A recently unemployed friend of mine noticed I had a personal website and asked if it was working. I admit the I dropped the ball with an insufficient response. I said it was a good idea, but didn’t offer a sense of urgency. If I could get a second chance to answer the website question, I’d offer an astounding YES!
It’s a crowded job market. A personal website can help you stand out. Website designer Workfolio recently stated only 7% of job seekers maintain a personal website. Hiring managers often say personal websites are the most attractive tool a job candidate can present. Plus, creating a website is easy to do!
Who Should Do It?
Those currently working or seeking work in communications, design, journalism, and technology fields, just to name a few. Basically, if you’re already in (or hope to be) a field where you can amass a portfolio of work, use your site to show it off. 10 years ago, the creation of a basic portfolio website was a requirement in one of my introductory telecommunications courses. Sadly, only one or two courses that followed required the use of a website. If college graduates entering the workforce are accustomed to maintaining a site, it doesn’t hurt those out of school a while to do the same.
How Do I Get Started?
This is the best part: tech guys are no longer the only people who can build websites. Sure, they can pull off snazzy stuff and are very good at what they do, but a personal website can easily be done on your own. Wix, WordPress, tumblr, and BlogSpot are great sites to do it for FREE.
What Do I Fill It With?
At least cover the basics. Who are you (about me section), what have you done (resume page), why did you create the site (to provide samples to a future employer or to simply aggregate your work), and how to contact you (email and social media links, not home address). A blog page allows you to highlight your knowledge. Additionally, by regularly updating your blog you prove you are engaged (not just creating the site and then walking away). The addition of photos and videos is also typically easy.
When does a personal website not work?
Obviously, you don’t want a site that is littered with grammatical and spelling errors. A blog that hasn’t been updated since July 2012 is a turn-off. Links that don’t work are a big negative as well. Sure, these points are all common sense but many personal sites violate these basic principles.
Notice I tagged this blog entry with “job search” and “PR” tags. Categorizing your blog content is a nice (and easy) gesture. In this case, the job search tag is self-explanatory. I added the marketing tag as I view the building of a personal website as the marketing of YOU! A personal website doesn’t guarantee you finding a job, but it can serve you well when done correctly. After all, it’s easy to do.
I admit my site isn’t perfect nor an example of every item I would suggest in a “best practices” discussion. So, expect some tweaks in the coming days. If I can help you get started with your website, and avoid making the same mistakes, email me or post a question a below.