A Powerful Job Hunting, Career-Building Tool You're Probably Not Using
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
You have great skills and experience. You have built an excellent résumé. You have signed up on all the major job boards. You have answered all the ads you can find in your field. You have submitted your details to all the relevant recruiters. As far as you can tell, you haven't missed a trick. But you still don't have a new job.
Cheer up. I've got another trick to add to your bag. It's easy. It's fast. It's free. Stay with me after I've told you what it is, because you may not think it's so easy and fast, and you may doubt the "free" part. But if you try it, you'll probably like it, and scores of job hunters have found that it works. I'm going to tell you how it works and why. Ready? Here it is: Build your own self-presentation website.
Now, before you bolt out the door, let me explain the easy, fast and free part. (Obviously, I'm talking to the folks who've never built a site or perhaps never considered doing so. If you know how and where, just smile and move on to the "why this works" part.) All you need to do is go to Google at http://sites.google.com/ and sign up for a free site. It is a dead bang no-brainer. If you can type words into a document, you can make a website. Google has complete tutorials and holds your hand every step of the way. You probably can build that site faster than I can write this article.
But, why should you? How can it possibly help? How would anyone find it among all the millions of websites out there? Here's what you do with it and why:
1. You may not be unique if you make your own self-presentation site, but you will be rare. Few job-seekers are using the device as yet, so it's an attractive novelty to potential employers and recruiters.
2. Having your own website shows initiative and creativity. It shows the potential employer you are willing to go the extra mile to get a job done. Not only are those attractive qualities to tell the employer you have, they are being demonstrated just by your action of establishing a website.
3. Your printed résumé is limited to a couple of pages and a cover letter. Your website can expand greatly upon the space you have to impress and can be done in multiple media.
4. If you design your site well, a potential employer will be inclined to spend much more time exploring your attractive site than in the scan he would do of your résumé.
5. Building a website is a good excuse for re-contacting potential employers and recruiters who have previously passed over your mere print résumé.
6. If you put your website address at the top of your résumé and cover letters, and on your business cards, you create an impetus for a "second look" for those who simply scan the many résumés they receive daily.
7. If you design a great logo/header for your site, you can integrate that into your résumé, letterhead and business card design. Graphics get attention and interest.
8. If you have an interview, you can suggest the interviewer visit your site and see demos of your work during or after the interview. Showing is usually superior to telling.
9. As suggested above, all the above work much better if you upload material that illustrates your abilities and accomplishments. And, that's something that you can't do with the usual résumé and cover letter combo. (Of course, your résumé should be included in the website.)
10. If you build a website, all your friends, family and others in your network can refer potential employers or other contacts to it. Not only is showing usually superior to telling for everyone, the potential employer can learn what you want him to know, directly from you, rather than second hand interpretations.