It is no secret that South Africa struggles with a high unemployment rate. January 2019 stats show it at 27.1% which means the job seeker pool is vast and you need to stand out if you want agencies and employers to consider you for a position.
I did some digging on the net and found some interesting information. According to Workfolio, a newly launched company that develops applications for professional visibility, 56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool—however, only 7% of job seekers actually have a personal website.
Workfolio’s founder and chief executive Charles Pooley says: “The employment market is an incredibly scary place to be right now as a job seeker—but a personal website offers several important things to improve your odds.”
These are obviously international stats, however, it is a well-known fact that most employers these days will google you before interviewing or even employing you. If you have your own personal website you are able to better control what information they find first about you. Let’s face it, not all of us have a Facebook or Instagram profile that we want our future employers sifting through but that is what happens.
According to Charles Pooley: “A website gives you creative freedom to express your personality in ways that may not be possible through your resume. Everything from the bio paragraph you write to the design options you choose for your website says something about you, and gives recruiters more chances to decide if they want to bring you in for an interview.”
Having an informative, well-designed website also sends a message that you take your career seriously—and employers will take note, he adds.
Lastly, it offers visibility, Pooley says. “Showing up is half the battle. We know that an ever-increasing number of employers are researching job applicants online, and owning your own website with your name in the domain gives you a great shot at showing up when someone searches for you.”
Here’s what your website should have:
If you’re going to create a website, you need to know why. What is the purpose of the site? Who will read it? What skills and information do you want to highlight? If the primary purpose is to get a job in a specific field, then your website needs to focus on that.
This may seem obvious, but it’s sometimes overlooked. Make certain that employers can easily contact you if they are provided with your website without any accompanying background information. Ideally, your name and contact information would be in the header or footer of every page.
Leave off your home address and keep contact information more general–such as your name, e-mail and phone number.
A professional headline.
“If someone asks you what you do at a networking event, you probably have a one- to two-sentence description prepared,” Pooley says. “This can be your job title or a more general description of the role you play or want to play, and it gives visitors a chance to remember you as the person who does X, as well as giving search engines more chances to display your site when people search for someone who does what you do.”
A brief bio.
An “About Me” page can be helpful to hiring managers—but be sure to keep it professional and brief. Here you can provide any additional information that may not be on your resume or cover
Pooley says if you want to include a professional photo, this is a good place to display it. “It should be a high-quality, preferably professionally-taken, headshot or wide shot. Avoid the temptation to use a smartphone photo, especially if you took it yourself.”
You should always include your resume, Brooks says. Keep in mind that a potential employer may only be provided with your website URL. Make sure they have access your resume on the website so they can get a fulsome picture of your qualifications.
“A short, descriptive bio helps explain to visitors what you do and how you can help them,” Pooley says. And it will encourage visitors to keep reading.
Samples of your work.
Treat the personal website like a portfolio to showcase examples of your work. When doing so, you may want to consider uploading the samples in multiple formats to avoid any problems in downloading, where needed.
“Some of my favorite resume advice, which applies to websites as well, is to share quantifiable results from past jobs rather than simply list your responsibilities,” Pooley says. “If you brought in 30 new clients last month, that’s much more powerful than saying that you worked in sales to bring in new business. If you can attach rough dollar amounts to those results, even better.”
Add links to professional associations you’re a member of; links to any articles about you or which quote you; and links to professional journals or other important readings related to your profession. This will help the potential employer know that you are committed to and knowledgeable about your profession.
Salpeter also suggests linking to podcasts or audios you’ve recorded, as well as any professional social media streams.
Typically, it’s smart to include a professional blog as part of the site, especially if you are a talented writer. A blog is an important part of the social resume and professional website.
Videos and other relevant multimedia.
A website is a great way to expand the potential employer’s knowledge about you. You can include short videos where you present information or ideas related to your field, short tutorials, or other creative explanations of your work and your field. For instance, a counselor might include a short video about tips for overcoming procrastination or setting goals. If you have created a particularly good PowerPoint, your website would be a great place to display it.
You may want to share any positive things professionals (former co-workers or bosses, etc.) or clients have said about you, Salpeter says. It’s best if the same testimonial also resides on your LinkedIn page, so it’s clear that it is from a real person.
Once you’ve developed an impressive, information-packed personal website, you’ll want to promote and utilize it in your job search.
“Your personal website should be the centerpiece of your online presence,” Pooley says. Be sure to put a link to your website in your e-mail signature, on your resume and cover letter, and on social networking profiles such as LinkedIn. If you have created personal business cards, include your web address with your other contact information there as well. “If you contribute to publications or industry message boards, share a link there, too,” Pooley adds.
As online information becomes more and more important, personal websites and social resumes will become expected. The bottom line is, it’s a great idea to create an online presence now that you own and maintain yourself so you’ll be ahead of the curve when everyone else is rushing to catch up with this trend.
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