Having trouble finding the kind of work that makes you happy? Looking for a much better job or contract work? Consider stepping way outside the box and creating a website resume to showcase your experience, talents, education and accomplishments.
An online resume allows you to share far more detailed information than a traditional resume would. In an online resume you should include photos, logo, links, video and graphics, none of which can be placed in a traditional resume or cover letter.
Will An Online Resume Stand Out?
I've hired quite a few positions over the last few years, and reviewed several thousand resumes but I have never seen anyone put together an online resume. I'm sure they exist, but they are exceedingly rare. I have seen a few consultants put together a basic site for their consulting business, which is kind of the same idea. Since this is such an unusual idea, this article is actually designed to flesh out the idea fully and get you going on creating something really unique.
How to Create an Online Resume
Hosting: You will want to host your site on a shared hosting service like Bluehost. You will be using this site for years to come for all kinds of reasons, so set it up right where no free blogging service can mess with your site and where you can fully customize your website to match your needs. You will also want to keep the site ad free, which is not possible on some of the free hosts.
Domain: Bluehost gives you a free domain name with new hosting accounts. Start by looking for a domain name that makes sense. Something like myname.com or myfullname.com is ideal for a professional look. If that is taken, try my-name.com or .info or .me or other variations. You might also get a domain that matches your skills like YourNextNurse.com The goal is to register a domain name that reflects you, is easy to remember and looks professional. If you already have an online identity built up consider something to match. Avoid names that reference your pet or hobbies - this is a business site you will create. Get the domain for as long as you like, and set it to auto-renew. Once you build your online resume you are going to find all kinds of uses for it, so protect your identity.
WordPress: The simplest way to build a site is to setup on WordPress. It's free, it wildly popular, there are tons of free tutorials out there on YouTube and blogs. Once you are logged into Bluehost control panel, look down for the WordPress icon and install WordPress. You'll need to associate the new domain to your WordPress installation. The technical aspects of this are outside the scope of this article so if you need help go check out one of the many tutorials on building a WordPress blog.
Pick a Theme: Themes are what gives a website the distinctive look and feel. There are hundreds of thousands of free and paid themes available.
Create Appropriate Menus: For your online resume you may want to create menus like:
- Work Experience
- Hobbies and Interests
- Awards and Recommendations or References
- Contact Page
Welcome Page: Don't call it the welcome page, but do build a welcome page. Include a couple paragraphs about yourself and maybe links to other pages in those paragraphs. Include a professional looking photo of yourself smiling. Even better, include a video introduction briefly welcoming the visitor to your site and encouraging them to look around and contact you with any questions.
Header: Put in an appropriate eye-catching header, maybe with a collection of photos of projects you worked on or places you have lived. Include your name and a tag line about what you do best.
Build Out Your Pages: Using details from your resume, fill in each page with details of what you accomplished in each position. Not just what you were responsible for, but what you accomplished. "Responsible for selling widgets" is weak. "Increased sales of widgets 10% in a year" is much better.
Add Media: Add in logos, photos, icons for awards received. Anything you can think of to dress up the page and make it interesting. For example, include the logo of your university and a photo of one of the buildings you studied in.
Add Links: Link out to the companies you worked for. Link to your LinkIn profile. Link to a page about your degree. Link to online articles you have published (you do write articles that position you as an expert right?) Infobarrel is a good place to post articles in your area of expertise and make money for doing it.
Add a Contact Form: There are a bunch of good free WordPress plugins that supply a contact form. Above the form put a couple paragraphs thanking the reader for visiting and encouraging them to contact you with any questions or proposals. Add your phone number and note that the contact form goes to email.
Add a photo of people connecting (shaking hands or something). Remember you are trying to engage with the reader.
Private or Public: Perhaps you prefer to keep your website resume semi-private. Don't set up barriers that make it hard for people you invite to see your online resume. Instead, within WordPress go to Settings: Privacy and select the option you prefer from these two options
Blog: You may want to just ignore the blog portion of WordPress by deleting the Welcome World post and not creating any new posts. This leaves you with a static site, perhaps more suited to an online resume. If your consulting business takes off you can always activate the blog and post interesting updates on new projects.
Help with Setup: WordPress is very user friendly and there are many guides out there on how to use it, but if you lack the technical skills to do necessary setup or need help with specific aspects like designing a nice header, go get help on oDesk. There you can find just the freelancer you need (and maybe look for some freelance gigs for yourself).
Advertising Your Online Resume: Whenever you apply for a job, include a link to your online resume site. Add the address at the top of your paper resume too. Add a link to your email footer. Tell people you meet to check out your online resume and hand them a card with your contact info and the web address of your resume. In no time you should be getting a whole different level of attention in your skills.