Can a Personal Website Help Your Job Search?
Smart job seekers look for any advantages they can to show that they’re a better fit for a company than their competitors. It all starts off course with your resume, which should be written in a way that identifies your unique strengths. It’s complemented by things like cover letters, portfolios, LinkedIn and social media profiles, and much more – all of which are designed to paint a picture of a great possible employee.
Some job seekers continue to find new ways to complement their resume, and one of the most common is with a personal website – a website about you that you create, manage, and more. These personal websites are essentially extended resumes, and may have features such as:
- Links to relevant work.
- Long form resumes (more than one page)
- Areas of interest
- Blog posts about your industry, and more.
Although advertised as a “personal website,” it should really be called a “personal professional website.” It should rarely, if ever, have any information about your personal life, and should be almost entirely about your work history and industry.
Are Personal Websites Effective?
Studies about the value of personal websites have been mixed, but most seem to indicate that having a personal website should be seen as a highly valuable tool for finding a job. While not everyone agrees with this assessment, most experts argue that there is significant value to creating a personal professional website, with benefits that include:
- Greater Web Presence – The more professional information a hiring manager can find about you online, the more they build a level of trust in you as a job candidate. As long as everything is professional, this can increase their positive feelings towards your overall candidacy.
- More Chances to Give Information – Resumes are short and LinkedIn information can be limited in scope with cover letters providing little in the way of extra data. Personal websites, on the other hand, can be filled with considerable information about you with no length limit, which in turn gives you more opportunities to impress the hiring manager.
- Commitment to Professionalism – By default, a person that has a personal website is someone who cares about making an impact professionally. This is a positive quality for hiring managers, even if they don’t particularly care about the information on the site.
Very little brands your abilities quite like a personal website – something that you’re in control of, and something that shows you’re a thought leader in your industry.
Qualities of a Great Personal Website
It all sounds really positive but there is a catch. Your personal website has to be impressive. It has to be something that makes a hiring manager say “wow.” That means it may need some work, including:
- Strict Professionalism – You have to make sure you’re never tempted to post anything too personal on the site. You don’t want to introduce potential biases that could influence how the hiring manager sees you, and it’s something that you have to consider any time you post something.
- Have Something to Say – You shouldn’t have a personal site if it isn’t going to help your candidacy. For example, if you do not have a long work history, or you haven’t had many achievements, a personal site may show what you DON’T have, rather than highlight your strengths.
In addition, you have to remember to keep it updated frequently, and tailored to the job you want at the time. A “dead site” is not very impressive to hiring managers, nor is a site that talks about one industry when you’re applying to a completely different industry.
How Do I Create A Great Personal Website
If you are struggling to make your site look good, you may need to consider a website design company, and possibly some content writing. Unless you know how to design a beautiful website and you consider yourself a great writer, you’re going to want to make sure that your site has that wow factor that makes someone interested in you. Low quality sites may not have that.
If you would like to give it a go yourself, there are lots of great software options which are mostly free. The posts below list all those free options:
Should You Have a Personal Site?
Overall, personal professional websites can have significant value. The only caveat is that you have to do it right. If you are going to create a personal site for jobs, make smart decisions and always keep what you think the hiring manager is looking for in mind.