In this digital age, standing out in a sea of cover letters and LinkedIn requests can require an extra special touch. This is where a personal website can really come in handy. A personal website (also known as a digital portfolio or portfolio website) is a great place to begin building your personal brand. You can use your portfolio website to share samples of your work, host blog posts that highlight your industry expertise, and can add references from colleagues and clients.
On the fence about creating a digital home for your career? Keep reading to learn how to use a personal website to help boost your career.
What is a Personal Website?
Professionals create personal websites to tell the world about what they can bring to the table and what their credentials are. Personal websites can serve a variety of purposes, such as:
- Creating an online presence: A personal website can help an individual establish an online presence and make it easier for potential employers, clients, or collaborators to find and learn more about them.
- Showcasing a portfolio: Personal websites can be used to showcase an individual’s work, such as photographs, writing, or design projects.
- Blogging: Personal websites can also be used as a platform for blogging, to share opinions, insights or personal experiences. A blog is a great way to showcase industry expertise.
- Creating a resume: Personal websites can be used to create an online version of a resume, that can be easily shared and accessed by potential employers.
- Creating a brand: Personal websites can be used to create a personal brand, by showing the personality and interests of the individual, and how they can add value to a company or organization.
When To Use a Personal Website
During a job search. Your portfolio website will come in handy when you’re job searching as you can submit it alongside your resume. This extra step can really stand out to potential employers and it allows you to share your work history and skills in much more detail than your one page resume can.
While building your network. The best part about the world wide web is that there are unlimited connection potentials. By having a digital home for your career on the web, you’re basically instituting an open door policy that welcomes anyone who is interested in learning more about your work. There may be someone out there who is looking high and low for a professional with your exact qualifications, so help them find you.
How to Use a Personal Website
Here are a few ideas of what you can include on a portfolio website:
Resume. Anyone on the web who is looking for someone with your skillset can find your resume.
Skills. You can list your skills in greater detail and can include samples of your work to back you up.
Education. Alongside formal degrees, you can also share certificates from professional training and link to any digital courses you’ve taken that strengthen your skillset. You can even add a blog post about what you learned from specific educational
Work samples. Show off your latest marketing campaign, product launches, or any samples of work that you can find a way to visualize.
References. Similar to how you can ask for references on LinkedIn, you can ask colleagues and clients for references to add to your portfolio website.
Blog posts. Even if you’re not a writer by trade, having a small blog that you use to start conversations about topics relating to your career and industry can be a great way to show off your passion and expertise.
Contact information. This part is a must! How can people contact you if they want to hire you or get to know you?
How to Build a Portfolio Website
There are several ways to create a portfolio website for free. Here are a few options:
- Use a website builder: Platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace offer free plans that allow you to create a portfolio website without any coding knowledge.
- Use a free template: Many website builders and content management systems, such as WordPress, offer free templates that you can use to create your portfolio website. You can find a template that works best to highlight the story you want to tell. For example, a photographer needs a template that showcases a lot of photographs on their portfolio site.
- Use a free hosting service: Services like GitHub Pages and Neocities allow you to host a website for free, and you can use these to create a portfolio website. However, these free hosting services don’t usually.
Whichever option you choose, make sure to personalize your portfolio website to make it stand out and effectively showcase your work.
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