You Should Have A Personal Website

I want to summarize some of the key points from the last three blogs where I discussed what might replace the traditional resume and the concept of a professional identity and incorporated insights from publications by reputable authors (Dan Schawbel in Forbes, Sudy Bharadwaj in Mashable , and Susanne Markgren in College & Research Libraries). In this blog, I want to introduce some of the concepts from a LifeHacker blog written by Alan Henry called “How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First Impression”; LifeHacker has a large following and can be considered the pulse of the younger generation regarding personal branding.

I have two overarching conclusions. First, it is clear that a resume is going to morph into something new, something that takes advantage of the functionality of the internet including: delivering various types of media, enabling better interactivity, and using identities and networks. Second, there is this idea of a “professional identity” or “online portfolio” or “online presence” or “nameplate site” which is essentially a personal website with your own domain that acts as the primary node for all your interactions on the internet.

Professional Identity, Personal Brand
Professional Identity, Personal Brand

The standard employment platform is in a transition from a resume into a professional website and there are a few catalysts driving the change:

  • Recruiters are finding it more efficient to seek out candidates. This means there needs to be an accessible search mechanism, which requires a search engine and an index of personal websites or profiles.
  • Higher employee turnover.  In his article, Mr. Schawbel shares a startling stat that 84% of employees plan to look for a new job in 2011; people are on the move looking for the next best opportunity.
  • Accessibility to other forms of media. It is easy to deliver social media, video, files and rich text through the internet; this adds dimensions to an employment evaluation (as Mr. Bharadwaj argues in his article).
  • Facilitating the process. Adding interactivity, with searching, communication, and navigation functionality, is easy to do with a professional website.

Developing a professional identity is discussed in each of the articles. Some of the common themes include:

  • Get a personal professional website with your own domain name. This is your “home base” on the internet, a landing page for all your social media profiles.
  • Be prepared for what content about you is already out there. People are going to look for information about you on the internet. Mr. Henry suggests conducting a “vanity search” on Google to see what others are going to see when they search on your name.
  • Control how you are represented in search engines; you can setup an SEO (“search engine optimization”) and “clean up” what is already out there.
  • Publish content in a professional way. There is a thin line between what is considered professional versus personal. Ms. Marken says to consider publishing everything in a professional context, and Mr. Henry says to consider using anonymity when you publish personal content.
  • Present yourself in a flattering way. Consider the way you represent yourself with a resume, you want to standout as much as possible; don’t worry about possibly sounding conceited, though make sure you are accurate. On Quora, somebody posed the question: “Does a well-designed professional looking personal website make you look conceited?” and it elicited some good responses.
  1. Forbes article “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years”, Dan Schawbel
  2. College & Research Libraries article,  “Ten simple steps to create and manage your professional online identity”, Susanne Markgren
  3. Mashable article “4 Reasons Recruiters Should Stop Accepting Traditional Resumes” ,  Sudy Bharadwaj

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