As the job hunt is nearly all digital these days, it’s no wonder that personal websites are becoming popular job hunting tools. “More employers are using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool. The success of this online style of recruiting is now spreading into other areas such as video resumes, personal websites resumes, etc.,” notes Chris Delaney, interview coach and author of “The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview.”
There are some major pluses to having a website. “You can increase your chances of being found online by a recruiter by having a personal website. Many recruiters scour the web looking for candidates. With a personal website you make it easier for recruiters looking for people with your skill sets to find you,” Certified Career Coach Cheryl Palmer points out.
“In addition, you can highlight your personal brand through your website in a very effective way because you are not bound by the constraints of the traditional resume or even the structure of a LinkedIn profile. You are free to be creative in how you present your background on a personal website,” she adds.
Of course, resumes are still a must-have for finding a job. But a website can let you explain more about yourself. “A personal website allows candidates to showcase samples of their work that the hiring manager would typically see only during an interview, and they are great tools for web designers, content marketers, photographers–really, anyone who would otherwise be bringing a portfolio to a face-to-face interview,” says resume professional Lynda Spiegel, founder of Rising Star Resumes.
She continues, “Recruiters appreciate being able to narrow down the candidates they wish to meet based on how well they like the work displayed on the site. Audio/video files can be uploaded to the site, if appropriate to the type of work being displayed. But keep everything about the site professional. Avoid pictures of yourself, as they are as potentially litigious as are photos on your resume. The URL belongs on the resume with your other contact information.”
Also, through a website, recruiters can learn more about you and what type of employee you would make. “Personal websites convey someone’s motivation and enthusiasm while also telling potential employers that someone is willing to go above and beyond what is expected of him/her as a job candidate. Personal tone is also more easily conveyed on a website than on a resume which–by its very nature – is a more sterile document,” says Andrea Berkman-Donlon, founder of The Constant Professional.
But make sure your website is professional. It is not Facebook, so you must only put on career information, use professional photos, etc. “First and foremost, your website should demonstrate your professionalism. That means that your content should be error free, and your photo should make you seem friendly and approachable while still projecting a professional image,” says Palmer. “Also, your content should be similar to your resume, but of course because you have more space to play with, you can elaborate on different aspects of your background. For example, instead of simply talking about projects that you have worked on, you can upload PPT presentations or other types of documents that speak to the quality of your work.”
Still, you want to be visually appealing. “Your personal website is designed to secure a job interview, so it has to be visually appealing. Add photos and an introduction video, around 30 seconds long, highlighting your unique selling point and details about previous successes. Remember, the website should be designed to guarantee that the employer reading it, offers you an interview. If you’re applying for creative roles create a creative looking website, if your position is sales based highlighting a massive following on social media channels may be key, or for role where being multilingual is an essential criteria a video of you speaking various languages maybe the key factor for securing the interview,” says Delaney.
A website would also give you an opportunity to include video footage. “A short 30 second introductory video can really make you stand out, as you can sum up your experience and unique selling point before the employer continues to review your website. The only time not to make an introductory video is when you, the applicant, don’t have the charisma to create a good impression via video,” explains Delaney.