A Website as a Business Card
It has been known for years that companies and HR managers research the names of their applicants on the Internet. In this search, they come across social media profiles, newspaper articles, and sites about other people with the same names.
Along with the resume and other application materials, this internet research plays a big role in the ultimate decision.
With a website, you can influence the search results a little bit. You're not dependent on the social media platforms and can customize the website according to your own taste and requirements.
The website can complement the resume, for example by including media and links.
I personally prefer minimalistic websites, but that's a matter of taste.
A website greatly enhances professionalism and demonstrates strong media skills. It can create relationships and connections that you would miss otherwise.
Programming your own website teaches you a skill that is becoming increasingly important in today's professional world. You can read more about how to code your own website in my article “Programming Without Previous Knowledge.”
A Website for Finding Your Voice
You can also publish articles on your website. Compared to a static website, this is an extra effort, but it pays off.
By writing regularly, you improve your writing style and learn to develop and express your own ideas. In addition, the experience of publishing content on the Internet is also important in professional life.
Last but not least, you create an audience, even if it is very small at the beginning. In a few years, this effort pays off when the audience grows or when the overall work of the blog impresses your dream company.
You learn to deal with difficulties, criticism and challenges. For example, I had the problem that Google found my website but did not include it in its search index. I learned how to create sitemaps, dealt with the Google Search Console, and was eventually able to solve the problem.
The effort required to write, edit, publish and maintain blog articles may not pay off immediately. But aside from the benefits you'll reap later on, there's another way to leverage your website.
When the audience has grown to the point where you can make money from it, it may be worthwhile to earn money through small advertisements or collaborations with companies.
I personally can't say much about this step, but there are numerous bloggers who make a living doing this. Ali Abdaal speaks more about this point in his video “How Writing Online Made Me a Millionaire.”
A Website as a Unique Selling Point
When applying, a website is a unique selling point, at least for now. This may change in the future, but you should still take advantage of it.
With a website, you are future-proof and (more) independent from platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. By having a personal website, you can minimize the difficulties if a platform like LinkedIn was to be discontinued.
Of course, this requires that you maintain your website and pay your domain and web space contracts so that they don't expire.
If you own a domain consisting of your first and last name and ending in .com or .co.uk, you are well prepared for the future. This domain cannot be used by anyone else.
Although most people search with Google instead of entering a website address directly, an established domain is still a trust advantage. Besides, joemiller.com looks much more professional than a domain with a combination of numbers! When it comes to domain extensions, you should go for .co.uk, .com or another established extension.
There is a trend to complete your own name with a domain extension, for example sive.rs for the last name of Derek Sivers. You should research about this possibility, because it also has disadvantages.
A Website as a Technical Advantage
In the age of social media, everyone has online profiles even in the professional field. However, these services have a disadvantage: they are not controlled by you, but by technology companies. Should you delete an account or should a platform go bankrupt, any links to your profile become invalid. This leads to error messages and frustration because the information is no longer available.
You can prevent these problems by having your own website.
First, links from your own domain look more professional than the default and cryptic links from the platforms.
Secondly, link changes can be incorporated and already published links will not become invalid. As long as you do not change your website address, the links will also remain active. If the link of a profile of you changes, you only need to change it in the code of your website – the end user will not even notice this change!
Thirdly, even if the profile is deleted, no error messages will appear. Since the end user is redirected to the respective profile via your website as an interface, you can configure how the link should behave. For example, if a platform shuts down and your profile is unavailable, you don't have to rely on the platform's error page, but can set up an individual page and link to your other profiles, for example.
For this type of linking, you can create a separate folder on the website or just use individual files. Sometimes a separate subdomain is used for this purpose. You should exclude these redirects from search engine crawling.
In summary, having a website does involve some extra work, but it pays off in the long run. Of course, you have to maintain your website so that it appears trustworthy and professional.
Your own website is like a business card that complements your online presence, and that makes your application stand out. Your own web space is also future-proof and can provide for many connections and acquaintances.
If you haven't secured your domain yet, you should consider doing so!