how to use a personal website to market yourself while job hunting

How to Use a Personal Website to Market Yourself While Job Hunting

So you’re job hunting. It’s a tough thing to go through and can be made worse when the economy is on the fritz. 

job hunting

One thing you have to understand is that recruiters see the same things in their inbox on a daily basis.

What does that mean for you? Well, you are going to have to figure out how to market yourself so you stand out in a sea of samesies. 

Let’s discuss. 

If We're Being Honest With Ourselves..

Truth be told, you might be the best candidate for the job, but the system isn’t always fair.

If the next interviewee has more effective marketing, they’re going to get the job. You’ll need to learn how to play your cards right if you want your dream job.

Graphic designers and other creatives have been using personal websites for years, but recently, the trend is becoming more mainstream.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Growth in remote/hybrid work makes online communication more important than ever.
  2. Simple templates make it super easy to create a professional site without taking classes for it. 

Maybe it’s time to look at firing up a personal website. Let’s impress your next employer with a fabulous showcase of your qualifications! 

Some Tips for the Hunt

Do your research!

At times, I feel like a broken record saying that, but it’s so important!

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting to look at jobs! You need to be organized and prepared, so do some ground work first: 

  • What kind of job do you want?
  • Do you have the proper skillset to apply for it?

If you lack the skillset, can you find a program or course that will allow you to learn it quickly and be proficient enough to hold the job?

If you have the skillset (or after you have acquired the skills), start working on your resume and highlight the relevant training or experience you have.

Also, look into the company you’re applying to. Your goal is to impress your potential employer with your knowledge and your seriousness about the job. 

Do NOT just sit in the interview and spew facts and numbers! Is memorization required for the job? Probably not. Just but be prepared. This goes double if you are sure this is part of your career path. 

Now let’s discuss the creation/promotion process in 3 parts: 

  1. Creating Your Website 
  2. Promoting Yourself
  3. Promoting Your Website 

1: Create Your Website

Website creation doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Wait. Hold on, Tina. A WEBSITE?! Aren’t they hard to set up? Nope!

<—————

Lucky for you, I have a fantastic resource page for you HERE if you need some guidance on that.

Let’s discuss some things you should probably  include on your site: 

Introduction

What kind of employee are you going to be? <- That is what is going to go through a recruiter’s head immediately.

Tips:

  1. Don’t let them spend a lot of time reading. Keep this part brief.
  2. Try to avoid things like “team player” and other buzzwords like the ones listed HERE and HERE.

Start strong. In just a few sentences, showcase your major achievements and add a bit of personality to it. 

Visuals

It’s a website, so you have to have a bit of a wow factor.

How? A few suggestions: 

  • Photos
  • Icons
  • Formatting

You can use photos you’ve taken or some of your fave stock photos.

My fave stock photos are from:

Even an infographic would be a great touch. You can create one in Canva for free. 

Headshot

You might want to include this.

Tip: Dress for the job you want. A quick company site check should give you clues about their workplace dress code. Try to incorporate that.

It’s completely understandable if you don’t want to shell out the cash for professional headshots!

Photo Tips:

  1. Use natural light 
  2. Pose in front of a neutral background  

If you’re not going for the dress coded look, wear something simple and classic, in dark or neutral tones.

Don’t forget to smile! 

Portfolio

Include samples of your work: 

  • Have you been featured online or on a podcast?
  • Were you part of a case study?
  • Did you conduct that case study?

Add your successful (and relevant) projects.

Add screenshots of testimonials if you have them. These aren’t references per se, but it will showcase the impact of your work. What others have to say about you will probably have a bigger impact than what you say about yourself. 

Navigation?

Have you worked in different sectors?

Do you have a relevant side gig?

Use tabs/pages/posts to feature them. You can add separate color-coded sections to a website if you want to keep it to one page.

Just make sure all relevant work is listed, pictured and/or linked. 

Contact Info

Literally as I’m typing this, my teenage daughter is laughing hysterically because she just got a call for someone else, letting them know they got the job. Yes, it might have been a misdial, but it’s also possible the person didn’t update their contact info.

How do you want others to reach you –

  • Cell phone?
  • Social Media DM? 
  • Snail Mail?
  • Carrier Pigeon?
  • Hedwig?

Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s included.

If you don’t want your phone number or address posted online (totally understandable), you always have the option of adding a contact form. 

Authenticity is Key

Simply put: be yourself.

Yes, you need to be professional, but don’t let your individuality fall by the wayside.

Feel free to mention any volunteer work or fascinating hobbies. 

2. Promote Yourself

Let’s discuss some tips you can use to effectively promote yourself.

Should You Customize?

It’s well-known that your resume could make or break your efforts to getting a job.

It might be just a simple piece of paper or simple website, but it basically details your employment journey and what brought you to where you are.

As a result, you could do some tailoring on it. There’s the option to cut out the fluff and only keep the relevant jobs, experiences and education.

A recruiter might appreciate your ability to keep things simple and on topic, so it’s something to think about. 

First Impressions

What you wear says a lot about you, so make sure you’re dressed for success.

As mentioned in the headshot suggestions: if you are able to find out the dress code beforehand, utilize those guidelines. It’s a subtle way to show that you’ve done your homework. 

Interview? Nailed It!

Do a little prep work and be ready for that interview.

Smile. Don’t worry about looking ridiculous.

-> YOU see ridiculousness, but THEY see enthusiasm. <- 

Stay as relaxed as you can. 

Humble Yourself

A little humility goes a long way.

Remember: you’re a forever student, like it or not. Also: 

  • There is always something else you could learn and add to your skillset.
  • There are also new ways of doing things that might even make you more productive.

Don’t sell yourself short, but also be humble enough to open up to learning.

Your ability to be cross-trained will help you stand out from the job seeker crowd. 

Do Your Research.. About You!

A quick search should do it.

What public info is out there about you?

If there is nothing questionable, everything’s gravy.

If you find something you don’t want potential employers to see, see if you can have it removed or prepare to explain the situation.

HINT: You might have to un-tag yourself in a few social media posts 🙂 

Go Off-Script

Arm yourself with new ideas or suggestions for the company.

If you need a little practice thinking on your feet and presenting ideas, ask a friend to help you out.

Having those ideas in the back of your mind will equip you with the ability to share them at a moment’s notice when it comes up.

Doing this bit of prep work shows you’re a creative thinker and willing to go the extra mile. THAT is what companies look for! 

What Makes You... YOU?

So, what actually sets you apart? Include that in your resume/website, but also be prepared to answer questions. Have your backstories at the ready and use them to sell yourself as an ideal candidate. 

3. Promote Your Website

Let’s discuss a few ways to promote your website, so those recruiters can possibly find you without you even having to lift a finger or fill out an application. 

Search Engine Optimization

Simply put: study and apply some basic SEO.

Research industry keywords and use them in writing and in the alt text for your photos.

Use headings and subheadings. 

My blog posts with some basics: 

You can also find free SEO courses on a site like AppSumo

Email Siggies

Include your website in your email signatures and make sure you sign your emails.

You can add a headshot if appropriate.

You can find some affordable templates HERE if you need them, editable in Canva

Newsletters

Traditional newsletters are still a great way to keep in touch. 

If you want to go the route of e-newsletters, I recommend Flodesk.

Make your newsletters interesting and useful.

Note: provide an easy way to opt out. Yes, some jerk might mark it as spam, but make sure the opt out link is visible. 

Currently...

Update your website regularly to keep it current and relevant to what you’re looking for.

Post promptly:

  • Major life changes 
  • Career pivot 
  • New awards/accolades
  • Relevant published work

Start a folder on your desktop or a Trello board.

I created a simple Trello template for you HERE if you love Trello as much as I do. If not, it’s a great tool that I highly recommend to help keep organized. 

Analyzing

Use your analytics! Study your data!

This will help you figure out what’s working and what needs improvement.

Most hosting and website builders have analytics built in. They measure things like unique clicks and where your traffic is coming from.

That will help you concentrate your marketing efforts to what works. 

Building A Brand

If you have any semblance of an online presence, you’re a brand now.

So, think about how your personal site fits into that online presence.

-> Do your efforts position you as a professional?

My relevant posts about Personal Branding: 

  1. Personal Branding 101 
  2. How To Build Your Personal Brand 

Try your best to maintain a consistent tone across your site and profiles.

Do an occasional audit across your web presence: are you still projecting the image you want potential employers or even clients to see? 

The Bottom Line: 

A personal website could make your next job search end faster and on a more successful note. It will help you stand out from the sea of samesies and show an employer how lucky they would be to have you, without you having to shout that from the rooftops.

The keys to landing the job you really want: 

  1. Have a positive attitude
  2. Be (or get) properly trained, housebroken if you need it. 

Stay organized.

Keep calm

Be persistent.

With all that under your belt, you’re sure to go far! 

GOOD LUCK! 

Stock Photos:

Ivory Mix 

resources

Blog & Website Resources

My hand-picked resources to help you map out and create your website or blog. 

Stock Photos

My fave stock photos are from:

Email signature Templates

Creative Fabrica has THESE editable in Canva. 

Email Newsletters

Flodesk is a great email platform. Get 50% off your first year with this link. 

A FREE Trello Board Template

You read my post, now click HERE to get your board template at no cost (direct link). 

Personal Branding

My relevant posts about Personal Branding: 

  1. Personal Branding 101 
  2. How To Build Your Personal Brand 

Are you putting your right branding foot forward?

Let this bundle help you!

  • Brand Building Worksheets (to help craft your message)
  • Website Checklist & Social Media Checklist (to help you come across as professional and serious)
personal branding bundle product photo
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