You’ve probably already heard about personal websites for the job search and thought to yourself: but I don’t know how to build a website and I don’t know what to put on such a site. And also, is it really worth the effort?
It’s so worth it!
Why? Because it makes you stand out from the masses. Very few people make the effort to create a personal website for their job search. So it’s a great way to stand out and show the employers that you’re ready to go the extra mile.
A personal website also has the advantage that you can share a lot more content than you can include in the resume or cover letter. You can give a 360-degree view of who you are and what you have done so far. That doesn’t mean that you have to upload every single thing you’ve ever done but you can give a more comprehensive picture of who you are.
You’re not limited to two pages like on the resume. Apart from your main page where you present your resume, you can set up several subpages to give more details about your experience.
- If you are pursuing an academic career, you can list all your publications for which you would usually not have space in your resume;
- If you are in the creative industry, you can include a portfolio page where you show them a few pieces you created;
- If you are a project manager, you can include a list of projects you worked on;
- If you are a business consultant, you can include a list of companies you worked with.
Remember, It’s a Personal Website
The most important thing is: it needs to be a personal website. It needs to reflect you as a person. So, a short personal introduction on the landing page is a must. You need at least a few lines that sum up who you are and how you can add value to the company.
This is a bit like your elevator pitch but slightly longer: What have you done, what do you enjoy about work and why are you the right person for them. It’s very important to be authentic and give them a glimpse of who you truly are. Focus especially on your motivation for a certain job or industry. They need to feel that your heart is in it. The best way to show this is with a short introduction video.
Really, a video? Yes, a video. Videos are the best way to show an employer who you are. It’s a great chance to show that you are motivated, curious, confident, open and resourceful.
This is particularly important if your resume is not linear, e.g. you have gaps or changed jobs often. In such a case, recruiters will often be hesitant to consider your resume. The video gives you the opportunity to show them that you are really motivated, explain your situation and convince them that you are a good candidate.
Another situation where a video can be really useful is when you find it difficult to get across in writing who you are and why you are motivated. I once had a client who was exactly in this kind of situation.
She was more than qualified for the position but she just couldn’t get it across on paper. She said she knew that employers find her very good in person but they just don’t bite when they see her resume. If you’re not willing to invest in a professional resume writer to fix that for you, a video can support your application.
Another good example is if you are applying in the creative industry or for a startup. A video is your chance to show that you think out of the box and don’t rely on traditional ways of job applications.
Practice Makes the Difference
Now, you might be a bit hesitant to create a video. I get that. Most of us don’t like to hear our voices or what we look like on video. Let me assure you: that’s just a matter of practice. The first video you do will be horrible. So, there will be the second, the third, the fourth… You need to do a few of them until you figure out what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
I personally never write down what I want to say in my videos for Instagram or my website because I know that I tend to write slightly differently than I speak. It comes across more natural if I just write down bullet points and then speak freely. So just be patient with yourself and practice. You’ll see, you’ll improve quickly.
Choose a Good Setting
Once you have the content figured out, you need to think about clothing, background, sound, and lighting. Make sure you’re wearing a business outfit. This is your job application, so it needs to have a business touch. Then choose a neutral background or at least a tidy one, like a tidy living room.
You don’t need to have fancy camera equipment to record a good video. Most phones or tablets have pretty decent cameras with good sound quality. Just make sure there are no loud background noises and that the lighting is good. There shouldn’t be big shadows on your face and no overly shiny spots either. Remember that a bit of powder helps again shiny skin.
But I’m Not a Techy Person…
That’s no excuse anymore. With platforms like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and many others, it is extremely easy to create a website. You can choose a template and then you just need to customize the content.
You don’t need any technical knowledge and you don’t need to know how to code. You don’t need to be creative either. There are really beautiful designs available which you can easily customize by changing the colors to reflect your personality. Anyone can do it.
So you see, a personal website is a great platform to introduce yourself to new employers and it’s really not that hard to set up. You just need to invest a couple of days to find the right hosting platform for you, create the content and customize the template. It’s a bit of work, but it’s definitely worth the effort.