Job seeking is not an easy game to play. Anyone who’s ever been unemployed for over a month would tell you that being unemployed is overwhelming enough, let alone the fact that you have to constantly polish your resume, customize your cover letter, and update your social media profiles. It is, nevertheless, a game that needs to be played if you want to be financially independent.
With competition among job seekers being so fierce, it stands to reason that you need to do everything that you can to promote yourself. Hiring managers receive tons of resumes and cover letters every day, so it’s no wonder that they’d like to spend as little time as possible on each application. What’s astonishing, however, is that hiring managers have been reported to spend a bewildering amount of 6 seconds per resume! Even if that’s an extreme, I’m sure you yourself understand that you need to make your resume and cover letter as eye-catching as possible and, by that, I do not mean that you should go to extremes; what you should do is offer the hiring manager with a complete view of who you are and what you could offer to their company.
While it’s becoming the new normal to include your social media pages on your resume, what you really should be doing is creating a personal website.
1. It Makes You Trustworthy
Picture this scenario: you receive a takeout menu that strikes your fancy; it seems to you that this might be the new it place you can order your lunches from, so what do you do? You decide to look the restaurant up. If it’s not online, game over. If it’s online but it’s just on social media, you decide to give it a go but you forget about it altogether. If, on the other hand, it has its very own website, and it’s a functional one and it looks pretty, then you know where you and your colleagues are getting your lunch tomorrow.
That restaurant has used the website to tell you a story –are they a family restaurant; are they a vegan one; are their salads world renown? It’s also told you that you can trust it because you went to the trouble of searching for it online and there it was, so in a way, its online presence has rewarded you for the trouble you underwent.
The more functionalities the website has (if you can order online, for example), the more pictures – hey, everyone wants to see what they are getting – and the more testimonials, the more likely you are to trust it. In this time and age, we’re suspicious of anything that’s not online because why would anyone not bother? Do they not want their business to succeed? Is the business a front for money-laundering? (Am I the only one who thinks like that?)
Much like the restaurant business, so will the hiring manager be more convinced if he gets to use a web interface to find out who you are. And while he might not suspect you of being a front for money-laundering, he is likely to think that you are not as committed to the game as you say you are.
2. It Helps Build Your Personal Brand
While the world is uploading on the internet, it’s not very wise to leave your professional persona out of it, and this is especially true when it comes to job hunting. Time and again, we’ve been told that we should market ourselves to the hiring managers as if we were any regular, good old product that needs to be sold, so it goes without saying that you need to use similar strategies to sell yourself to those marketing strategists use to sell their products.
A personal website helps you create your brand. And a brand is important because it tells your buyer – in this case, the hiring manager – a story. Depending on how well you tell your story, the hiring manager will be persuaded to ask you in for an interview. It’s, therefore, important that the story your personal website tells is a story that any hiring manager would like to hear: that you have the qualifications, the expertise, and the eagerness to be the employee they are looking for.
3. It Does the Networking for You
Admittedly, building your personal website is time-consuming and, as a job seeker, you probably don’t have all the time in the world. However, it’s important that you commit your time to building up your personal website, as research shows that up to 56% of hiring managers are more impressed if a candidate has a personal website. Unfortunately, only 7% of job seekers have actually bothered with making a personal website which means that, in the sea of candidates with no personal website, you will definitely stand out. It’s similar to going to a networking event and meeting a professional who has a business card to give you while another one doesn’t. Who do you think is more memorable?
So, really, a personal website does all the work for you, especially if you are not very good at networking in person; a personal website can showcase who you are as a professional while it never takes a day off in making you accessible to a huge audience.
4. It Helps You Get Noticed
Out of the 15,072 people who responded to this Branded.me survey, 70% said that hiring managers look at a candidate’s personal website before they’re called in for an interview which essentially means that the restaurant scenario stands. The hiring managers receive resumes, they quickly scan through them, and they put aside the ones they believe have potential. They then look for the candidates that they think are worthwhile online and those who have a personal website. Moreover, 93 percent of recruiters have admitted that their decision is influenced by what candidates share online. Therefore, if you present the hiring manager with a professional depiction of yourself online, you have more chances of getting hired.