Guest Contributor, Kevin Skarritt, owner of Flock Marketing
Let’s first ask an obvious question:
Do You Need a Personal Website?
No, you don’t need one, but there are several reasons why a personal website could really help with your personal brand and your job search.
You don’t need to be a computer programmer these days to create a website, but you do need a few hours of time and a pretty big commitment to stretch yourself beyond the limits of your comfort zone. For this reason alone, most people don’t try to tackle the building of a website on their own. However ….
It is my personal AND professional opinion that everyone should buy a URL associated with their name. I will even go so far as to say that you should also buy your kids’ URLs (if you have any) — for their future use. No matter what you end up doing in life, you can market it through a URL associated with your name.
If you make the commitment to go down that personal brand road, I STRONGLY recommend using WordPress to create your personal website. Well, I recommend it for ALL websites — personal and business. I’ve been developing sites since 1994 and the last NON-WordPress site I built was in 2001. It is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world and has many built in features and security features. And again, you don’t need to know how to code. It is extremely user friendly and you can google anything for help. For business websites, I’m not a huge fan of GoDaddy, but they do offer up an easy way to:
- Buy your domain
- Set up hosting
- Install WordPress with the click of a button
Once that’s done, you just need to watch a couple of YouTube videos on how to change your theme to something more aesthetically pleasing than the generic theme that comes baked in to WordPress.
How Your Personal Website Can Help Land Your Next Job
Your professional resume is a really important key in your job search. It tells the hiring manager about you. So should your website.
Unless you are a web designer, your site doesn’t have to be award winning. However, it should be up to date and use a relatively modern theme. Otherwise you will appear to be out-of-date or not that creative — and nobody wants that!
WordPress provides access to many themes to choose from. Pick one you like and the majority of the design work is already done for you. You can play around with colors, fonts, and adding images. But all the basics will already be built in for you. Seriously, WordPress takes all the guess work out of it for you.
Take Away: Start with a pre-designed theme
A personal website should be, well, PERSONAL! You really have the chance to let your personality shine through, which can be a bit harder on a resume. Conversely, your site should not just be a rearrangement of the info on your resume. BORING!
If your website is lacking in a personal touch and is just all business, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of a personal website. However, while you are job searching, it is important to keep the focus of your site on your professionalism and always keep in mind your goal: getting hired. A personal website about all your favorite Cajun recipes is cool, but not necessarily interesting to someone who is looking to hire you — unless you are going to be their chief gumbo maker. If that’s the case, please send me some of your gumbo so I can let you know if it’s helping or hurting your job search efforts! (You’re welcome.)
Want to take a peek at my own personal website? (full disclosure, as of this writing, I’m still working on it … but I’m giving myself really good rates.): KevinSkarritt.com
Although I’m not seeking employment, my plan is to dramatically expand my own personal brand using the same ideas from this post. Feel free to connect with me on Facebook to let me know you’ve visited my site and give me your thoughts. I welcome all input.
Take Away: Stay professional while still showing your individuality.
This is the area you should focus the most on. Most hiring managers will zero in on this piece of your personal website. What are they looking for? Start with a 2-5 sentences that sums up who you are and what your value proposition is (what you makes you a successful candidate who they want to hire?)
Take away: Keep it short and succinct.
A list of projects you have worked on (with an explanation of what each one was about) will give people an idea of what you do well, and what your experience is. What was the idea and objective? How did you go about making decisions? What was the outcome?
Take Away: Always show what you’ve learned and the outcome.
Kevin Skarritt, owner of Flock Marketing, started dabbling in “that web thing” (back when everyone was calling it “that web thing” or “the inter-webs”), and has been designing websites literally since the creation of the first modern browsers. His full-service, digital agency also guides clients in brand strategy, website design, social media engagement and marketing, User Interface and User Experience Design, and creative print design. Connect with him!
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