Some of my clients make excellent use of personal websites for networking. The type of personal website perfectly suited to this use is one that acts as an online resume for you. This is a site where the domain name is your name, and it consists of a professional head shot, information about your education, experience, skills, and the like. This is not the site where you publish an informal blog, family recipes, or vacation photos. It’s a site you can use to promote yourself as a professional without having to promote the company or industry you work for. You can attach a blog, but it would be a part of your personal branding, too. Here’s how to set up and use your personal site for networking and branding!
- Set up your site. Keep it simple, use your first and last name as your domain name, and use a simple, clean, professional looking template to make the set up as easy as possible. Find reliable, inexpensive hosting. You’ll want to keep this site updated and available throughout your long career. Use a professional photograph of yourself, to ensure that your site reflects your professional image.
- Resume source. If you set up one page as your actual resume, you can then direct hiring influencers to a copy of your resume that can be accessed around the clock. Want it downloadable? Add a link to a public dropbox.com folder with your resume and cover letter. Before you do this, ensure that your public information on social media such as LinkedIn is a perfect match for your resume. This is, after all, available to any hiring influencer and you don’t want them wondering if you’ve made an error or lied.
- Proof it. Twice! Just as you do with your resume, have a second or even a second and third pair of eyes proofread your whole site before taking it live or beginning to connect with your network. You want to look as professional as possible and typos are not your friend!
- Connect. Link your website to your professional social media accounts, and to your network contacts’ personal or professional websites. This helps polish your personal branding as a highly connected and respected expert in your field, and does the same favor for your connections. It also makes you easier to find online, always a good thing where hiring influencers are concerned!
- Use it everywhere. Add a link to your site in your post-interview thank-you notes, on your resume, and wherever contacts will be reading about you and you feel more information should be available. Bonus: Your website will show you the traffic to your site. If there’s a great deal of interest from a particular company, you’ll know they’re interested in you as a candidate!
- Professional blog. Link your professional blog to your site, or even start one as a part of your site. Keep it on target, demonstrating your knowledge of your industry and your professional skills, including communication. There’s no need for a hard sell, your demonstration of your education and problem-solving skills will sell you quite well and demonstrates the value you add to any organization…and can inform and offer solutions to your networking contacts, too.