Personal domain names are increasing in popularity, with jobseekers using the sites to share their CV, professional portfolio, videos, podcasts, blogs, and more. These sites also usually link to social media platforms the jobseeker is using and is keen to share with interested recruiters. They range from simple landing pages linking to a pdf of the candidate’s CV through to multi-page hubs that break down the individual’s offering by services, skillsets, projects, and more.
This idea of building and maintaining a personal website has the potential to send a chill down your spine if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy. If that sounds like you, please don’t run for the hills. A personal website is more attainable, less tricky, and less expensive than you might think, plus it can have a strong and positive impact on your job search. A personal website enables you to:
> Own your own search results;
> Convey your personality in a way that is restricted by the format of other career materials such as your CV and LinkedIn; using colour, images, and design to show who you are;
> Present your whole portfolio in one place, as an evolving, dynamic record of your professional life;
> Share more information than you can fit onto your CV or LinkedIn profile;
> Show recruiters that you take your career seriously and are willing to go the extra mile to reach your goals;
> Set yourself apart from other candidates who don’t have one.
A personal website can be simple, cheap, and easy to build; you don’t need to be a technical wizard or have a huge budget. Here’s how to go about it.
There are lots of sites that can help you to build and launch a beautiful personal site, without it taking too much time or costing the earth. To give you an overview of a select few:
An intuitive and accessible tool, about.me allows you to build a simple landing page you can be proud of, for free, in a matter of minutes. Here’s one I threw together using the free options in under 15 minutes: https://about.me/lmcguire. The paid-for Pro option gives you more flexibility in terms of owning your custom domain name, and your page will have its own unique look.
Branded.me (https://branded.me/) is a website development tool helps you ‘create a professional web page in minutes’. You can create and customise your own sections, or use the default sections of bio, experience, education, projects, skills, testimonials, gallery, and more. Check out the Pro option for upgraded features.
Squarespace (https://www.squarespace.com/) offers a large range of plug-and-go templates to create your website, making it very easy to create a stunning site without too much stress or investment. Squarespace cover pages are a good option to create a single landing page site with a link to your CV, you can even embed your file as a pdf. Search https://support.squarespace.com/ for guidance on how to display your resume on your site. Alternatively, opt for a fuller website with multiple tabs to set out your CV information
Strikingly (https://www.strikingly.com/) is another quick, plug-and-play option for web development, enabling you to build your site in under 30 minutes. Set up a free account, or upgrade to use your own domain name, remove Strikingly branding, and more.
WordPress (https://wordpress.com) is a great option to build a website, and has a host of free templates to choose from, along with paid premium options.
Registering Your Own Vanity Domain
Many of the sites mentioned above handle the domain registration process for you, but you could also independently register a custom domain via a domain registration site, such as Nomine (www.nominet.org.uk). Your personal domain name should reflect the name you are using in your job search e.g. firstnamelastname.com. If you find this is taken, select a domain name that is as close as possible, perhaps adding a middle initial if needed.
Also, consider the domain extension you’d like to use. Good options would be .com, .co.uk, .net, .me, or .org. If available, I’d always go for .com.
What to Include
The beauty of having your own site is that it’s up to you what to include. Here are some options:
Photo of you
Headline / Job Title
Media page (press coverage)
Link to a pdf of your CV
Contact info (email, mobile)
Social media links
A clear, strong call to action
Blog – a great way to convince your target reader of your expertise
Once you’ve started the project, complete it or delete it. It won’t serve you to present a half-baked personal site that doesn’t do you justice, so see it through.
Even once you consider it done, don’t set it and forget it, or your personal website won’t serve your career goals. Update it regularly to make sure it is a dynamic, evolving snapshot of your career. Keep your target in mind for every refresh, sharing information that advances your specific career goals.
Don’t Forget to Share It
Once you have finalised your personal website, your next task is to generate some traffic. You can link to it from your email signature, LinkedIn profile, business card, and your social media bios (those used for career purposes).