It used to be that having a slick resume and some nice letterhead was all a job seeker needed to get an interview. Not anymore. The web has become more important in every facet of our lives, to the point that it can even affect a job search. In other words, if you’re a job seeker, you need to think about how your profile is appearing online, and what the search engines are saying about you to future employers.
One great way for job seekers to take control of their online profile is to build their own personal website. You don’t have to create a super-complicated site with 8 million pages and flash navigation; just an overview of your skills, your experience, and what you’re looking for can help you stand out in a job search. Need more convincing? Check out these additional reasons to build your own website.
Job Seekers, You should have a personal website because …
A website is easy to build
No, really. You don’t have to be an HTML and programming wizard to build a site that will look professional, display your information, and help future employers learn more about you. Many of the blogging platforms, such as Word Press and Typepad, offer templates you can follow to create a clean, simple website that features your contact information, your bio, your resume, and your blog. Best of all, these sites make it easy to update or make changes to your site, and host all of your files and information for a low monthly fee. (And if you want to get a little more industrious or customized, you can always hire a designer to help you with your blog look, feel, and functionality.)
Bonus tip: If you’re still not sure about building a personal website, a great way to dip your toe in the water is to build a LinkedIn or Brazen Careerist profile. You can make parts of these profiles public (your work experience, career summary, or education), which future employers will be able to find if they search for you.
It will help you get found
Have you ever Googled yourself? (I bet you have.) What did you find? Some random links to Facebook photos and possibly a program from your 10-year high school reunion?
By building a website that features your name in the URL, you’ll have more control over what hiring managers and future employers see if they Google you before (or after) an initial interview. Having a website and blog can push those unrelated sites further down in the rankings, allowing a summary of your career to ride at the top of the search results.
A blog can help you stand out
Future bosses and hiring managers want to see that you know your industry inside and out – what better way to show them than by starting your own blog? By posting several thoughtful posts on your field or industry each week, you can really demonstrate your expertise, as well as your level of engagement. A great blog roll that features thought leaders can further show how knowledgeable you are. As an added bonus, being active in the blogging community (by commenting on other blogs in your niche and promoting other blogger’s content on Twitter and Facebook) can be a great way to network yourself and possibly find your next boss, colleague, or business partner.
A website is a great supplement to your resume
I’m not saying that print resumes are dead or that you should ignore them altogether. Rather, having a personal website and online resume can tell parts of your story that your print resume can’t. A print resume, after all, is often limited to one page, whereas a website can feature a portfolio of your work and projects, direct feedback or testimonials from your references, links to online studies or initiatives you have participated in, and additional work information that won’t fit on an 8.5 X 11 sheet of copy paper.
On top of everything else, building a personal website shows a future employer that you’re comfortable working on the web and are willing to try something new. That little extra initiative may ultimately pay off big time in your job search.