If you want to make yourself stand out among the many applicants when you apply for internships or a job in the future, building your personal brand is crucial. A great way to do that is by creating your own website.
Creating a website sounds daunting. You might think, “I know nothing about coding or HTML, how am I going to build a website? That’s going to take me months!” or “No one is even going to find or look at my website, why bother?”. All valid reasons to hesitate to create one. But I have better reasons for you to get over those doubts.
Thanks to the advancing technology and brilliant human minds, we no longer need to have any HTML, coding or any website building knowledge or experience to create a website! The different websites (that helps you create websites) are very simple and intuitive, making the website creating process easier for you!
Here are some steps and things you should consider including in your website:
1. Pick a website building tool
I’m sure a lot of you have seen Wix ads on YouTube (Even though we all know we never watch the whole ad). Other websites that are also great for creating your own websites like Wix include Weebly, WordPress, and Jimdo. There are many more out there. They are all just a Google search away.
Not sure which one to use? Pick one and try it out and see if it fits your style or if it’s user-friendly and easy to navigate for you. Play around and try creating a few web pages to your website to try out to process. If after a while, you don’t feel like it clicks with you, try another web-building site. There is no way to tell you which one is best for you or which one you should use, only you will know that after trying them out.
2. About yourself page.
Now onto items you should consider including on your website. An ‘About Me’ page is important, if not, the backbone of your website. Without, potential employers who visit your website would not be able to associate the great work you upload on your website to the amazing person behind the scenes – you!
On the ‘About Me’ page, be professional, but also be personable. The great thing about having your own website is that it is YOUR territory. While it is important to stay professional, it is also important to show your personality as well. And it is hard to show that to employers on LinkedIn, a resume or a cover letter. Your own website is the perfect place to showcase that. On your ‘About Me’ page, include basic information such as school, major and career objective as well as personable facts, for instance, where you grew up, your hobbies, pets, and your favorite place you’ve traveled to. Anything that allows employers to know you better as a person outside all the formal paperwork like resume and cover letter.
3. Experience and accomplishments
Expand your resume/LinkedIn on this page. A lot of the time, the information you put on LinkedIn or your resume isn’t enough to let potential employers to really know your potentials and abilities. Put in more detail and really showcase what you have accomplished in each role and what you’ve learned. A great way to “brag” about your accomplishments is through presenting numbers. For instance, if you were the social media coordinator of a company, show the increase in followers on your accounts, show them the numbers. Numbers are memorable and can get people’s attention, thus employers would have a longer-lasting impression of you.
In the meantime, don’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable as well. Again, this your own website, it’s your own territory. You can show employers perhaps what didn’t go as planned during your role, how you reflected on it and grew because of it. Let them know what you’ve learned from the experience even if you weren’t proud of the results. Contrary to what many think, this actually gives employers a positive impression as they can see that you are observant, self-aware and that you are willing to learn and adapt, which are great qualities employers look for in employees.
The ‘About Me’ page is the backbone of the website. And now the portfolio is the meat of the website. Showcasing your portfolio on your website is vital to getting employers to know your abilities better and let you stand out among other applicants. Resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn show your skills, but they don’t really show your skills. Providing a portfolio page allows employers to be more confident in making a decision on whether to hire you or not.
“What should I put in my portfolio page?” You might ask.
Article writing samples if you’re looking for any content creation positions, press release samples for those getting into the Public Relations field, video samples for media production majors, photography samples and art samples for visual art positions. You see the gist. Show any work that would present the skills needed for your desired industry/career.
This is not only applicable to Communications, writing, media or art students, but also to those in other areas of studies. For instance, if you’re seeking research opportunities, present previous research samples; if you’re looking for marketing positions, showcase your marketing campaign plans you’ve done in your marketing and business classes.
This brings me to my next point. Some people might think it makes you seem like a weak applicant if you upload work samples from college classes. But that is not the case, especially if you are just starting out your internship/job search. It is completely okay, if not, encouraged to let employers see the work you did for school if you are a student and don’t have any professional experiences yet. This way, employers will be able to get a better understanding of your abilities and have an idea of how you can contribute to their company if you were to get the position. As you get more internship or other work experience, update your portfolio page with work you’ve been doing and eventually drop your schoolwork.
5. ‘Contact Me’ page
Now imagine there’s a potential employer who came across your website, has seen all they have to see on the website and decided you are a great fit for a position (maybe a dream job you didn’t know until now!), they want to contact you… but oops, can’t find any contact information on the website.
It’s always important to include contact information as well as a contact form on the website to make it easier for website viewers to get in touch with you and connect for opportunities.
There you go! Simple steps and content to get the ball rolling! Remember, your website is your own, and you can adapt it however you want, but these are just some basic guidelines to keep you on track and get you started.
Happy website creation, collegiettes!