You Need a Personal Website

overhead photo of two women typing on laptops
Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 by Kate M. Spaulding

During a planning meeting for this blog’s December content calendar, I wondered aloud whether having a LinkedIn page was enough or if I also needed a personal website. I didn’t know the answer or even have a feeling one way or the other. My boss didn’t know either. And so, this post was born, and I started Googling.

As recently as last week, I was still on the fence. In fact, I wrote, “For most people, a robust LinkedIn page is enough. But if you are interested in demonstrating web skills or if you’re taking a more entrepreneurial approach to your career, then you may want to create a personal website.”

Welp, cue the sad trombone: I’ve changed my mind. In fact, I think it’s vital to have a personal website, no matter your career goals. Once you set it up, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it or update it often and you don’t have to make it fancy, though you can absolutely do all of those things. You also don’t have to incorporate a blog, but of course you can. Basically, I advocate designing whatever kind of website gets you to have a website.

Where’s Waldo?
One reason to have a personal site that really struck a practical chord with me is that it should show up near the top of the results list anytime someone Googles you. This gives you more control over your image and brand. Furthermore, if you have a common name that makes it hard for a hiring manager or prospective client to find the right LinkedIn, having a website helps because your site will link to your LinkedIn, and any other appropriate URLs and social media accounts.

Pics or It Didn’t Happen
black and white photo of a person's hands typing on a laptopAn obvious reason to set up a personal website is to show off your work. Visual proof of your abilities is more convincing than a line on a resume, and although you can (and should) add projects to your LinkedIn profile, using your website as a portfolio platform gives you more control over how those projects are presented. Your examples can take many forms, such as an embedded Screencast, a slideshow of infographics you’ve made, or links to a conference paper you’ve presented. If you work with happy clients, consider getting some testimonials and linking to (public) work that you’ve done for them.

You can also include a blog on your site so that you can write about things as they happen; one great example I’ve run across is Karissa in the Library. Karissa posts about once a month and usually outlines library programs she runs. So for her, her blog functions both as a journal to remember what worked as well as evidence of her professional accomplishments. Other sections on her website include her online portfolio and a “contact me” page. It’s pretty simple but very effective.

Who Runs the World
You’ll have noticed a running theme in my arguments – having a personal website gives you more control over your image, how you present yourself, and how you showcase your work. And if job searching has taught me anything, it’s that controlling as many of the variables as possible boosts my confidence and gives me the best shot at getting hired.

Don’t take just my word for it. Here are a few more articles to persuade you:

Inspiration

Photos courtesy WOCTech Chat

Add new comment

* Comments in Plain Text Only