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Jump Off the Page: A Personal Website Can Boost Your Career

resume websiteWhile unemployment may be dropping, it’s still only 2.5 percent less than it was at it’s worse in 2010 and twice as high as it was a decade ago, according to Bls.gov. In other words, today’s job market still isn’t an employee’s market.

No one is picking and choosing job opportunities, regardless of what anyone is saying.

Jobs that were fairly easy to come by if you had the skill set, tech jobs, for example, like working for Internet providers, simply aren’t a dime a dozen any longer. Competition is getting stiffer as skill sets become less unique and the market has become more stingy as the result of a struggling economy that hasn’t had it’s head above water in 10 years.

Getting Ahead, the Smart Way

The economic climate might lead you to ask, “How do I get an edge?” There are, of course, the old fall backs: get more training, have a professional write your resume, apply for jobs you’re overqualified for … and the list goes on and on.

The best thing you can do for your portfolio — and your career — is make a personal website.

That probably sounds too easy. You probably assume everyone is already doing it. You might think it’s not for you, that you simply don’t have the savvy. However, you’d be wrong.

Personal Websites: What the People that Don’t Have One Don’t Know

Most of us understand that a resume, a vita, a portfolio — whatever a person has decided to label the synopsis of their skills and work history — is inherently boring to read. It gives little to no indication of who you actually are. It’s bulky and large on paper and completely unimpressive if sent electronically, attached to an email.

In today’s day and age, it’s almost shocking that more than 9 out of 10 applicants still use them. In a recent interview with Forbes Magazine, Charles Pooley, founder and chief executive of Workfolio, a company that “develops applications for professional visibility,” said that 56 percent of hiring managers prefer a personal website than, “any other branding tool.”

Amazingly, in the same interview, Pooley stated that only 7 percent of job candidates have one.

Why Personal Websites are Effective

Personal websites show potential employers that you have technical skills. Even if your website isn’t chalked full of flash applications and cutting edge graphics, simply having a personal website that functions, is organized and intuitive and isn’t a black and white dossier of papers is considerably better than 93 percent of every other candidate’s personal presentation. In fact, the simpler it is, the better.

A personal website is a much better illustration of who you are and what you can do than a white or tope piece of paper has the potential to ever be.

Another reason personal websites appeal to hiring employees is because a website gives perspective employers insight into your personality and personal life. While you are not legally obligated to give either, if doing so doesn’t bother you, sharing a little about yourself aside from your qualifications and work history can do a great deal to enhance your professional appeal.

You can make a personal website say something about you, not just what you’ve done.

What to Do and What to Avoid on a Personal Website

According to SmashingMagazine.com, there are several common pitfalls people make that you need to avoid when designing your personal website. The first is obfuscation. In other words, don’t go off in a million directions and confuse users. Be clear and concise. Keep your site simple. The second error is stuffing information. Don’t include information that doesn’t serve a purpose just to fill space. Similar to information stuffing, don’t overdo the site. A personal website is a source of information, not entertainment. The key — again — is to keep it simple.

What good is a personal website if users don’t know how to navigate? Design is important, but function is more important. Don’t sacrifice user experience for a fancy design.

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