When I finished my undergrad, I was struggling with what to do next and more importantly how to do it. I started looking for jobs and searching for Masters programs which meant that I had to update my resume and get some business cards. Now I’m the type of the person who likes research. When looking for information on resumes and business cards I discovered the importance of having a personal website. At the time, I thought this was something reserved for people who were celebrities or who had written books but I was wrong.
I started designing my own website and began to realize how beneficial it could be for people at all stages of their careers. This could include university students, recent graduates, people looking to make a career change, entrepreneurs, artists, anyone. In fact, having a personal website can make you appear more strategic and ambitious than the competition. According to Forbes, a recent survey from LearnVest found that, “only 7% of the general populations – and 15% of millennials – currently have a personal website.”
Five key benefits of having a personal website include:
1. You control your own narrative
Have you ever stopped to think about what your social media sites say about you? Even if you don’t post your own content, others could be tagging you in posts or pictures that are damaging to your job search. Social media sites are also typically the first thing recruiters will find when qualifying you for a job and trust me they will Google you. However, if you have your own website, you can ensure through search engine optimization that your website is the first thing people see about you when they Google your name. You can also control all of the content on this page and direct people to the social media platforms that you want them to see. Maybe you have a personal and professional Instagram account and you only want recruiters to view the professional account. The level of control that a personal website allows you to have over your own narrative is completely invaluable.
2. You can improve your visibility and exposure
Having your own website is another platform where people can learn more about you and your work. LinkedIn is a great platform for professionals but your confined to showing your work in the way that the platform allows you to. If you a marketer or an artist, for example, then you will likely need to have a more visual and engaging way to show your work. As well as that, by promoting your own content, such as blog posts, your name will become more visible across the internet.
3. You can demonstrate your skill set
Every profession has a different set of skills that are required in order to be successful. If you’re a website designer, you better have an amazing website. If you’re in advertising, then showcase some campaigns you’ve created in the past. If you’re a consultant, focus on demonstrating the thought process you bring to working with each client. A resume is very static in how you can showcase your skills to potential employers or universities so by having a website, where the media is not constrained to a piece of paper, you can make yourself standout above your competition.
4. You are able to create and manage your own brand
Whether we realize it or not, we all have our own brand. Even not having a brand is a brand. Having your own website allows you to take ownership of that brand. According to Aaker, who is a leading expert on brands, there 5 different types of brand personality: Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness. What is your online presence currently saying about you? Check out your social media profiles then determine what you want your brand personality to be and start curating your content to meet that description.
5. You can tell your own unique story
There is nothing more powerful than storytelling. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Terry O’Reilly a few years ago, who is an award-winning writer, director, marketer, and radio host, to discuss his talk on the power of storytelling. Telling a story is one of the best ways to influence people and build a personal connection. It’s also a great way for people to see your personality. Use your personal website to tell the story of who you are and what moments in your life have led to you pursuing the career path that you have. This will resonate with people and when considering you among your competition, they will remember your story more so than your last five years of employment history.
Since creating my personal website, I’ve had a number of career opportunities that I would not have received otherwise. I know that creating a website may seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never had any experience with website design; but there a number of options available for designing a website in a completely visual way that do not require any coding knowledge. I used Wix for mine which has an impressive library of templates that you can adapt to your own brand and website needs. No matter where you are in your career you can benefit from having your own website. Take the leap, start designing your own website today.