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I know. Building a personal website is so hard and it’s so time-consuming and you, as a job seeker, simply can’t afford to waste your time on anything other than scanning the internet for new openings and writing cover letters.
But what if I were to tell you that owning this fine piece of online real estate could make all the difference in the world? A staggering 56% of hiring managers say that a candidate’s personal website is much more likely to impress them than any other tool. So, if impressing hiring managers is your primary target, I’ll insist that you read the following tips on what you should include on your personal website as a job seeker.
You shouldn’t get carried away and start thinking that your personal website is a place to showcase all aspects of your personality. Cat videos are hilarious and I’m sure you just want to add a picture of your fluffy baby up there, but you are not building a personal website for that; that’s what social media is for, after all –although if you are using your social media profiles for professional purposes, you might want to reconsider that.
Your personal website has one target and one target alone, to get you a job, so the website should focus on that. Anything that can highlight your skills, qualifications, and attributes should be on there; anything that might sway a hiring manager into thinking that you are what they are looking for should be included. Anything that offers nothing towards this goal should be left out.
So, what should you include on your personal website as a job seeker?
1. Your bio
While you don’t need to start like David Copperfield does and go into detail about your life story, you should nevertheless include a short bio of who you are as a professional. Your bio could come in the form of an “About Me” page and while you should focus on highlighting your professional persona, it’s also a good idea to humanize yourself a bit. Add a couple of hobbies here and there, and don’t make your bio too stuffy.
Your bio should also include details of your education and your work expertise – it’s a good idea to add a timeline to demonstrate when you were with each company if you have a long work history. Don’t be afraid to go into details about your education and work experience, but make sure that your bio isn’t a tedious read. The bio should reflect your personality, so make sure that it’s engaging and that it makes people want to interact with you.
It’s also a good idea to upload your resume here, just in case someone stumbles upon it without having received your resume. Since you probably tweak your resume according to the required qualifications each time you send it out, it might be a good idea to get creative with the one you upload onto your website. Make it more elaborate, for example, and cover all aspects of your education, qualifications, and expertise.
2. Samples of your work
What’s cool about having your very own personal website is that you can use it as an online portfolio. Be careful, though: don’t include every piece of work you’ve ever done because that’s just boring, and it shows that you don’t have a critical mind; what you should include, instead, are samples of your very best work.
You might think that if you are not in a visual field that you shouldn’t bother with this aspect of the website. However, you shouldn’t follow this line of thinking. While it’s true that it’s essential for graphic designers, photographers, and artists, in general, to use this online portfolio as a chance to promote themselves, you should still include samples of your work, even if you are not in any of these fields.
If you are in marketing, use this section of the website to promote the best campaigns you’ve put together; if you are in business or in sales, use words to discuss the best deals you’ve cut. Remember that just because your work can’t be depicted visually doesn’t mean that you can’t showcase your work. You just must get a bit creative. It’s also a good idea to quantify your results; for example, don’t just say that you bring in new companies but instead say how many companies you’ve brought in. Any number is always more impressive than no number.
3. A blog
There’s nothing that can help you learn more about an individual than a personal blog, so make sure a section of your website is dedicated to your professional blog. A blog is the perfect medium to share your professional philosophy and thoughts while you can also use it to share anything that’s happening in your field which you think is important.
An up-to-date blog will present the hiring manager with the image you’d like them to have of you: an engaged professional who’s interested in the happenings of the field and who’s committed to his career path. This is why you should never include a blog which you haven’t touched in ages, so make sure that you update your blog a couple of times a month at least; you should also make note of your writing style – even if you are not in the writing business – as it can help highlight your verbal and communication skills.
There’s nothing to make your case like testimonials from people you’ve worked with. They can add credibility and value to who you are as a professional, so make sure that you use quotes from people who’ve worked with you.
The tricky part is to make them sound real which is why they should be direct quotes from your LinkedIn testimonials. If they can also be found on your LinkedIn profiles, then they’re definitely real, so make sure that you connect with people you’ve worked with on LinkedIn and also ask them to leave a brief comment about you and your collaboration.
Make sure that you include testimonials with substance and not testimonials that sound like bragging. If all someone has to say for you is that you are great, don’t use that on your personal website. Try telling your LinkedIn connections what attribute you’d like them to highlight and to be specific; this should help with making your testimonials more engaging.
5. A picture of you
You might feel uneasy adding a picture of yourself on your personal website, but it’s important that you do as it can help humanize you. Make sure that the picture you choose to add is a professional one; for example, it should be a picture you’d add on your LinkedIn profile.
The hiring manager will be more interested in what you have to offer to the company than what you look like, but it’s still important that you present them with a visual to add to the qualifications. While it’s okay for a resume to not have a picture of the candidate, it’s not okay for a personal website not to have one as it might look boring and distant.
6. Contact information
You should obviously include your contact information on your personal website. This contact information should be visible, and it should have links to all your professional platforms. Make sure that you are thorough and that should anyone want to contact you through your professional website, it can be done easily and directly.
7. A welcome page
It’s very important that as soon as the hiring manager lands on your professional website, they are greeted with a warm welcome. And I don’t mean that you should welcome them in words; I mean that you should take extra care with the colors and the layout of your welcome page, and that you should include your elevator pitch. Make sure that your elevator pitch is short and to the point, and that you take into account that it’s difficult to be as communicative through the written word, so choose your words wisely.
8. Other Ideas
I’m not going to go into detail about these, but here are a few other ideas for sections you could include on your site:
- Press Mentions– if you’ve been interviewed, featured, or mentioned in any press, listing it is a great way to build credibility.
- A “Hire Me” Page– if you offer freelance services, this is a great type of page to have. You can explain what services you offer, your pricing, and direct people to your contact page to get the ball rolling on projects.
- Travel– Travel provides you with experiences, stories, and added perspective that can make you interesting and more attractive to employers.
- Books You’ve Read– Showing that you’re a knowledge-hungry person who augments their education is always a good thing, unless a dictator is interviewing you for the position of Dumb Guard. You can use the Goodreads widget to show off what you’ve read.
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