[ What would you put on a personal website that you don’t already have on LinkedIn? ]
Just a few days ago, I was chatting with a friend of mine, who is currently looking for a job. She was holding a senior role in a well-known global company. Frequent travel, late hours, looming deadlines and endless meetings collided with an ever increasing workload. It did not bode well for her plans to start a family. She decided to do what many women, faced with her choices, would do. She opted out for an undefined period of time as she embraced other pressing priorities in her life.
Fast forward a few years, and a two-year-old happily in tow, she thought it would be a good time to get back into the world of work. She had maintained a current Linkedin profile for job hunting purposes but not much else.
While we were catching up that day, I asked her whether she had a personal website up or anything else, as part of her job search efforts. She replied, “What would you put on a personal website that you don’t already have on LinkedIn?”
This is what I’d like to address here.
LinkedIn seems to be the go-to choice for many for networking and job-hunting but it’s certainly not enough to put all your eggs in one basket. As looking for a job can very soon become a full-time job in itself, your efforts are best supported by ensuring that all appropriate platforms are utilised.
Make it easy for others to find you
This means you don’t want to have a presence on only LinkedIn and not be visible anywhere else.
This also means that it does not matter if your presence online elsewhere is similar or redundant.
The reason for this is simple – you want is to make it as easy as possible for people to find you. Some people also have certain preferences in terms of where they would tend to look or which platforms they are comfortable with.
For example, some people may prefer to use Google+ to handle most of their work connections while keeping LinkedIn for more business development work. Depending on the person and their role, each person may have their own set of systems and processes in place to help them do their job or run their life better. Their systems may not make sense to you nor are they always so visible or clearly understood.
Therefore, you want to ensure that, where possible, that profile of you that is slowly being developed online is as close to the one you are designing for yourself.
Some people prefer to use a search engine to find out more about you, instead of heading straight to LinkedIn. In which case, having a number of links that point to you or your work will help your reader to gain some idea about who you are.
What you need to keep in mind is that people are looking for, accessing and making sense of information they come across, that is presented to them, that they specifically search for, all the time. You cannot control what they do come across since not everything about you is published by you. There are times others may publish things about you ie publish comments, documents or photos without your knowledge or permission. Therefore, you want to ensure that, where possible, that profile of you that is slowly being developed online is as close to the one you are designing for yourself.
Look at it this way – if you decide not to put any posts up, not even a single article, if you don’t comment on any forum, if you have no personal website or professional presence online, then you leave yourself open to being judged on anything else your reader sees that has been published by someone else. Rightly or wrongly, impressions are created which may take significant effort to undo.
What should you do?
Hold your résumé in an online résumé bank
Doing this is less about controlling your image and more about providing a certain level of convenience to you. Most online résumé banks take a lot of the formatting and presentation angst out of the equation, leaving you to focus on just inputting data where you need to. The job can be done in a short span of time.
Unlike a word document which you keep on your laptop or your Google Drive, any revisions you make to your résumé are updated in real-time since you have a unique URL associated with your résumé. You will not need to contact every job board again with an updated résumé. This in itself, is a huge boon.
There are many free résumé banks or cv creators online. One I have tried is Visual CV, which also allows you to download a pdf version to keep.
Keep a personal homepage
A personal homepage is a site that acts as your personal website. There are so many free options out there that there is no loss for you to get one done. Free ones typically have their company name as part of the URL link, alongside your name but you could very easily purchase your domain name and then use the templates provided by these sites to create a simple site.
About Me is one such site. My URL on this site is https://about.me/rowenamorais. What you get is a simple one-page document where you can upload a picture of yourself together with some brief bio data and links to your social handles etc. It is simple to get started.
Another good website builder that is super easy to use, gorgeous and mobile-friendly (critical point today) is Strikingly.
Unless you plan to stay at one company forever, there is benefit to embracing social. Social media has become a mainstay. Each platform is unique, however, and it does require time, effort, persistence and a desire to learn in order to understand how to utilise that platform to your advantage, whether it be to support your job hunting or to support you in your work.
Each platform brings a huge potential audience with it, running into the millions. Your choice of platform will depend on what you use it for and since each one takes time to learn, it may make more sense for you to learn the intricacies of each, one platform at a time.
When you are finally heard, what will you say?
You can still ensure you have a baseline presence on all the relevant platforms so that people can find you easily. Ideally, you should have a consistent message and look for your personal brand across all these platforms.
Your résumé is a record of the work you’ve done and the roles you’ve had. Whether you’re looking to make new connections, find a new role, get a promotion or build more business, you’re also always looking for ways to differentiate yourself – which is about shaping your future.
Everyone is clamouring for attention. Distinguishing yourself is not about making noise for the sake of it but making the right kind of noise, that people are willing to pause and listen. You will curate good quality content in your field of expertise and share it. You will also create good quality content yourself because this is the one clear way for you to set yourself apart.
When you are finally heard, what will you say?
When you have the chance today, to create your own platform, what work will you choose to do?
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#LinkedIn #career #résumé
Headline image courtesy Snappa IO via stocksnap.io
All the links here are based on my own research and because I have personally experienced these sites. I don’t get paid to talk about them.