First of all, what is a personal professional website? It’s basically a website about your professional goals and accomplishments. This could include a portfolio of your work, whether that’s descriptions of your teaching philosophies and classroom experiences, links to articles or poetry you’ve written, descriptions of career-related projects you’ve developed and completed, or collections of your artwork or photography. Your personal professional site could also double as a blog if you want to write regularly about a certain topic.
If you’re worried that you don’t have enough to show off, your personal professional website can just be a more detailed version of your resume or LinkedIn profile. For example, when I created my first professional website, I made pages for each section you’d put on a resume: skills, education, work experiences and more. On each page, I went into detail about projects I’d worked on, what I learned from my classes, etc. I also included links to samples of my work, such as blog posts I’d written and social media accounts I had started. My goal was to show future employers what I was passionate about and show them how my education and experiences made me a great candidate to work with.
College students don’t necessarily need personal professional websites, but if you’re willing to put a bit of time in, it can help set you apart from your peers as you apply for jobs and internships.
Benefits of Creating Your Own Space on the Internet
Most employers don’t expect you to have a professional website when you’re fresh out of college or still a student. Creating one gives you two distinct advantages that will benefit you while searching for jobs, networking and starting your career:
Show off the real you.
LinkedIn is a must-have when it comes to your professional presence online, but let’s face it: It’s hard to showcase your personality and uniqueness on it. That’s where a personal professional website comes in. You can play around with colors, fonts and layouts to show your personality, and you can share visuals, blog posts, videos and detailed pages about you, your experiences and your abilities. It’s your own space, and you can use it to present yourself exactly how you want employers to perceive you.
Demonstrate your talents.
Maintaining your own website is a great way to showcase your talents, especially if you’re writing a blog or creating a portfolio of photography, graphic design, video or other visual mediums. Employers look for candidates with strong written communication skills, so regularly publishing blog posts is an easy way to prove to employers that you know how to write. It’s also convenient to have some of your best work displayed in an online portfolio—you can simply send someone a link to your website instead of uploading a bunch of files each time someone asks for samples of your work.
Want to read about best practices for creating your persona professional website? Read the rest of my article “Your Career Column: Building a Personal Professional Website” for The Sower.