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Career Monday: How To Use A Personal Website In Your Job Search

If you’re job hunting these days, you might need more than a paper resume. Graphic designers and other creative types have been using personal websites for years. Now, the trend is becoming more mainstream.

There are at least two reasons behind this. The growth in remote and hybrid work makes online communications more important. At the same time, simple templates make it easy for anyone to produce a professional looking site without having to go to coding camp or art school.

Impress your next employer with an amazing showcase of your unique qualifications. Learn how to create and promote your personal website.

Creating Your Personal Website:

1. Optimize your introduction. Hiring managers want to figure out what kind of employee you’d be without having to spend a lot of time reading. Start with a strong summary that conveys your personality and major achievements in just a few sentences.

2. Focus on visuals. Photos, icons, and formatting make your website more attractive. Take pictures and browse online for free stock photos. Even infographics can be easy with software like Google Charts.

3. Include a headshot. If you don’t want to pay a professional photographer, be sure to use natural light and a neutral background. Smile and wear something classic in dark or neutral solid colors.

4. Provide work samples. Depending on your line of work, you might feature articles you’ve written or case studies of successful projects. Testimonials are valuable too, because what others say about you can be more persuasive than what you say about yourself.

5. Use tabs. What if your work involves several different areas or you have a side gig? You may still want to use a single website with separate sections for each line of work.

6. Check contact information. How do you want others to reach you? Consider using a contact form instead of posting your cell phone number or home address online.

7. Be authentic. Try to let your individuality shine through, while still being professional. Mention your volunteer work or interesting hobbies.

Promoting Your Personal Website:

1. Learn SEO. How can you attract potential employers and other visitors to your website? Study and apply some basic search engine optimization. For example, research industry keywords and use headings and subheadings. You can find free SEO courses online from reputable organizations like HubSpot.

2. Sign your emails. Maybe you’ll want to include your website in your email signature. For extra impact, put your headshot in too, when appropriate.

3. Write a newsletter. The traditional newsletter is still an excellent way to stay in touch. Make it interesting and useful and provide an easy way to opt out.

4. Update regularly. It’s easy to keep your website current, unlike outdated resumes that end up in the recycling bin. Post major changes promptly and start a folder for material you might want to add later, so you’ll remember it for future editing sessions.

5. Perform analytics. Studying your data will help you to evaluate your efforts and make changes as needed. Many website building and hosting companies have analytics built in to help you measure things like unique visitors and traffic sources.

6. Build your brand. Think about how your personal website fits into your online presence and your overall efforts to position yourself professionally. Maintain a consistent tone. Audit yourself occasionally, including your social media pages, to see that you’re projecting the image you have in mind.

A personal website could make your next job search faster and more successful. It’s one more tool that helps you stand out from the crowd and show an employer how much you have to offer.

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