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Why a Professional Website is the Best Tool to Land Your First Job

female college student with laptop working on her website

Typically, when we start a website, it is to create a platform for a product we want to sell, ideas we want to share, or services we want to provide. But there is a secondary purpose for every website – to promote yourself like a brand. In a way, job hunting is just another form of marketing. The product you’re pitching is your own ability – your brand is your name.

Just like with an advertising campaign, if you’re not promoting yourself in a compelling way, you’re less likely to get hired. Your professional website, along with your resume, is your most important sales tool. If it’s professional and awe-inspiring, then that’s how people will see you. If it’s clumsy and lame, then that’s how you’ll be perceived. Therefore, when you choose your domain name, remember, it isn’t just a digital spot on the internet where people can get what you provide. It is an endorsement of who you are.

In an age where more than 54% of all job seekers search and apply for jobs online, you have a lot of competition. Your professional website is the resource you need to stand out in a crowded market. Here’s why.

It Highlights Your Skills

It can be very difficult to highlight your skills in an effective way on a resume. With a website, you can upload pictures, documents, videos, and other portfolio pieces about past projects. This will lend authority to what your resume says about you and let employers see exactly what you’re capable of.

In-Demand Skills Should Be Prominent

Whichever skills are most highly prized by your industry, you need to feature those skills prominently on your site. Provide helpful tips and content that point to the value of certain skills and your experience with them. This can be done in a way that instills confidence in potential employers while displaying your talents.

Buzzwords are another key factor in making sure your most valuable skills are showcased. Buzzwords are words or phrases that employers use to describe their ideal candidates. Common examples include:

  • Team player
  • Detail oriented
  • Great communication skills
  • Self-starter
  • Innovative thinker

By tailoring your site with language that matches what employers are looking for, you demonstrate that you fit their image of the perfect job candidate.

It Allows You to Stand Out from the Crowd

There is an old expression that goes, “Everything is sales.” As I mentioned before, job hunting is no different. Your job is to sell yourself and you are potentially competing with hundreds of other candidates for one position. What makes you any different from the rest?

Having your own website is a solid differentiator. Everyone has a resume, but how many candidates can link to a site dedicated to showcasing their skills and experiences? If you have testimonies from previous clients, former managers, and even your professors, all the better!

It Allows You to Develop an Outstanding Portfolio

The issue with resumes is that employers essentially have to take you at your word. You can say you’ve been involved in this project or created that product but how do employers really know that? More importantly, how do employers know if what you did was any good? This is where your website can really shine.

Your website will actually allow you to showcase the work you’ve completed. You can demonstrate websites you’ve built, proposals you’ve written, projects you’ve designed…the list goes on. Don’t be modest. Your site is a reflection of you and your talents. Your ability to get quality results should be on full display.

It Allows You to Show Your Best Work First

You also need to ensure you understand how to rank your portfolio. Your biggest and most successful projects should be the first thing employers see. Additionally, projects that relate to your chosen industry should be on full display and near the top. Smaller projects and projects that don’t relate directly to your industry (but still display your skills) should be placed further towards the bottom.

It Allows You to Show the Real You

Authenticity matters. We live in a world of digital, online commerce which has depersonalized a great deal of what used to be personal. Therefore, candidates that show themselves as real, authentic people are much more attractive to potential employers than a collection of statistics on a resume.

Personality plays just as big a role in getting many jobs as a skill set. Getting to know someone is a big part of the hiring process. When you reveal yourself online, you’re allowing employers to see who you are from a personality standpoint. Plus, being able to put a name and a face to a person is always a step in the right direction for building a relationship.

It Allows You to Demonstrate Your Professionalism

It’s always appropriate to be courteous, respectful and professional in the language you use. Using inappropriate language can turn off potential clients, customers, and employers. Use polite and professional language and make sure your content is well written and edited. Simple typos can turn off some potential customers and clients.

Also, use inclusive language and avoid alienating groups of people. You don’t want to repel potential clients by being discriminatory. Remember, the site is a reflection of you. Also, avoid language that comes across as too aggressive or hostile. People want to feel welcome and positive when coming to your site.

It Brings you Much Closer to “Closing the Deal”

In sales, closing the deal is the point at which all parties are in agreement, the contract is signed, and the sale is successful. From your perspective, the deal is closed when you get your offer and sign your contract. Interview processes can take a long time, and every sales professional knows that the longer the sales process takes, the more likely the sale will fall through.

Your website has the potential to shave a significant chunk of time off the interviewing process. Since you’ve already listed your skills and experiences, showcased your work, and channeled your personality, you take much of the guesswork out of the equation. Recruiters and hiring managers will have a much better impression of you. At that point, the only thing they need to do is interview you in person to reinforce everything they’ve seen.

Time is not on your side when it comes to job hunting. Anything you can do to expedite the process will pay off in the long run. Your website can be a powerful resource for saving time, consolidating information, and “closing the deal” on the position you want.

More more great topics on all things college, check out the other blogs on College Basics.