Benefits of a Personal Website

The first thing most employers do nowadays is google a person to learn more about them.  You can learn about a person’s employment history from a resume, but does it provide a complete picture?  The answer is no.

A LinkedIn account–while serving as a digital resume, probably more desirable than paper–still doesn’t give a complete picture of who a person is.  What would you prefer when your time comes, someone rooting through your social media accounts piecing together ‘who you are’ or them finding a sleek, well designed profile at the end of that google search?

Keep reading to find out why students, CEO’s and everyone in between should have a personal website.

A personal website contains information of a personal nature as opposed to an organization or company.

They are becoming very popular as a way of sharing a person’s activities, skills and experiences.  The site provides an opportunity for the creator to highlight the important and relevant aspects of their professional and personal life, delivering a more complete picture.

Getting started

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to create and maintain a site.  Visit Go Daddy and check to see if your personal domain name is available www.FirstLast.com, then buy it!  It’s that easy.  Your company name may change or your career goals, but your name will stay the same.  It’s a very smart investment.

WordPress is another option that allows you to build a personal website and is cost effective and user friendly. Literally within a day your site can be live.

What employers are saying

Charles Pooley, the Founder and CEO of Workfolio shared some research.  90% of first impressions now happen online and 56% of hiring managers are more impressed by personal websites than any other tool. (source AYTM Survey) 77% of people would rather see communications from a person than a business.

A website gives you creative freedom to express your personality in ways that may not be possible through your resume. Everything from the bio paragraph you write to the design options you choose for your website says something about you, and gives recruiters more chances to decide if they want to bring you in for an interview – Charles Pooley

A personal website demonstrates your tenacity, passions and ambitions by documenting your activities, accomplishments and interests.

When should you create one?  The perfect time is when you are still at school.  In fact Pooley mentions in his Bloomberg interview that students are one of the largest groups of users due to the competition to impress admission offices, after it can be used as a job search tool.  The personal website or portfolio is becoming the new resume, the ‘resume of the future’ if you will.

Students

According to Pooley’s research 70% of open jobs are not advertised meaning employers are finding candidates before they post a job.  If a position is posted an average of 150-300 resumes are submitted and the average search takes 8 months.  Its no wonder employers are looking at alternative ways to make this process more efficient.

Having a personal website elevates the chance of being found by ‘like minded’ individuals or companies.

It’s another compelling reason for employers to look at personal websites as part of their hiring process.  To find the right ‘fit’ for the long term is key.

Forbes published an article outlining some thought provoking facts that supports the benefits of a CEO who blogs.  In a nutshell reputation, inspiration and pride are the key to business success and a CEO who blogs provides transparency which is the cornerstone.  Read the article here.

Content ideas for students

Here are some content ideas that can evolve over time;

  • Blogging – a great way to share your story.  Here’s some great advice from a variety of blogging experts from Buffer and an article ‘Blogging for Beginners‘. (Its important to mention the need to get permission to use photos/media images or use free sites like this or this).
  • Have you created or developed something?  A Product Development competition or been interviewed for a podcast? Include details with pictures!
  • Social media links (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube etc.) Your activity will speak volumes about who you are.
  • Include the clubs/associations where you are a member – this will highlight your ability to network and where you already have developed networks.
  • Highlight work experience/Internships and the skills you have attained.
  • Contact details – a cell number and/or email address is enough private info to share.

Don’t forget to keep your personal website current–even if you created it to find a job (and landed one)–it’s your personal brand and you never know who is looking at it at any given time.

Last but not least, be yourself

Your personal website is a reflection of you, there is no right or wrong way of creating it, as long as its authentic.  Your writing style, images and the content should emphasis ‘your’ personality and experiences, not replicate someone else.  It may not appeal to everyone, but that’s okay.  The people who are interested in your site (and in you) are the people that matter.

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken – Oscar Wilde

Do you have a great site or know someone who does?

Ali Bouzari is a culinary scientist, author, educator and business owner, he will be featured on the My Food Job Rocks! podcast September 19.  Check out Ali’s personal website.  Julie is a Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and the subject of Episode 16 My Food Job Rocks! Podcast and the inspiration behind this post. Check out Julie Miguel’s personal website here.

What do you think makes a great site?  Employers/hiring managers do you have any insight regarding personal websites for those thinking of creating one?  Please leave suggestions/comments below and as always you can reach me anytime.