Now you might be sitting there thinking: But I’ve already got my LinkedIn profile, so why do I need a website?
It’s a fair question to ask. It is important for you to be on LinkedIn, but there are a few things LinkedIn can’t do for you.
How much does your LinkedIn profile really stand out, compared to other profiles? You might have a great headshot as your profile picture, and a catchy headline, but other than that, your profile looks pretty much like all the other millions of profiles.
The ultimate career advantage
By taking ownership of your name and brand with a career website, you decide what people find when they Google you because of the content you create.
By having a website, you’ll give recruiters and headhunters a much better sense of who you are and what you do, which will help them make a better match should they recruit you.
But there is more…
Another, even better, reason you should have a website
Would you ever build a house on a rented lot?
But in reality, that’s exactly what you are doing when you only have a LinkedIn profile to carry your career brand
If LinkedIn makes new updates and changes things in their system, then it might influence the things you have on your profile. The problem is that you don’t own the things you post and share on LinkedIn (or any other social platform), it’s owned by LinkedIn. You can write valuable blog posts on LinkedIn, but you don’t own the content, LinkedIn does. In other words, whenever you build a brand, or any other presence on social media, your have no control or ownership of it.
A career website should be your home base
Your career website has to be your primary home base for your career brand because there you’ll own all the content on the site.
One of the most powerful reasons why you should have a personal website is that you’ll create your personal knowledge base, consisting of your expertise and the things you’re passionate about within your industry.
Feeding your career website with all the things you know, will have another great side effect because everything you write on your website will help people within your industry find you through Google searches. So, in a sense, you’ll make Google a promoter of your knowledge as well.
Your name is your brand
The web domain should be your name.
Let’s say your name is Bradley Thomson. Then your domain should be brandleythomson.com / or .org, .net, .co.uk or whatever makes sense in your part of the world.
If the domain is already taken, then add your middle name or initial, so in this case, it could be, for example, bradleyhthomson.com. Or simply write out your entire name, f.ex. bradleyhenleythomson.com
When your name is your domain, then it’ll be the first thing that’ll show up, when people Google your name.
This should be on your website
Your career website should only have career-related content, so don’t flood your site with cat and dog pictures. (Keep that to your ‘about’ page, if you can’t control yourself.)
These are the pages you should have on your website:
My suggestion is that your front page should be as clean as possible with a picture of you, your value proposition and brand slogan. You can also show a few of your most recent blog posts on your front page.
Your ‘about’ page is where you present yourself to the visitor. Tell them what you’re about, give them a little background story and let them know what they’ll get from reading your blog. Write in your own voice and with the future in mind. This is where the visitor or a potential employer will get a feel for you and your passion. The about page is generally the second most viewed page on a website, after the front page. So make a great impression here.
Put your CV on the website and describe what you’ve done in your current and previous positions, just like you’ve done on LinkedIn. Remember to include volunteer work, if you’ve done any.
Get testimonials from some of your former colleagues and employers and show them on a separate page. You can also place testimonials throughout your website, in blog posts, sidebars etc.
Make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you. You can either have a contact widget or just write your contact info (email, phone, links to your social media profiles etc.)
This is the where the ultimate value of your career website will be created.
The blog is the entire reason why you should have your personal career website. Writing blog posts on your career website is key to building your career brand. It’s where you’ll write about things you’re passionate about, your industry insights and the value you create. This is where you’ll create your knowledge base by sharing your experiences, vision, and thoughts. Everything you write on your website and blog will be things people can find you by on Google, which will strengthen your career brand.
To make it short: your CV is serving you as a teaser for employers, and your blog is where you can go into detail about the things you’ve done and the results you’ve been a part of.
When you feed your career website with blog posts describing the things you’ve done, you give more value to your competencies and strengths. Now they’ll be more than just a word, because you’ve described how you created value using them.
Let’s say you’ve got an education in International Business and you write a blogpost on cooperations between companies in the US and Asia. A blog post like that would be another way for you to be found when someone researches this topic on Google.
Ideas to write about:
- Projects you’ve worked on and how results were created.
- How you contribute to teamwork.
- Tendencies within your industry
- Comments on articles and news within your industry
- Describe how you work when you use your strengths
- Review and comment on books related to your field
When you create a personal career brand, it is important to be consistent in your writing and creating content in order to build your knowledge base. If you prioritize to write a blog post a week, you’ll have 52 unique posts a year from now, to support your brand and career goals. That would be pretty amazing, right?
Another great way to leverage your blog posts would be to share links to relevant posts you’ve written in your resume when you apply for jobs. When you do that, it’ll show a great deal of motivation and that you’re engaged in the things you do, which will make you stand out from the masses.
The recruiters and small business owners I’ve talked to, have all liked the idea of having a career website to turn to, in the recruiting process.
Give your visitors a reason to sign up to receive your updates when you publish new content to your site. This list can become very valuable for your future career because the people who sign up are all interested in what you have to say.
Get people to your home base
Everything you do on social media should refer back to your career website. To make it as easy as possible for people to find your home base, you should link to your career website from all your social profiles. To get people to your website, you should share your blog posts on your social media profiles, especially on LinkedIn. That’ll help you attract not only your existing connections to your website, but you’ll also attract new like minded connections.
Download ‘The Essentials of a Career Website’ checklist and guide to get started on your career website.
By now, we reached the end of this Career Branding Series on Graduateland. You now know a lot of things on how to:
- How online footprints can ruin your career opportunities
- Be a Go-Giver instead of a Go-Getter
- Take complete ownership of your Career Brand
If you have any further questions about Career Branding, I’d love to hear from you.
Our guest blogger Niels Reib is a mentor, speaker and Career Branding specialist who helps career driven students and professionals attract fulfilling careers where they can unleash their full potential. In cooperation with Graduateland, Niels offers special counseling session for students and graduates to kick off their career - including optimizing your LinkedIn profile, creating a strong online presence and taking complete ownership of your career brand.