comments in blogs related to your career, you will get your name out to people you may never have contacted otherwise.
10. Keep up to date on your analytics data
Through review of the demographics viewing your site and which of your pages are the most popular, you can fine tune your online presence to match what engages your audience the most.
Some of these tips expect us to be able to walk a fine line between advertising and annoying. However, one thing I have learned through my fundraising experience is that, even if they are initially interested, people will not remember to act. It is our job to make our website as easily accessible as possible, even if that means sending your contact a link a few times.
Best of luck!