You've polished your résumé. Updated your LinkedIn profile. Networked like crazy. And still you haven't been able to get your foot in the door for the job you want. What's the secret to getting the attention of hiring managers?
It just might be having your own website.
According to a study by Workfolio, a new professional visibility company that provides personal website services for job seekers and executives, 56 percent of hiring managers are more impressed by a personal website than any other branding tool you could use. And yet, only 7 percent of job seekers have websites. Why the disconnect?
The reason for the disparity may be because personal branding websites are still relatively new, and because most people have no idea of what to put on their sites. We've seen tools like About.me and VisualCV.com, but the category is still evolving and improving.
What to Include on Your Personal Website
Charles Pooley, Workfolio's founder and CEO, says the following components should be included on your personal site:
It shouldn't be a verbatim copy of your résumé, but instead highlight the points on which you want to focus. You can also include links to social media platforms you're active on, but only the ones that are relevant to hiring managers.
Pay Attention to the Content
You can also show off your expertise by including blog posts on topics that relate to the field you work in, or want to work in. Even if you don't have a ton of job experience, well-written and well-informed copy can go a long way in impressing a potential employer.
Also give focus to the rest of the copy on your site, and make sure it entices hiring managers to take action to get in touch with you. Pooley says: "If someone is hunting for a new job or new clients, letting visitors know what they're looking for with clear calls-to-action encourages prospective employers or potential new clients to reach out to them."
Keep It Fresh
Make sure to update your website every few months. Keep your achievements up to date, and upload a newer headshot to keep it current. If you're no longer looking for a job, you can leave the site up, but make sure the copy doesn't encourage hiring managers to get in touch, otherwise your boss might find your site and have a few questions for you.
Keeping Your Website Professional
Here are a few additional tips to making sure your website always looks professional.
1. Pay for a domain name. Many services like Workfolio will provide a custom URL, but above all, don't use the freebie. INeedaJob.Wordpress.com just screams desperate and cheap.
2. Upload your portfolio. Find a tool that lets you upload samples of your work, if appropriate. This works best for writers and designers.
3. Keep it simple. You don't need to dive into programming and code to have a great site. Find a tool that matches your technical capabilities.
4. Use a professional photo. If you don't have one, ask a friend to take one with a neutral background.
5. Keep the font simple. You're not in junior high, so leave the cutesy fonts alone.
Any tool that increases your chance of getting hired for your next role is worth investing in. Spend the time and minimal money to make your website look sharp and appealing. Proofread it for grammatical errors, and have a friend do the same. Check the links to make sure they all work properly as well.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.