For some jobs, cover letters and resumes alone just don’t cut it anymore. How we apply for jobs is rapidly changing – other applicants are going above and beyond with their applications, and employers are starting to expect more. Having a personal website is a good way to stand out and share extra information about yourself without having to make new content for every single job you apply for.
Why Make a Website
Taking the initiative to make a website already says a lot about the type of employee you would be – it portrays you as someone willing to go the extra mile. By injecting your personality throughout the website and adding in details you couldn’t fit into the traditional application, a personal website also allows an employer to get to know you better than the typical cover letter would.
Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, as a former hiring manager herself, agrees that personal websites can greatly benefit an applicant. “It tells me [a potential hire is] serious about standing out and that they take pride in their work,” says Christie. “It’s a very valuable extension of their resume and cover letter.”
Christie also finds that there are a lot of practical benefits to browsing an applicant’s personal website. “You’re fast forwarding the hiring process. It allows [hiring managers] to see if [the applicant’s] aesthetics match that of the company hiring,” states Christie. “Hiring managers also have to ask less questions and that’s a time saver!”
What to Include on Your Website
First, pick out a website hosting tool and a domain name. There are plenty of free or affordable website hosts – for instance, Wix, Squarespace, Google Sites, and WordPress. Research hosting platforms and determine which one supports the ideas you have for your website. As for your domain name, it should be a simple variation of your name – the same way you’d name your email account.
Before you decide what to make your website look like, consider the content that you want to put on it. Your resume is an essential, as well as your portfolio if you’re applying for creative jobs. If applicable, consider links to social media, press about you, and prior work that appears online.
This is where you need to start thinking about the aesthetics of your website. You don’t need to know the ins and outs of web design to create your site, as most hosting tools have templates that are easy to edit, though if you’re looking for a job that deals in visuals – for instance, graphic design – customizing the website as thoroughly as possible is a great way to showcase your design skills.
You want to make sure your personality permeates every page through the way you word things and aesthetic decisions like colours and fonts. Also ensure that there’s enough room for all the content you wish to include but keep it concise – hiring managers don’t have the time to click around forever.
Christie suggests having everything laid out on the home page. “For example, if you have six categories, do six clickable squares with a preview image on each square,” she says. “[Hiring managers] don’t want to dig around.” This type of layout is simple and easy to use, but still allows for plenty of information.
Your personal website will see your skills, experience, and personal brand packed into one straightforward website for hiring managers to peruse. Maintaining one ensures that employers will know plenty about how you’d benefit their company before you even step foot into an interview. And, being that you can hand out the link to plenty of hiring jobs, it’s worth the time and effort to make one!
Emily Morrison is a freelance writer and media professional with passions for film and storytelling.