Economy & Jobs

Creating a Personal Website to Support Your Job Search

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Wouldn’t it be cool if an employer came to you and made you a job offer—or at least invited you in for an interview? No more emailing resumes, scrolling through online listings, or cold-calling potential employers. It could happen if you build a strong digital presence. Most people have a LinkedIn profile, but a good way to set yourself apart from the competition is by creating a personal website. There, employers can learn more about you and see if you possess the skill set they’re looking for.

Here’s how to get started:

Buy YourName.com

The first step is buying your domain name from NameCheap or GoDaddy. Try using your first and last name combined, or add a middle initial or a word after your name (e.g. something to do with your dream career) to distinguish you from others. Your name is extremely valuable, and this is the bedrock your personal brand will be built on.

Create a Personal Website on Your Own

Building your own website is easy if you use a service such as Squarespace. You can create a beautiful site for only $8 per month, and the firm does all the heavy lifting for you. Websites used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and take months to build, but now for the price of lunch you can create yours in just a few hours. Another great option is Weebly, which even offers free version.

Hire a Web Designer

If you want to have more control over creating a personal website, then you might want to use WordPress. You’ll have to pay for hosting (unlike with Squarespace and Weebly), and likely hire a Web designer. You can find one on Elance or Upwork, but remember to closely read reviews—the designer’s work will ultimately be a reflection of your own. Also, reach out to your network and see if you have a friend who can build an affordable website for you. Even better, learn HTML and CSS and code your site from scratch. The sense of accomplishment will be worth the time and effort.

Move Beyond LinkedIn

It’s important to have a profile on LinkedIn because that’s where many headhunters, recruiters, and employers are looking for potential job candidates, but make sure you link to your personal website from your LinkedIn account. By doing so, you can post an online resume, have a blog, highlight your skills, and show examples of your best work along with testimonials. It’s also a chance for you to present your personality, photos, hobbies, and interests, which could make you a much more compelling candidate.

Be Yourself

A personal website can help you highlight that unique combination of qualities that sets you apart from every other job candidate with an application sitting on a hiring manager’s desk or in their inbox. This means you might have to invest time, resources, and money into yourself, but it’s ultimately worth it.

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Sophia Bera, CFP® is the Founder of Gen Y Planning and is a financial planner for Millennials. She's passionate about providing comprehensive financial planning to people in their 20s and 30s across the country in a fun and accessible way. She is a contributor for AOL's Daily Finance website and has been quoted on various websites and publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo, Money Magazine, InvestmentNews, and The Huffington Post. She was named one of the "Top Financial Advisors for Millennials" by the website: www.MoneyUnder30.com. Sophia is a sought after speaker and presenter and a founding member of the XY Planning Network. In her free time, she enjoys performing as an actor/singer and traveling the world. Follow her on Twitter @sophiabera or buy her new Kindle ebook on Amazon called: What You Should Have Learned About Money, But Never Did.