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Personal Website for the Job Search: Introduction

A guide to creating a professional personal website to aid you in getting a job.

Introduction to Personal Websites for the Job Search

The job search can be challenging at the best of times, so any advantage one can gain by being prepared and knowledgeable about the job market and about yourself can only help you find the best job for you. This guide will help you develop a personal website to showcase personal qualities and professional accomplishments in an online format. A personal website that provides potential employers with access to information about you could make the difference between them choosing you or a similarly qualified candidate. If nothing else, developing the site can help you to learn how to better communicate about yourself as a potential hire as you reflect on your accomplishments, gather artifacts, and practice representing yourself in online and multimedia formats. Once completed, the website can be used as a tool for seeking job opportunities, along with other strategies (such as internships), documents (such as a good resume), and sites (such as a LinkedIn profile).

Within this guide, we will help you:

  1. Make some key decisions about your site:
    • What artifacts will you include or draw from?
    • What platform will you host your site on?
    • What design elements or template will you use? 
  2. Create a site that is organized, user friendly, and reflective of your professional accomplishments and personal qualities.
  3. Evaluate the site to ensure that it is readable, usable and accessible.

Why have a website at all?

You might be asking yourself: why should I bother developing a web site or online presence as part of my job search? While you might be in a profession that ultimately provides high job security, the truth is that job searches today can be highly competitive, and employers have a wide array of tools to find and compare candidates. So, it is important to stand out among the large number of graduates that will be seeking jobs. Having a good resume is an important step, but even a basic resume is an opportunity to provide employers with access to a deeper and more complete picture of who you are and what experiences and abilities you would bring to a job.

Few of us would make a significant purchase without doing extensive online research nowadays, and employers often feel the same about committing to a new hire. You should expect employers to seek information to help them choose between similarly qualified candidates, and it is not uncommon for employers to look at candidates' social media sites to help them make hiring decisions. Creating your own website allows you to be in control of what employers find when they go online to learn more about you.

The Importance of Networking on the Network

Creating an online presence can also help you get a better job. Stanford sociology professor Mark Granovetter's work on the "strength of weak ties" is an important touchstone for why it's important to take advantage of contemporary networking to find a job. According to Granovetter's research the strong ties we have with close friends and family do not necessarily lead to the best jobs. He found that individuals who found jobs through extended networks--through connections at a distance, or outside of our immediate social networks--led to jobs that provided higher compensation and higher job satisfaction.

Developing these networks is an important aspect of both your time in school, and your time at the various internships, residencies, and other jobs you might have. Leaving a good impression and making the most of your time in any job can pay off in unexpected ways, and the more people who know about your ultimate goals, the more likely they can connect you to networks that can help you achieve them. While social networks made up mostly of friends can be somewhat helpful in the job search process, applications like LinkedIn serve a useful function by informing others of your career accomplishments and goals, but also expanding your network, connecting you to those with similar interests and backgrounds.

By making professionally presented information about you available online, and participating in ways to share your interests with others, you make it easier for people to find you, provide a valuable resource for potential employers, and maintain closer control of your online persona.

Good luck on the job search, and if you are an NSU student who needs help as you compose your site or related job search documents, please reach out to the NSU Writing and Communication Center.