In 2010 I started to conceive my interpretation of a professional website and in the intervening years have evolved this interpretation considerably. I have analyzed potential competitor services, web services such as an online resume (or CV ) or a professional profile or simply a personal website. In addition, I am always coming up with new functionality or utility for a professional website. And here is my basic concept of a professional website.
A professional website can be considered a combination of a “multi-dimensional resume” , a “personal website”, and an “online identity”. It can be considered a multi-dimensional resume because it is built with the basic constructs of a resume and has added interactive elements only available with a website interface. It could be considered a personal website because when most individuals decide to build a website, they do so in a professional context; they may visit a personal website service and design the website themselves but do so for professional reasons. Finally, a professional website might be considered an “online identity” because it can act as the central node for an individual across the internet. In other words, it might be what an individual wants to appear as the first search result in a Google search or it might be their primary reference in social media. Another important aspect of an online identity is that a professional website has a unique domain name, usually including a professional’s first and last name.
Sections of a professional website include those of a single dimensional resume and those related to the expanded functionality of the internet. These sections fall into four basic categories:
- Experiences, which represents a professional background – employment, educational, and interests – the same as a standard resume (see Experience Section)
- Attributes, which represents the presentation and validation of a skill (something we refer to as “badges”, see previous blog Badges to learn more). Attributes might include IT Skills, certifications, awards, etc. (see Attributes Section)
- Body of Work, which represents something created by an individual – such as publications, a portfolio of website, galleries of artwork, etc. A professional website is an excellent medium to share actual examples of pieces of work. (see Body Of Work Section)
- Communications, which represents something an individual says – through a blog, social media, a video, etc. It is becoming increasingly important to have a voice in this information age. (see Communications Section)
A professional website is different from a resume not only with the expanded use of sections, but also in presenting richer content and communication functionality. An example of richer content might be sharing the paper written for a course referenced in an educational experience. An example of added communication might be allowing for someone to send you a message about a particular employment experience.
To also be a “personal website”, a professional website combines the “data-centric” approach of a resume with stylistic functionality found with personal website web services. Generally speaking, there is latitude for customization regarding the style and layout of particular pages of a professional website.
To be effective as an “online identity”, a professional website must be comprehensive enough to encompass all relevant professional content and also have the functionality to control how that content is found and disseminated on the internet. The four sections mentioned above describe the depth of content collected with a professional website. To control how the content is shared on the internet, a professional website is built with strong SEO (“search engine optimization”) fundamentals – giving an individual control regarding how their website is represented in search engines; for example, an individual can define keywords and a description about their professional website. The proper use of skill sets can also be used to distinguish oneself.
TheProfessionalWebsite provides a professional website service with all of the functionality mentioned above.