If you’re looking for a new job, you’ve likely revamped your resume, carefully crafted your cover letter, and cleaned up your social media profiles. However, if you think that’s all it takes to land your dream job in today’s 2.0 world, think again. While a resume and cover letter can likely still get your foot in the door, you may also want to consider building a personal website to showcase your portfolio and work samples.
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The idea of building a personal website can seem daunting — where do you even start? — but it can make the difference whether you get the job or not, especially if you work in the tech industry. In fact, having a personal website made all the difference when my career first got off the ground in 2010; without online writing samples and proof I knew my way around the early world of social media, I likely wouldn’t have gotten my first gig as an in-house social media consultant for lawyers and AmLaw 200 firms.
And I’m not alone. Thousands of others across the world have clinched their dream job thanks to their personal website. But why? According to Forbes, there is a long list of benefits to having a personal website when looking for a job. These include:
- Having greater control over what people find online when they do a Google search on you (which almost all recruiters will do.)
- Being able to showcase your capabilities without the space restrictions of a resume; and
- Because a website is dynamic and interactive, you can make your story come alive in a way that’s impossible on paper, such as with photos, videos and PDF downloads.
One example of a great way to make your story come alive with a personal website is with an interactive resume, like Hagan Blount did with her site. Dan Schawbel pointed out the possibilities of creative websites on Mashable, and highlighted Blount’s site, which allows prospective employees to see much more than would be possible with just a resume.
By using a personal website as part of your job searching process, this ability to show — rather than tell — your skills is really critical. Mark Scott, now the VP of corporate communications at eVestment, told The Muse that with his site, he was able to demonstrate thought leadership.
When it came time for phone screens with potential employers, “I was able to direct the recruiter to the site so they could see the experiences and work examples I had,” he explains. “That went a long way to making me stand out from other candidates who may not have had a handy website and may have been waiting for in-person opportunities to share their work.”
If you design your personal website well, your website can show potential employers your personality, creativity, and work ethic. You will also be able to demonstrate whether you’ll be a good fit for the organization and show you’re the right person for the job, which will do much more than a cover letter and resume could any day to help you land that job.
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