Our world is moving increasingly online. Many years ago, it was common for people to mail or hand in printed copies of their resumes when job hunting. With the advent of the internet, it became extremely easy for people to submit electronic resumes when applying for jobs. Next came social networking, and in particular, Linkedin. Linkedin allows us to have a professional online presence, network with other professionals, and look for job opportunities. It evolved the way people networked and connected with each other professionally. I believe that we can take it even a step further with a personal website to showcase our skills, projects, accomplishments, and interests.
I believe that a website will give you a leg up on the competition. Personal websites that showcase your “portfolio” of work are currently more commonly used by creative professionals such as graphic designers, photographers, website designers, etc. It is rare for them to be used by people in more traditional corporate positions. However, if you are in a more traditional white collar role, that will help you stand out relative to your competition. You can link to your personal website from your Linkedin profile and resume to develop an overall brand and image to better showcase your skills, personality, and accomplishments.
The first thing you might be asking is whether or not you have the skills to build a website. The truth is, if I can figure out how to build a website, you can probably do it also. Long gone are the days when you need to know how to code HTML or struggle with a difficult-to-use webpage editor. By using a service such as Weebly (which is what I used to build this blog and what I highly recommend for your website), you can simply drag and drop objects into your webpage. Weebly even provides you with a large number of free beautiful templates, designs, and images. For a personal website, all you really need is one attractive page to showcase your work and perhaps a link to your full resume and another link to your Linkedin page.
The next question you may have is whether or not it is worth the cost. If you use Weebly, all you really need is a Starter account for $8 a month (an additional $19.95 after the first year to maintain your domain name) if you want to have a personalized domain name. A domain name refers to the web address people type in to access your site. I believe it is beneficial to have your own name in your domain so you can be more easily found and identifiable. However, if you are paranoid about having an online presence, then please ignore everything I have to say in this article. If you don’t want to pay for a personalized domain name, you can choose the free account.
So, is it worth $8 per month for the first year, adding up to a total of $96 for the first year, and then $115.95 per year after that to maintain your website? I say absolutely. If you can just land one job as a result of your website at a higher salary, it probably more than makes up for that expense. In the grand scheme of things, that $116 annual expense is a very small cost to pay to drastically increase your employment opportunities. In fact, the sooner you get a website up, the more time you give yourself to develop and cultivate a personal brand and the more likely you’ll be found online.
Also, keep in mind that your brand compounds over time and pays you back in dividends. As you grow your career over the years, you’ll have more projects and accomplishments to add to your website. Think of it is as a long-term investment that leads to more recruiters reaching out to you, more interviews for better positions, and ultimately more money for your skillset. Equally important, I recommend that you connect your personal website to your Linkedin page and your actual resume, which will enhance your online presence.
Later, I will write a post on how to design your personal website and what kind of information to include. Meanwhile, check out the personal website that I have created for myself here.
Professional Development and Personal Finance Blog