Do you need a personal website? Recruiters weigh in.

Person sitting in front of laptop with small dog on their lap
Person sitting in front of laptop with small dog on their lap

For better or worse, we live in the age of personal brands. You don’t necessarily need Twitter or Instagram to get a job (though it can help). And personal websites aren’t the norm in every industry. But if you’re a creative, a freelancer or have any kind of side hustle, building a personal website can help you land jobs and get discovered.

Whether you offer editing, consulting or event planning, or you create apps, articles, videos, advertisements or business decks, a website can pay dividends. It serves as a portfolio, a resume and a business card all in one.

(By the way, if your resume could use some help, might we suggest trying out The free-to-try service makes putting together sleek and professional CVs a breeze.)

Plus, making one is cheap and easy. “Paying for a yearly website subscription is honestly the best and cheapest investment I’ve ever made in my career,” says Kat Gillespie, a journalist at New York Magazine. "Most of my professional contacts found me through my website, whether it’s freelance writers pitching me stories, publicists getting in contact, or outlets contacting me for freelance work.”

Here are five reasons to make a personal website to help your job hunt.

Help recruiters find you

Making a website is like putting up a billboard for yourself on the internet. That billboard can be useful, whether you’re hunting for a full-time role or looking for clients.

“We are doing Google searches,“ says Keirsten Greggs, a D.C.-based career coach and recruiter who’s worked with companies from Visa to an infrared camera manufacturer. “We are finding you because of your tweets, your website, your LinkedIn, your blog posts, your GitHub repost, your TikTok page … not just the resume you submit.”

“Old-school recruiters may not be looking at your website, but increasingly, recruiters are coming around to the fact that people showcase skills in different ways,” Greggs adds.

Especially if you’re early in your career, having a website can give you an advantage over competitors who don’t. “The percentage of early career people who are actually on LinkedIn or have a website is extremely low,” says Greggs. “It’s so helpful as a way for you to be discoverable.”

Share more about yourself than you can fit on a resume

When applying to a job, having a website to link to in your resume or cover letter is like getting an extra credit opportunity in your application. Why pass up the chance to show and say more?

“It allows you to show a more creative side of yourself and just show more in general,” says Greggs.

”Your resume is a trailer for your career — a website can be the blockbuster. If you send me a website, I’ll take time to review it.” 

In some cases, not having a website can set you back in an application process. “It depends on the role, but for candidates applying in fields like graphic design, software, product design, entertainment, writing, it’s very difficult to get an idea of them without a website or online portfolio,” says Sophie Power, a recruiter in the U.K.

“They’re really useful for roles in tech or anything that touches product, digital or social media,” adds Greggs. “Maybe it’s not as relevant for an attorney … but you know what, I can even see cases in that field where you’d want to showcase research or a talk you gave.”

Focus online attention in the right place

If you’re not especially active on social media, your personal website can establish the kind of online presence that recruiters want to see. “Just from a credibility perspective, you don’t want to only have the bare minimum about yourself online,” says Powers. “I will often google candidates just as a security check.”

Developing the ideal online presence can be tricky: You don’t want too little about yourself online, but you certainly don’t want to overshare. By the time you graduate college, there can be pages and pages of random ephemera that appear when you google your name. You don’t want recruiters to waste the precious 20 seconds they have to spend looking you up, scrolling through your tweets, looking at your selfies or watching a YouTube video you made for a science project.

If you make your website URL include your name, it will likely become the first or second result that pops up for you, making recruiters’ Google search much more efficient.

“A website is so much more helpful to potential employers or collaborators than whatever random social media comes up when they google your name,” says Gillespie. “It’s a way to take control of the narrative about yourself online, if a lot of random stuff comes up when people Google your name.”

Use it as a business card while networking

Whether or not you use social media, it’s a lot easier to send over a website link than to attach a bunch of clunky documents when you’re sending a networking email or follow-up.

Daniel Toretsky, an artist and architect, doesn’t use social media much, so he sends his website to every professional contact he meets.

“It’s so easy to be like, ‘Here’s my website’ rather than attaching some massive 15-page file,” says Toretsky. “If I can get someone to look at my website, it usually solidifies their interest in me professionally.”

Look out for your future self — even if you don’t have tons of experience right now

Unless you’re a graphic designer or website developer, you don’t need to go wild with your website’s interface. You can choose from pre-made templates on website builders like Wix, Squarespace and WordPress. All your site really needs to include is:

  • Your resume

  • A quick bio

  • Your contact information 

The most important thing is that it displays your work, whatever that is. As long as it’s all professional, easy to read and relevant, get as creative as feels good.

You might feel like you’re too early in your career to justify making a website. But it can’t hurt — it can only make your work that does exist easier to find. And in 10 years, you’ll thank your past self for putting it all in one place along the way.

So, if you’ve been sending applications off into the void or trolling the same job boards every day, take a day off and make a website. There’s no predicting who might find it.

Chegg Life may earn a commission if you make a purchase through an affiliate link.

View the original article at Chegg Life and signup for the Chegg Life Newsletter