A Personal Website For Job Seekers

Finally, a Forbes article says what I have been saying – you should have a personal website.  I wrote two blogs on this subject: You Should Have a Personal Website and Like an Email Address, You Should Have a Personal Website. In Why Every Job Seeker Should Have a Personal Website, And What It Should Include, Ms. Jacquelyn Smith makes the following points:

  • Eighty percent of job openings are never advertised. It is essential to create an online personal brand and a personal website acts as its centerpiece.
  • Most job seekers know they should have a personal website, yet most do not have one. I have been perplexed by this for a while now. In my interactions with professionals the last couple of years, this is why I believe many are hesitant to get a personal website:
    • Requires self-promotion. You have to “put yourself out there”.  Many people shy away from making themselves a “personal brand”, and the advertising that goes along with it.
    • No pre-defined standard structure or layout. Developing a personal website is more sophisticated than a simple resume – something that has a very rigid format.
    • Dealing with personal and professional representations. With a personal website, you want to infuse aspects of your personality (which requires stepping out of the professional confines of a resume).
    • Simply waiting for it to become a requirement – a “follow the herd mentality”
  • The content you include on your personal website should take advantage of a web interface (and Ms. Smith lists each element). This is an opportunity to share all types of media – video, images, files, hyperlinks, and rich-text – to promote your personal brand and add new dimensions to a basic resume.
  • Most potential employers will review your personal website; moreover, many of them think it is a strong branding tool. Last year, I conducted a survey and it was clear that a personal website can be a strong part of an employment evaluation.
Media Portrait
Media Portrait

I have two more points:

  • I think a personal website replaces the resume as an employment evaluation platform.  I sometimes refer to a personal website as a multi-dimensional resume for this reason. So to add to what Ms. Smith says in her article, I think you should include enough content on your personal website so that it is not necessary to refer back to a resume (when you are actively or passively seeking employment). I understand that some potential employers are going to want to see a resume, so you might include a link to a resume from your personal website – though the way I designed a personal website, the content from my personal website feeds a PDF resume – so there is no duplication of content. 
  • A personal website is an opportunity to apply a “pull approach” – where you lure recruiters and potential employers to your personal website. As discussed in my last blog, you can use Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MonsterJobs to get recruiters to your website. You can also blog and participate in other blogs and forums to promote your personal brand. I think a “pull approach” is a more efficient and effective way to place employment. Ms. Smith tiptoes around this in her article, but I think employing a “pull approach” is a compelling reason to have a personal website for active and passive job seekers.

Current State of a Pull Approach

LinkedIn’s Recruiter is currently the most effective search engine to apply a pull approach – where you lure a recruiter or potential employer to your professional website. To apply a pull approach, I recommend publishing your skill set in LinkedIn and setup a basic profile with a link back to your professional website for an employment evaluation.  A Forbes article, Who Should You Hire? LinkedIn Says: Try Our Algorithm, shares some of the most current data regarding its usage: 16,400 enterprises have bought LinkedIn’s Recruiter. In addition, the article discusses how LinkedIn is building a new algorithm to expand “companies’ overall prospect list” by finding ways to leverage similarities in careers, skills, and education from the base search criteria.[1]

MonsterJobs also has an effective search engine for recruiters called Power Resume. Similar to the approach with LinkedIn’s service, you should keep your skill set updated and wherever you get the opportunity (on your profile or a basic resume) link back to your professional website.

There has been a flurry of recent articles about Twitter becoming the next big job board; it is clear recruiters and potential employers are utilizing Twitter to post job opportunities, you can easily find job postings if you look for them. However, to employ a pull approach, Twitter gives you the opportunity to promote your personal brand through an advertisement – essentially a 140 character elevator pitch or 6 second video clip. The way you craft your elevator pitch and utilize hooks, you should be able to get face time with your target companies. And at the end of the Tweet, send them back to your professional website where they can learn more about you by reviewing your skill set, samples of your work, etc.

An interesting way to advertise your personal brand for a job is through a Facebook ad. You can create a Facebook ad that goes directly to your professional website. To reach your target audience, you can select a “precise interest” or “broad categories” where you narrow down who will see your ad.  Altogether, it should not cost more than $100.[2] The strategy was first suggested in Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0 (Wiley, 2009), though I suggest that your professional website should be your landing page (not a link to your resume).

A similar approach can be applied with Google Adwords where you can setup an ad based on certain keywords (you pay on a per click basis). This complements a well-conceived SEO campaign (“search engine optimization”), which is free but takes time to become effective.

I have discussed how to use LinkedIn, MonsterJobs, Twitter, Facebook, and Google to lure recruiters and potential employers to your personal website. Think about the advantage in having everyone funneled to a single reference point, your personal website – in effect an identity. You can optimize your personal website to best present your personal brand and be assured this is where your target audience will get to know you and make any evaluations.

Here are some reasons why you should link back to your personal website:

  • It is redundant to maintain a profile/resume in many different places.
  • There are limitations to the content you can provide based on the profile/resume.
  • No current profile/resume is as sophisticated as a personal website (use of media, style, layout, aesthetics, etc.)

[1] Anders, George. “Who Should You Hire? LinkedIn Says: Try Our Algorithm.” Forbes, April 10 2013.

[2] Salpeter, Miriam. “Social Networking For Career Success.” Learning Express, 2011.