The argument is that having a unique website dedicated to a job-seeker’s career accomplishments and work examples helps build a tightly focused, controlled brand.
Brandon Smith, GPB’s regular commentator on work and career issues, said the personal website has a place—just not for everyone.
“A marketing job, an advertising job, a social media job—great for having a personal website,” said Smith, an independent workplace adviser and career consultant who also teaches business students at Emory and Georgia State universities. “[Any] job where you can show what you did versus tell about what you did, because essentially, it’s an online portfolio.”
And don’t think resumes are going extinct, even in those careers, Smith said.
“So, in order of priority, you have to have a clear resume. It’s got to be good. You’re going to be judged and evaluated on that,” he said. “Second priority, now coming quickly behind it, closing the gap, is LinkedIn. Third would be optional, and that’s our website.”
Smith said websites might also be especially useful for job-seekers in their 50s, including those who have transitioned to consulting work or other freelance projects because they have had a hard time finding full-time employment.
“You might want to do a personal website just to show a little bit more about what you’ve done, to go deeper into what your expertise is,” Smith said.
“It shows you’re a little more relevant, a little more hip, a little more current, which can be helpful. One of the unfair discriminations against our friends with a ‘5’ in front of their age is that they’re not as relevant, they’re not as current.”
Still, Smith said workers thinking about creating their own website have to consider the investment of effort and its potential dividends ahead of time.
“We have to ask ourselves…do we really need this [in addition to a resume and LinkedIn profile]?” Smith said. “What value is that extra effort…really going to give me?”
Smith also cautioned that creating a personal website might do more harm than good for some professionals. He pointed to the banking, medicine and legal arenas.
“If you’re in an industry or a profession that’s very conservative, this is just not for you,” Smith said. “LinkedIn is great and a resume is a necessity [in those fields].”
Workers considering creating their own website also have to consider one other thing, Smith said: don’t make it too good.
“If it looks too good, it runs the risk of looking like you have your own business and you’re very entrepreneurial. Then I don’t want to hire you because you may one day leave and go back to your own business,” he said. “So you don’t want to look too good.”