Head to any website targeted toward the self-employed and you’ll hear the same thing: You need a website to land clients. But what about those with more traditional jobs: Why consider creating a website? Maybe you’re happy with your traditional job, and you’ve got a killer resume. That’s all you need, right?
Unfortunately, a killer resume doesn’t always cut it. You’ve likely experienced this firsthand, having gone into interview after interview with little to show for it. But there’s nothing more you can do to make your resume shine short of printing it on pink scented paper (and Elle Woods already did that one).
At this point, it’s time to give yourself more of an edge in the job hunt. How do you do this? One way is to create a website. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
Not sure if creating a website is worth it? Here are some reasons why a website is a good idea even when you’re a traditional employee.
1. It serves as an online portfolio
It can be tough to show what you’re capable of in an interview or through a one to two page resume. With your website, you can do more to showcase your talents, and since it’s available publicly, you can reach more recruiters while giving them a convenient path to your portfolio.
Instead of handing over a portfolio binder to the hiring manager, you give him access to your site by sharing your domain name. He’s stunned by your professionalism (and thankful he doesn’t have to worry about carrying around or misplacing your binder), and you don’t have to worry about getting your binder back before your next interview. Plus, you can incorporate digital content on a website, like an introduction video.
But this portfolio option only raises more questions. Why not just use LinkedIn or other platforms to showcase your expertise? Three reasons:
- A website sets you apart from other candidates.
- It gives you more freedom in the layout and upload options so your personality can shine through.
- It helps you establish an emotional connection with your website’s visitors.
Another major question you probably have: What should I include in my portfolio? Try incorporating these elements:
- An about page that gives a brief overview of who you are, what your education and experience is, and what you can do or have done as an employee.
- A portfolio page showcasing your previous projects. Try to include pictures whenever possible.
- A testimonials page sharing recommendations from previous employers or coworkers.
- Contact details so people can get in touch.
- A professional headshot.
Consider these examples of professional portfolios in various industries for inspiration:
- Rebecca Taff, Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist
- Adelina Popescu, Architect
- Kelly Ann Cicalese, Meteorologist
2. Use it to attract job leads (without even trying)
Let’s say you set up a website. You’ll probably list it on your resume so hiring managers can learn more about you.
But your website can do so much more than that. Before you even see a job listing and apply to it, most hiring managers are already looking for you. Today, 80 percent of jobs are never listed, reports CNN.com. That means hiring managers are already on the search before you are.
How are they finding these qualified individuals? Many will tap into their networks and receive recommendations from people they already know, while others will go on the search themselves.
When recruiters look for qualified individuals, they might start with search engines, head to directories or go on a social media search. With a website, you can reel in those recruiters by having extra to offer. It’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
Even more than that, a website expands your visibility. If a recruiter uses a search engine, your website is more likely to show up than your LinkedIn profile. And if you have a blog, you could attract hiring managers to your site when they’re not even looking. They might like what they see and contact you.
How can you make your website more visible?
- Include the URL in your signature on any professional platform, including LinkedIn, email and business cards.
- Learn about and use SEO techniques.
- Talk to and interact with people in your industry through online group forums. Share your URL on your profile.
3. Boost your credibility through blogging
Brazen has talked about how blogging can boost your credibility countless times. As you blog in your niche and market that content, you can create a social following.
If you could tell a hiring manager you have 10,000 email subscribers on your industry-related blog, you’d probably raise a few eyebrows. This alone can serve as proof of your expertise, giving you stats to measure your success by and show that people hold you in high esteem within the field.
Check out these great posts for more about using your blog to get a job:
- How Your Blog Can Land You a Job
- How to Create Kick-A$$ Blog Posts That’ll Get You Hired
- 7 Easy Tweaks to Turn Your Blog Into a Job-Search Tool
When does a website make sense?
While a website is certainly a great job-landing tool for some people, it doesn’t always make sense for every job seeker. Consider starting a website when:
- Other people in your industry have one.
- Your work is visual (such as photography, architecture or advertising).
- You already have a portfolio that you could turn digital.
Are you ready to boost your professional appearance and start seeing more results from your interviews? Start by digging into how to build a website with PCMag’s guide.
Alicia Rades (@aliciarades) is a freelance blogger and writer eager to create content on blogging, writing, and career topics. Learn more about her and her blogging services at aliciaradeswriter.com, where you can download her free Which Freelance Blogger Should I Hire? Worksheet.