Are you searching for a new job, looking to climb the career ladder, or on the lookout for freelance work? The way you present your experience can make or break your shot at getting the position. Creating a professional website is the best way to show prospective employers what you’re made of, particularly for those working in technical, creative, marketing, or communications industries.
There are several key things to keep in mind about website design, content creation, and technical requirements. Here are five things to know when building a website.
1. Keep it 100% professional
Design, content, and images should all exude professionalism. If your website doesn’t look sharp, employers are less likely to take you seriously as a candidate. If you include a photo of yourself, make sure you look professional — no sunglasses, tank tops, or baseball caps.
Creative fields may have more ability to play with color and design, but generally, you want to use professional colors. Bright colors could distract from the work you are trying to highlight. Also, ensure the types of content on your site relate to your work. Including your personal blog or non-work related interests may be a turn off to potential employers.
2. Grammar and spelling are important
Nothing will turn a viewer away as quickly as poor grammar and spelling. Whether you’re a computer programmer or a writer, you should still present your work experience without errors. Check out our writing and editing suite to learn everything you need to know.
3. Include enough information
Nothing is worse than landing on a website without enough content to make it worthwhile. So, what do you include on your professional website? Contact information is most important, followed closely by a downloadable version of your resume, and a professional portfolio. Another “nice to have” is results you’ve achieved or data points that further illustrate your successes. Create a website content checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
4. Stand out
You’ve established what your skillset is and what career you’re pursuing. Now, aside from your new website, what sets you apart from other candidates? Having a focus and driving that point home is important. What areas or skills are you most known for, and how can you further exhibit your expertise to online visitors?
5. Be mobile-friendly
You may not have the budget to create a fully mobile-optimized site. But keep in mind that many recruiters and employers are super busy and looking at candidates while they’re on the go. Here are a few mobile-friendly wins that you can do yourself:
- Use short block paragraphs, because they’re easier to read and navigate
- Make sure any buttons or drop-down tabs are easy to read and access on the small screen
- Compress your media (i.e. images, videos) so they load faster
- Don’t use Flash, because it’s not supported by Android or iOS, two of the leading mobile platforms.
6. Don’t go live until you’re ready
It may seem urgent to get your website up and ready as soon as possible, but don’t rush the process. Having a professional-looking website is important, as is having a complete website. Making your page accessible before it’s complete may lead employers to think you’re not thorough or are unlikely to finish what you start.
Get familiar with the technical requirements for building a website, through a course like Designing Effective Websites. And of course, you’ll need to purchase a domain name. Search for a URL with your legal name first; if that domain is already taken, consider adding in a keyword related to your industry, such as www.johndoejavadeveloper.com.
Now that you know how to make a website attractive and professional, it’s time to get started. We offer numerous courses on web design for beginners, as well as other ways to promote yourself and your business, such as blogging and podcasting and writing effective web content. With a little know-how and time investment, you’ll soon land your dream job.
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