Before the Internet, our biggest concern when applying for a job, other than getting the job, was what paper stock to use for our resume or CV. You can't use standard white, it needs to stand out...but of course, like everything else, it’s what's on the paper that counts.
Once you figured out the color and weight of the paper, the next challenge was trying to fit all of your awesome karate, French, and jam-making talents and other special interests onto one page.
You shave everything down as best as possible, squeeze it all on a single page, (scrapbooking didn't make the cut), slip on your ill-fitting suit, and embellish your way through an awkward interview. Of course you follow up a few days later by sending a letter thanking them for their time, blah blah.
Those times were awesome.
It’s now almost 2014. Safe to say we are competing with an exponentially larger job market than even 10 years ago. So whether you are looking for work, or looking to hire, the approach may have changed, but the execution has stayed the same. We still need to go through awkward interviews, in some cases personality tests, and the all-around hiring process, but the approach to getting that interview now goes beyond your light gray 24-lb sheet resume.
Because we’re dealing with such a large hiring pool, in order to get our name and experience out there, we must take advantage of the dozens and dozens of resources at our disposal. Start with the obvious career-finding websites; Monster.com, jobs.com, careers.com. Though these sites have become a haven for spam, it’s good practice to list your resume in all possible places. Cast a wide net. Upload your resume to LinkedIn and start finding and creating as many connections as possible. It’s a slow grind, but can be effective over time.
However, the most effective way to create a presence for yourself is by creating your own website. Having a website is a crucial necessity in the job/career market. But again, the ability to have a website does not mean the need to include all your above-mentioned hobbies and interests. Content is king.
The main benefit of having a website is that a website allows you to elaborate a bit more on your experiences. Make sure to keep everything professional; stay away from trying to be witty. Tone doesn't translate well (as most of us should have learned by now).
Having a good website demonstrates you are progressive, understand technology, and will go the extra step to impress. Having a crap website shows you're going to be a nightmare to work with. Don't have a crap website.
Keep your site simple, clean, and coherent. Use neutral colors. Not your favorite colors, neutral colors.
Your website should reflect who you are. It’s your chance to show your future employer how awesome you are even before being called in for an interview.
Make sure the information on your site is relevant to the job you are looking for. Add links to your other online properties, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.
Add a testimonials page for any contract work you may have done. Show examples of your work where
Keep your Facebook page clean. Stay off video sharing sites. I personally know of a situation where someone was not hired for an incredible job because his employer found videos of his sordid standup comedy routines on YouTube.
If you want to display your creative interests and talents, knock yourself out on Pinterest or Instagram. Your perspective employer will no doubt click on over to check out what you do on your spare time.
Remember, what you put up there or out there speaks volumes about you. No longer does someone have to work with or for you for three months to figure out how awesome you might really be. They can find out in five minutes and three clicks. Less if you're a douchebag.
Robert van Vlijmen is the owner of Frog On Top Web Design, a custom web design firm out of Los Angeles that specializes in custom Wordpress design and development as well as branding and logo design. Robert has been involved in the web design world since 2000, back when CVs were on paper and job hunting involved knocking on doors and reading want ads in the paper.
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