Creating a Personal Website for Your Job Search
Resumes, cover letters, interviews and so on. There’s so much to do when job searching, why bother with a website? There are a few reasons. It shows that you are passionate about what you do. It’ll help create your personal brand. It’ll help further showcase your past work, skills, and abilities. It’ll also give you a competitive edge and help recruiters find you.
Now I know you’re probably thinking that you’re not tech savvy enough to create a website. Granted it’ll take a bit of learning on your part, but most of the platforms out there are very user friendly. WordPress, Wix, GoDaddy are just a couple of the website builders out there. You can create your own site, no coding needed. There are plenty of tutorials available for any builder. Just use Google or YouTube to get yourself started, and you will pick up on things quickly. You’ll also build new skills and have fun doing it, especially if you’re the least bit creative. Play around and practice with it. When you feel comfortable with what you are doing…
Plan your website. What sort of things should be included? Let’s start with the homepage since that’s where your readers will land first. Have a professional picture of yourself. Just a heads and shoulders, and unless you are a master at taking selfies, please have someone take the picture for you. Also make sure you’re standing against a solid background where you can’t see the room around you. If you don’t have a suitable background in your house, find something outside, such as a brick building to use. Your home page should also have your elevator pitch. This pitch may be slightly different than the elevator pitch you would use at, say, a job fair. Your website pitch can be two to three paragraphs and talk about the companies you’ve worked for, projects you’re proud of, your best skills. Ultimately, you want it to include what you want people to take away if this is the one thing they read. Just make sure you’re not writing your autobiography. Just like recruiters/hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time reading a resume, they won’t spend a lot of time clicking around on a website unless they are truly interested. They majority of them will just read that couple of paragraphs. Lastly, include your contact information and links to any professional social media, like LinkedIn. As for your contact information, you may want to consider including your email only. Including your phone number may lead to a lot of irrelevant phone calls.
An “About Me” page is where you can get more into detail and even bring up personal aspects of your life. Just be careful to avoid controversial subjects such as politics and religion or anything too personal such as your family. Keep it to hobbies or personal projects. If you have any press mentions, such as interviews or were featured, mention them here with links to the article if possible.
Another page to include on your website is your resume page. Make sure this resume is geared towards the job you want and includes the best of your accomplishments, skills, and abilities. Use proper formatting and bullet points just as you would on a regular resume, or upload a picture of your resume.
A portfolio page to highlight your work is another section to include. This can be pictures, writing examples, examples of projects completed, examples of campaigns you ran, etc. Get creative on showing the work that you do even if it isn’t typically visual. Maybe charts and graphs for sales, or pictures of businesses or products you’ve helped develop. You needn’t show every project or piece ever done; highlight the best of your work.
A testimonial page is a great addition. Talk to your references, former co-workers, clients, supervisors, etc. and ask them to write a few lines about you, asking for specificity, such as a skills or ability you’re trying to highlight. You want more than them just saying, “She’s great” or “He’s good at what he does.” Let it be something more like a former boss stating you delivered a project in record time which helped the company boost sales.
Do you have expertise in a particular area? Consider adding a blog. A blog will help show off that expertise as well as your writing ability, a desirable skill that employers look for. Just make you contribute to the blog regularly, at least a couple times a month. Talk about projects you’re working on, advice to people trying to break into the field, or maybe commenting on the industry and its trends.
Lastly, if you’re a freelancer of any, include a “Hire Me” page. Explain the services you offer, pricing, and a link to a contact page or contact information.
Now that you’ve planned out your website, build it! Have fun with this part. Use pictures for interest but use your own pictures. Avoid clip art and stock pictures. You want to use them to show your personality not someone else’s. Use proper grammar and correct spelling. Have someone proofread for you, if needed. Publish nothing until you are done building, all errors are corrected, and you are sure any links are working. Periodically check your links to ensure they still work. Add or change things as you wish. Just don’t leave any page “under construction”; publish only completed pages.
Once you publish, help bring attention to your website by learning about SEO (search engine optimization), include the URL on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Add it to business cards. Don’t forget your network of friends, family, former co-workers, etc. and any other social media.
Have you built a personal website? What did you add to it? Let us know in the comments!