The key to getting your foot in the door of any industry is crafting an application that stands out in a major way. Easier said than done, right?
There is one simple trick to making yourself stand out, and it's probably something you've considered: Make your own personal website.
Seriously: Building a website is no longer a skill reserved exclusively for developers and designers—with zero technical know-how and around $60 you can build a professional website that will impress employers. Either use the platform as an opportunity to show-off your portfolio if you work in a creative field, or upload your work experience and a little bit of background for corporate industries.
Here's how to get started.
1. Reserve your domain name.
Try and reserve a domain name that's as close as possible to your actual name. For example: firstnamelastname.com.au is always a good way to go. To register a .com.au domain address you will require an ABN, but you can nab a .com or .net address without one.
2. Pick a platform.
If you don't know how to code (like 99.99% of the population) visit Wordpress or Squarespace to create a template-based website. Follow the prompts and don't forget to use the live chat and customer service features to ask for help and tips.
3. Connect your website with your personalized domain.
Each platform has separate instructions on how to hook-up your new website with the domain address you purchased earlier, but be sure to connect your new site with your personal URL. Note: You may also need to make some changes via your domain provider account, such as updating the CNAME information, to redirect the URL.
4. Write yourself a bio.
Give any potential employers an idea about you, your goals, and your experience by writing up a bio. Think of this like a short cover letter, telling anyone who visits your site that you're totally awesome and completely employable.
If you're sticking to jobs in an industry that you have experience in, then follow this structure: Outline your past experience, what you're working on now, and where you hope to develop in the future. Spend about one paragraph—two or three sentences—on each section.
If you're shaking-up your career, exploring opportunities in new areas (read: your experience is pretty much irrelevent), or haven't started working in the industry yet, instead use your experience to highlight specific skills that are applicable to your dream job. Not sure what those skills are? Read through a few job ads for roles you'd love to land in the future, and pull out key attributes that are a theme across all of them.
The most important tip however, is to keep your bio short and snappy. If you need more than a few paragraphs to get the gist of your experience and goals across, then there's no point—everyone's already stopped reading!
4. Provide contact details.
Add your email address somewhere clearly visible so that it's easy for anyone to get in touch with you about potential opportunities.
Be sure to link back to any of your past work, company websites, or any other information that could help convince a potential employer that you're the real deal.
6. Pick a killer photo.
Obviously, it's helpful to have a professional photo of yourself to include on your personal website. But if not, simply pick a background snap that's bright, attention-grabbing, but still feels professional.
You should already have a signature at the end of your personal email address, and be sure to add your new URL to the signature too. Include your website in your Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter account bios so that anyone who stumbles upon your social media sites can find some more information.