More than half of all recruiters (56 percent) are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool, according to a recent study. Despite this majority, only seven percent of job seekers actually have a personal website.
Start by purchasing a domain name. For job seekers, the simplest way to decide this is by sticking with your name. Use the version of your name you’d like to be called in the professional world (either your full name or a shortened nickname). Purchase your name at a dot com site for the most professional appeal. For bonus credibility, use the domain name as your personalized handle on all of your social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Next, you need to choose a hosting platform. Sites like WordPress offer customizable templates that make it easy to fill in the blanks and create a unique website. Find the platform that works best for you.
Create a list of pages you want to include. A job seeker website should have pages for your bio, resume, portfolio, and contact information. Depending on your career path or industry, these pages may vary. Research websites of other job seekers in your industry for ideas. Determine the pages you will need on your website. There should also be links to your social media sites.
After you decide on the skeleton of your website, it’s time to make it pretty. The look of your site should reflect your professional image. This includes the layout, colors, font, photos, writing style, and more. All of these details should work together to portray your personal brand.
Once you’ve got the basic pages of your site, it might be wise to add a blog. If you can devote the time on a regular basis, a blog is a great way to showcase your writing and knowledge of your industry. Choose topics specific to your industry and skills. Use it to write about the things you learn from industry trends and experts. Recruiters like to see when you write about things relevant to them.
If you do decide to include a blog, it’s important to update it regularly. When your website’s last post was six months ago, and the next post was four months before that, recruiters will not be impressed. An un-updated blog looks unprofessional and lazy.
Finally, it’s time to share your website with the world. Post the link to your site on social media and include it in your resume and cover letter. Give recruiters a reason to view your site.
It’s time to take some action. Be a part of the impressive seven percent and launch your own website. If you do it the right way, it can only strengthen your brand and excite recruiters.
What tips do you have for job seekers building their own websites?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.