A personal website is a neat little loophole job seekers can sneak onto their resumes during their job search. An ideal resume should only be one page long and accompanied by a cover letter of the same length, but that doesn’t give you enough space to really let the interviewer know what you can do. It’s a pitfall of the effects of the instant gratification generation. Luckily, this does give job seekers enough room to list a personal website where they can have pages and pages and pages of information with which to impress the interviewer.
Personal website design comes down to personal taste- and professional doesn’t mean cookie cutter. There are many different organizational styles and templates job seekers can use to direct the employer from page to page, and each can be effective in the job search. In this post, I’m going to list a few basic guidelines that every personal website should loosely follow in order for it to be a successful aid for job seekers. Then you can go and add your personal flair once the important information is on there.
Organization is the key to efficiency; therefore, not everything should be clumped onto one page. Create a list of links and place it near the top of the page so employers and visitors can clearly see it. About two inches from the top of the page is ideal, both for a horizontal list and as the starting point for a vertical list. (Personally, I prefer the horizontal display.) Easy access is key in the job search, that’s the whole point of the one-page resume after all. Likewise, make sure to list contact information at the bottom of every page or immediately under the list of links. Make it visible but not dominant because you should have this information made available on other pages in more visible locations. This last bit is especially important for the job search because it lets employers find you, obviously.
That is the rough skeleton each page needs to follow. Once you have the site map set up it is time to fill out the individual pages. Your personal website home page should immediately have a picture of you with your name and contact information directly adjacent to it. The front page should be used for an introductory paragraph as well as a general objective statement applicable to any position you could be applying for in your job search.
A separate page (again accessible via a link near the top of every page) should contain a resume that goes into greater detail complete with photos if any are applicable. If you choose to place any photos here make sure they are relevant but not dominant. That’s for the next page.
Another page should be ‘samples of work’ or ‘completed projects’ which, as the name implies, contain examples and explanations of previous work you’ve completed and embellishes upon the skills and training required to complete these tasks. Saying you wrote code for a website is interesting, but listing the languages used and why you used them is more impressive.
The final necessary page on your personal website is the contact page. Here you should list phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, etc. How can the employer hire you if they can’t get to you? Even though you may have listed this information on your resume it is a good idea to repeat it here.
Those are the basic parts every personal website should have for every job seeker. You can go ahead and add your own personal flair to it or add an ‘about me’ page that goes into your life outside of the professional world, but make sure that it is all relevant to your cause: getting you hired. Job seekers tend to not use all of the tools available to them in the job search, but a personal website is a freebie and should not go unused.
Do you use a personal website in your job search? Share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Piotr Peszko