In this Digital Footprint series, we’ve already mentioned that it’s important to build a compelling and engaging LinkedIn profile. But have you ever considered adding a personal website as a means of self-promotion?
Let’s face it. The job market is very competitive place, and it’s easy to think that there are always people who are better and more well-suited for a job than you are. So how do you gain an edge over your competition? Having a personal website might just be an answer. If you are a freelancer, having your own website can attract projects so start building.
Benefits of a personal website
- Do not let a search engine build your online presence. Control your online presence yourself, so that you will be attractive to employers and HR managers. Here are some of the advantages of having a personal site.
- When people search for your name, you can have more control over what is shown on the search engine results.
- Sometimes, the resume is not enough to show the great things that you can do. For one, if you are a photographer or a graphic artist, you cannot put all your portfolio in a resume. Placing this information on a blog or website is more practical because there are no restrictions.
- You can have an interactive website or blog where people can download various media that showcase your talent and skills.
Having your own website shows that you can keep up with technology. In today’s digital age, an advanced knowledge of technology makes you more attractive to HR managers and employers scouting for candidates.
Website vs. Blog
Many people have websites, and there are also so many people who have blogs. But keep in mind: these are two different things. Before you decide whether to have a website or a blog, it is important to know the difference.
A website has static content with a professional and formal tone. It does not allow the user to interact. Usually, a website is for transactions, such as buying a product or service. Having a website is a requirement today when you start a business, for instance (even if that business is yourself).
A blog is almost the opposite: the content is updated regularly, and it is not formal. It allows interaction between two parties, and a blog aims to inform and educate the readers.
You can combine a website and a blog by having a blog on your website (blog software is a big help—WordPress, for instance, can seamlessly integrate a blog into your website). Even though websites and blogs each work differently and have different purposes (and, for that matter, produce different results), they are also necessary as you establish an online presence. They go well together, and the results over time are good for your online exposure.
Start building and going live
Gone are the days of having to be a coding genius or a graphic artist in order to setup a website. Today, there are free web-based tools that are easy to use in building your own site. Before you launch your site, you will need to do the following:
- Choose a domain name.
- Decide on a platform.
- Set up your site and design it.
What to include in a personal website
Welcome visitors to your site by having a short intro about yourself and what stands out about you. You can also include a photo for your profile picture. That will make your site more credible.
This is where your bio should go. Give an insider’s look at who you are, what you do, and other aspects of your personality, like areas that interest you, as well as other hobbies you may have. After this, outline other work experiences on your website: this can look less formal, so long as it looks creative. Of course, include all the work experiences that you have.
Also include information about where you went to school, your degree, certifications, licenses, achievements and other important credentials. Add your awards, patents, and other publications that makes you an expert in the field that you have chosen.
If you are a writer, graphic artist, photographer, writer, or painter, uploading your work on your website is a great opportunity to show what you can do. This will show people what you are good at, quickly and easily.
Adding videos to your bio or portfolio can make your site more interesting.
Make it easy for people to see all your social media accounts but see to it that you control the privacy settings.
Make sure to add your contact information so that employers and recruiters are able to reach out to you. You have the option in putting up a contact form, phone number, or email.
Design your website in a way that it is easy on the eyes. Avoid unnecessary designs that can slow down your site. Be creative and show your personality in your website to catch the attention of potential employers and recruiters. Use necessary keywords to optimize your site on the search engine. Having your website will give you an edge from the rest and make you stand out from the crowd.
Stay tuned for future chapters of this Digital Footprint series. In part 4, we’ll discuss how you can optimize search engine optimization, or SEO, to make yourself more presentable. Making the web work for you is easier than you think!