The traditional approach for seeking employment is to find a job listing and apply to it by email or filling out an online form. We call this a “push approach”, where you “push” a resume to a potential employer. Within this approach, there are two different strategies: applying to a few positions with unique resumes and cover letters or applying to many positions with a generic resume and cover letter. For example, someone applying for a judge clerkship would take the first strategy and someone applying for a database administrator would take the latter strategy. A professional website has functionality for a “push approach” with both of these strategies.
Most of the content collected for a professional website can be used to generate a standard resume. You can also include sections not commonly shown on a resume – such as a portfolio. You have complete control over which sections appear on your resume and, within the section, what content appears (each line-item has “on” and “off” switches). A professional website also has functionality to build a list of contacts who you are sending your employment applications to. Also, you can track applications you sent and update their statuses.
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Companies are increasingly using web services to find talent for employment opportunities; for example, drawing from my own personal experience, I have recently been contacted by hiring personnel from three companies based on my LinkedIn profile. Having potential employers find you can take some of the onus off of you to search (and apply) through the many job listing directories and perhaps avoid missing out an opportunity just because you did not find the listing. I call this a “pull approach” to employment seeking, where you “pull” potential employers to your professional website – an ideal landing platform. With a professional website, there are many advantages in having a “pull approach” .
“Pulling” a potential employer can be accomplished by using SEO (“search engine optimization”) or getting found in search engines, setting up your professional website to be a landing page in social media, and sending invitations to hiring professionals. Learn more about how to implement a “pull approach” by reading my blog entry How To Implement a Pull Approach.
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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.
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Managing an organization’s website versus a personal website require very different marketing strategies, especially with SEO (“search engine optimization”) approaches. Typically an organization wants their website found in all search results when users search on keywords relevant to their business; for example, an online shoe store wants to be found in a Google search result when a user searches for “leather sandals”. However, an individual may or may not want to “get found” in a Google result and if they are found may want to restrict access to content on the website. With a professional website, an individual controls SE0 and access to their website.
Professionals that use their professional website to share a “body of work”, such as publications, galleries, portfolios, would most likely want to “get found” in search engines when users search on keywords – like the subject matter or title of a work. Obviously, “getting found” can promote a piece of work and the professional who created it.
Certain professions that require significant background experience and skill, such as lawyers, professors, and scientists, might want to “get found” in search engines when users search on keywords related to their profession. It would be beneficial for a professional website to appear when a user searches on the keywords: “Rochester corporate lawyer with 10 years experience”, for example. “Getting found” promotes professionals with particular talent that may be difficult to find.
Perhaps you have “something to say” on your professional website through a blog, videos, or social media. It can be difficult to get people to read your blog because there are so many of them; currently there are 181 million blogs worldwide. “Getting found” can promote your professional communications by increasing your audience.
Finally, if you are a professional seeking employment, you may want to “get found” in search engines when potential employer search on keywords related to your skill set. This is a “pull” approach to seeking employment; “pull” potential employers to your professional website. “Getting found” can increase the likelihood of finding employment.
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Organizations should consider adopting the use of a collection of professional websites. There are different ways an organization can utilize professional websites. First, a collection of professional websites can act like “biographies” often found on an About Us page of a corporate website. Second, a HR department could require applicants to submit links to their own professional website; it could become the primary tool for a company’s evaluation purposes. Finally, it could be used to create brand awareness. For example, universities can design special professional websites for their students with university colors, logos, etc.
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There are clear advantages with having a professional website while seeking employment.
- Multi-dimensional Resume: An Interactive Interface For Potential Employers
- Search Through Website By Targeting Skill Sets
- Create and Disseminate Resumes and Portfolios
When you apply to an employment opportunity, the ideal situation is to “pull” potential employers to your professional website for their evaluation because of its interactive features. A professional website is built on the standard structure of a resume but has many added features to facilitate communication, enrich content, and develop a skill set.
Some of the communication features are meant to help skip some of the preliminary probing by a potential employer. For example, you can provide the contact information of a reference for an employment responsibility and a potential employer could send an email to that reference – of course you would provide reference information at your own discretion.
Richer content includes using files, images, and linking to provide substance about an experience. For example, if you wrote a paper for a course in college, you can upload and make it available on your professional website.
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