I’m going to let you in on a secret: most employers hate reading resumes. They’ve seen so much of the same that it’s unlikely your qualifications, work experience, or that employee of the month award you won at Starbucks is going to make much of a difference when it comes to getting hired.
What will make a difference, though, is a resume that’s as engaging and creative as you are. That’s why it’s time for you to take a step into the modern era and create a website to display your qualifications—and, let’s face it, show off a little bit.
Here are five cardinal rules that all successful personal websites follow.
No one wants to read a long, boring resume, so why would they want to read a long, boring website? Your dream employer probably doesn’t have the time to spend searching through page after page of your accomplishments, so try to limit yourself to a few pages in a simple, accessible layout. If you’re looking for inspiration, web designer An-Ni Wang’s simple and beautiful interactive resume is hard to beat.
As with any other website, it’s best to make your online resume as accessible as possible. This means choosing a domain name that’s easy to find and easy to remember—check out our post on how to pick a domain name for more tips. It can also mean including keywords in your website that relate to the field you’re hoping to break into. Think to yourself: if I were looking to hire a [insert job you want here], would I be able to find my website?
Depending on what job you’re looking for, a little humor and levity can go a long way. Consider Matthew Epstein, who created the website “Google Please Hire Me” in the hopes of getting his dream job at—you guessed it—Google. Though Epstein didn’t end up getting that job, he did nail a position at San Francisco startup SigFig, as well as millions of online fans. (Though his original website has since been taken down, you can watch his video plea on YouTube here.)
This may be the most important rule of all. Just because your resume is online rather than on paper doesn’t make it any more interesting to employers; you still have to build something that will make people take notice. Try to build something that doesn’t just tell, but also shows your skills. If you’re a designer, make sure your website looks beautiful; if you’re a writer, include a couple of paragraphs to flaunt your literary prowess; and so on.
Again, it depends on what job you’re looking for, but most employers will appreciate a classy, professional website when looking for someone they can trust to get the job done. That means avoiding linking to Facebook and Twitter pages if you’ll be posting inappropriate content, and it also means avoiding using too much slang or cursing in your write-ups. And seriously, don’t forget to spell check. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a personal website full of typos.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear, does it make a sound? I don’t know, but I do know that if a personal website is set up and no one’s there to check it out, it’s pointless. So get your butt on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social media sites you use to promote yourself. Include links to your profiles on your website and make sure to cross-promote whenever you can.
Inspired to build your own online website? Get started right now with the Rebel + Weebly website builder. There’s a plan and price to fit every need. Plus, you don’t need any technical skills to make a beautiful site.
Feature Photo: Bench Accounting