NEW YORK (MainStreet) When Kenn Hashimoto moved from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay area, he knew that the job market in the creative fields was competitive, so he designed 15 online resumes that demonstrated his creativity. Within 2 months, he had secured a new job.
Personal career websites have "become more prevalent as a whole 'digital branding' strategy by competitive job seekers -- due to the fact that most employers do a Google search of their prospective employees," says Heidi Nazarudin, a career/entrepreneur success and style expert who blogs at TheSuccessfulStyle.com. It can "show employers more of the candidate's personality, capabilities, and skills" than a resume.
A personal website can really showcase a job seeker's voice and style, says Laura King, a marketing recruiter at Versique.
"[A personal] website does a much better job in forming your online branding and telling your story than a social media profile," says David Chen, CEO of Strikingly, a mobile optimized personal career website builder where Hashimoto posted his resumes.
"Your resume and LinkedIn profile can showcase what you have done, but they can't show employer your passion and the reason you did what you did," Chen says. He says that weaving information into an engaging storyline, rather than bullet points, can "contextualize your most compelling skills and make it much more interesting."
Nazarudin points out that a resume can state a volunteer job description "but a blog post showing photos over a year long period and an essay [on] how the experience has touched the candidate might just show how genuine the candidate has been about volunteering."
Furthermore, a personal career website can circumnavigate distasteful photos and social media entries, and redirect hiring managers to a personal website with a positive image, which can help "negate some earlier Facebook entries on a friend's page of the candidate drunk in Cancun during spring break in college freshman year," Nazarudin says.
"Many times I will open a resume and think someone is worth calling, but decide not to because of something I find via my online research. Vice versa, I might be on the fence about calling someone, but decide to pick up the phone because of the way they've represented themselves online," King says. As a recruiter for an external search firm, King is brought in for hard-to-fill jobs. "I'm looking for someone that not only has the skills, but the personality that will make us proud to represent this person. What better way to showcase your brand than through your own creativity online," she says.
--Written for MainStreet by S.Z. Berg, author of The Other Side of the Window, a medical mystery about the failure of the medical community