A short-term objective in having a personal website might be to find employment, but there are two long-term objectives: find a long-term career pursuit and establish a personal brand. There has been some buzz about job seekers needing a personal website (which was the subject of my last blog), but I think you should have a personal website all the time.
Here are some key points:
- The content of a personal website changes depending on whether your objective is to find employment or personal branding (or both). While seeking employment, you want to make sure there is enough content on your personal website for a potential employer to make a decision on hiring you; it essentially replaces the resume. In a way, I think a personal website functions like a multi-dimensional resume – something that takes advantage of media, interactivity, and communication features of the internet.
- Job seeking is a series of finite games you compete in until you find employment. The content of a personal website is tailored for an employment evaluation. You can target each job (game) by sending a personalized invitation and cover letter. Establishing a personal brand is an infinite game where you differentiate from others to become “that guy” – the graphic designer or social media expert or finance guru; you are competing with other professionals for the same title in your target market. The content of the personal website changes as its primary focus becomes perception; you want to demonstrate that you are an expert in your profession (with samples of work) and have fresh insights (with a blog). Our implementation of a personal website makes this transition from “job seeker” to “brander” seamless: easy to change templates, flexible to accommodate new requirements, and everything is stored in databases. And it is easy to switchback to “job seeker” mode.
- You will go through a cycle of job seeking and personal branding throughout your career. You will most likely change careers a few times, so you need a personal website that changes with you. I think of the backend of a personal website as a repository of all your professional content – data stored in databases and a catalogue of files. As you progress through you career, you make visible relevant content.
- Actively versus passively seeking employment. I have a fishing analogy. Actively seeking employment is like casting and reeling it in right away; you cast as many times as possible to increase your chances of catching a fish (a job offer). Passively seeking employment is casting a line rigged with a bobber so once you cast, it becomes a waiting game – you can go off and do other things. When the bobber sinks, you know there is a fish biting the line (job offer).
- A personal website should be based on resume content for three reasons: avoids duplication of content on various platforms, provides content for powerful applications (such as a timeline), and makes a personal website flexible as you progress through the cycles of your career.