This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.
Once upon just a few years ago, recruiters and employers relied on resumes, cover letters, and interviews alone to judge potential hires. Now, Internet presence is a huge part of the hiring process. According to Workfolio, 56% of hiring managers are most impressed by a candidate’s website, but only 7% of candidates have personal websites. In other words, it’s probably time for you to get on board (if you aren’t already).
So, what is a personal website?
The concept is pretty self-explanatory, but there are some gray areas in terms of what goes into a personal website. The best personal websites include the following:
About Me – Just a quick introduction to you. Keep it simple – your work should do most of the talking.
My Portfolio/Resume – Some skills or industries lend themselves well to a personal portfolio. If your skills lie in design, writing, or anything that can be showcased on your website, this is the place to show them off. If your portfolio is limited, feel free to include your resume so recruiters can see the other amazing skills you already have.
Blog – Only if you’re into it. A blog can be an incredible professional tool for establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. A blog can also show potential employers or clients your dedication, attention to detail, and crazy writing skills. If you aren’t excited about writing a blog, though, you don’t have to! Your personal website is all about you and your professional brand.
Hire Me – Adding a “Hire Me” page greatly increases your chances of finding job opportunities because your resume and skills are visible to the world, even when you aren’t actively interviewing. If you’re looking to transition from the office to freelance work or just get extra experience on the side, this is a perfect addition to your personal website.
Why do you need one?
Showcase yourself and your work. If someone shows up to an interview with a seven-page resume, that person is probably awful. But during the hiring process, that’s exactly what an online portfolio is – it allows you a place to showcase all of the work you can’t fit on your resume. If you’re a writer, you now have somewhere to store your best pieces so an employer can easily sift through them and appreciate your awesome self. A professional website also gives employers a hint of your personality, which is usually lost on a resume.
Establish your online presence. Making yourself known online is an amazing asset to job searchers. It increases your visibility and makes you stand out strong in an interviewer’s mind. With a personal website, you are able to put your best and truest self out into the world for employers and clients to see. And that’s pretty amazing.
Show your skills. During interviews, showing is always better than telling. Strong computer skills are a huge asset in today’s job market, so show your potential employer your skills first-hand. Setting up a personal website illustrates you ability to learn and utilize important new professional skills. And that’s a pretty big deal.
How do I start?
Getting started won’t take long, and once you’re set up, your site will only require occasional updates (when you do something awesome that you need to add, of course!). WordPress is one of the most popular personal website platforms because it is customizable, easy to use, and free. Other platforms include Tumblr, Blogger, and Posterous.
Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and tweet her @lindseygsampson.