Getting a job in today’s economy hasn’t been this difficult since the Great Depression of the 1930s, although the situation is changing slowly for the better. However, it’s still a very competitive climate and to get ahead, and job hunters need to get their hands on every edge they can. It’s no longer enough to simply hand out business cards and expect that to lead to interviews or job offers, and having a distinct website is the new way to go. Why? Let’s take a look.
1. Your Prospective Employers Will Google You
Employers aren’t just taking on a skill set when they make a hire, they’re taking on a personality, too, and they want to be absolutely sure that personality won’t cause waves in the office. One of the ways they vet you before you even walk into the interviewing room is to search you online, and see what kind of presence you have. If one of the first links that pops up is your own website — a site, we should add, that’s entirely within your control as to what kind of content makes it up there — then you’re indirectly giving them exactly the kind of first impression you want.
2. Websites Are Easy to Build
You don’t have to be a master web developer to build your own site, especially with so many sites offering templates, widgets and plug-ins that help you get started. Because you want to keep it professional and relatively streamlined, just about the only information you’ll be putting up on there will be your name, contact information (but not your image or phone number for privacy and safety reasons), biography, resume, and a blog. It’s a way to showcase the business side of your personality, and doesn’t take nearly as much work as you might think.
3. You’re Showing You Have Tech Skills
Being able to navigate a computer easily and with poise isn’t a nice-to-have skill anymore, it’s a need to have skill. Even if you’re working in a field where computers and technology aren’t used on a very regular basis, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll get edged out if a competing job applicant has those skills and you don’t. And that old saying of “show, don’t tell”? Having your own website is the perfect example of showing instead of telling that you have tech skills at your fingertips.
4. It’s Easy to Find You
When you’re searching for a job, your goal is more and more concentrated exposure than your competitors. It won’t guarantee getting you the job, but it will help you play the numbers game. After all, the squeaky wheel does eventually get the grease, and you want to keep knocking on those digital doors until someone answers. By having your own site, you’re putting yourself out there and establishing a solid presence, making you highly visible and likely to get the nod over someone with a mere paper resume. Put the odds on your side definitively by creating your own website, and give yourself the best chance of employment as possible.
5. It Gives You a Unique Brand
We’ve mentioned before just how cutthroat and competitive the job market is, and how difficult it can be to set yourself apart. When you’re applying for a position and have hundreds of competitors, especially if the lot of you has the same basic skills and experience, how are you ever supposed to set yourself apart? You need something unique and special that’ll set you apart, and that’s your personal brand. If you’re known as an energetic firecracker that’ll happily put in long hours until the job is done, center your brand on that. Or if you’re the kind of worker that has a laidback personality and can get everyone to work together, make that your brand. The point is to discover what’s unique about yourself, and highlight it in your website.
6. Freelancers Get a Definite Advantage Over Other Freelancers
If you’ve decided that working for the man just isn’t for you, and want to forge a career as your own boss, then build a website — stat. Employers will rarely take someone seriously if they just show up on their doorstep, waving a resume that reads they’ve been their own boss, that employer won’t be very impressed. But if you show extra gumption by creating a business and then having that business have its own website, you’ll be taken a lot more seriously than other freelancers.
7. All Your Information Is In One Spot
Think back a generation ago to what job-seekers had to go through when applying for a position: they showed up in person, and in their hands were a business card, resume and cover letter, as well as maybe an actual portfolio of past experience if the job required it. With all the stress and nerves job hunters felt, it would have been all too easy to forget one of those crucial documents — and possibly kiss their prospects goodbye. However, with a website, all your relevant information is in one spot and easy to update, letting you focus on rocking the job interview awesomely.
8. Growth and Reflection Become Ongoing Processes
If you only make one resume and hand it out willy-nilly to every employer that passes your way, you’re not doing much in the way of continually assessing your own abilities and goals. This leads to stagnation, and paves the way for fresher job candidates to swoop in and take your place. A personal website, on the other hand, is something you check in with on a regular basis, and like looking into a mirror everyday, forces you to consistently re-evaluate who you are. Are you staying on track with your goals and updating your skills? A website will tell you that. Are you up-to-date on what your industry is looking for? A website will also tell you that. Build your own, and stay ahead of the curve.