You’re young full of optimism, have a zest for life, and you’ve just conquered university after 3 years of blood, sweat and tears. You’re ready to dominate your job hunt and crush every interview. But wait, before you start sending out that newly minted CV, you might want to consider your online presence.
Did you know that 80% of employers complete a Google search on prospective candidates before an interview? Yikes! If that was your initial reaction then we’re sure that a simple Google search may not serve up your best life moments thus far. Worried about those sordid pictures across Social Media of your crazy gap year?
Go ahead, take a moment, and Google yourself and see what pops up on the first 3-4 pages of search results.
Did you like the result? How would you fair if someone from Human Resources did the same?
Truth is, your prospective Employers are busy and so the probe won’t go that deep but they will run a quick search to see what type of presence you have online. When they type your name into the search bar you want the results to yield content that aligns with your CV and personal brand.
For that reason, launching your own website as a recent University graduate is the logical next step. Owning your own website using your first and last name as the domain creates a home-base or hub for everything ‘you’—it becomes your online CV, portfolio, and even a blog to showcase your voice.
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Reasons every university student needs their own website
Perhaps you’re only partially convinced that you need a website because you’ve already created a LinkedIn profile, but the reality is that using Social Media platforms is simply not going to cut it.
When you launch your website, you control it completely. Every aspect of the website is yours and it will stand the test of time.
Need more convincing? Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of owning your own site.
1. You OWN your BRAND
You are a unique individual. No one else on this planet has your fingerprints, your unique genetic code and you are autonomous in your identity. Your online presence should be the same. You should own full rights to your brand. What’s more, you should control the scope of your brand awareness.
Launching your personal and professional website and your firstlastname.com means that search engines like Google will rank it higher when anyone types your name in the search bar.
This is how you control the narrative and ensure that prospective employers see exactly what you want them to see first. The brand you have crafted for them to see.
Numbers don’t lie, and statistics show that the first result of a Google search receives 32.5% of click-throughs. The second receive 17.6%, and the third even lower at 11.4% of clicks.
While your social media profiles will rank high (granted you don’t share your name with a lot of others or a celebrity for that matter) you want your website to be the first thing that is seen, up front and centre.
Therefore, it allows you to own your brand completely.
2. You secure a job much faster
Having a sleek, professional website with carefully crafted content will impress the 80% of employers that Google your name. So much so that the offers will come pouring in.
Why? Because taking the time to create a great website to showcase your professional exploits, the expertise and knowledge you’ve just acquired in University, shows them that you’re serious about what you do, you’re innovative, hardworking and you pay attention to details.
In fact, depending on your chosen profession, you can use your website to showcase samples of your work or display the portfolio you began compiling while at University. The options are endless with your website.
Take this opportunity to showcase who you are. Doing this successfully will ensure quick hiring.
3. Showcase yourself: That’s right, brag!
You’ve come a long way, and you’ve worked hard to do, now is the time to showcase all of the accolades and accomplishments you’ve achieved. Your website is the perfect place to do so.
Your professional CV only has so much space and due to certain standards, you have to truncate your shining moments. With your website, you don’t have to do that. You can present everything that helps lend to your professional brand.
The content you can add to showcase yourself include but is definitely not limited to:
- A picture (or multiple pictures) of yourself
- A Curriculum Vitae page
- A professional bio
- A place to share your accomplishments
- Internships and work experience
- Causes you feel passionate about and any charity work
- A full spectrum of your body of work/portfolio
- Links to your other social profiles
- A blog showcasing your knowledge and expertise
- A contact form
There is no limit to what you can showcase on your website. Go wild. Be creative and present yourself in a palatable way. You are building your brand so don’t skimp on anything.
4. You can expand your website in the future
One of the great things about owning your own online presence is that you can continue the expansion of your website. Perhaps initially it is just a professional portfolio with your CV, bio and accomplishments. The next step is added content like a blog, a podcast, or a series of instructional videos. Again, there is no end to the possibilities and no limits in sight. Plan initially for the expansion and release in stages as you continue to grow professionally.
Convinced? We’re absolutely certain you see the merit and endless benefits of owning your brand online. So now how do you go about setting up and launching your website? No worries, we’ve got you covered with a 4 Step guide to launching your professional website.
4 Easy steps to setting up your website
- Purchase your Domain Name
- Purchase and Set-up your Hosting Account
- Build your Website
- Create your Website Content
Your domain name purchase
Your domain name is your address on the internet or the URL that is typed into the browser bar. For example, the domain or URL of this website is www.hosting.co.uk.
You want to purchase your full name that is your first and last name. This is crucial because this is the name your prospective employers will type into search engines.
Securing your name is also the best way to secure your brand and online presence. However, if for some reason you cannot get your first and last name, play with variations of your name mixing in your middle name or using initials. If your preferred name is taken, here are 3 tips to help you select the best name for your website.
Pro-tip: If you can, purchase all variations of your chosen domain name under the main TLDs (top level domain), i.e. .com, .uk, .co.uk, and .net. That way, all of these addresses will lead back to your site and it will prevent anyone else from securing the same domain.
To be proactive you can purchase your ‘firstnamelastname’ domain here and complete the first step of the process.
Setup your hosting account
Now that you’ve secured the address of your website, you need to purchase your hosting space for your website. This is the server environment where your website will be hosted. The best hosting option for you starting out is a shared hosting plan.
Build your website
This may sound quite daunting but building your website is made easier than ever with website building tools.
The website builder makes creating your fully functioning and responsive website easily. Responsive in this sense simply means that your site will automatically adjust to the size of any computer screen or smart mobile device. Plus website building tools are super easy to use with drag and drop features that let you tweak and modify different elements in a theme as you go.
You can choose your colours and all the elements you want to illustrate your personal brand. Be creative. Before you start be sure to have a look at our pro tips for creating a user-friendly website.
Create your website content
You’ve got an address via the domain you purchased, you’ve built your house on the space allotted with the website builder and now it is time to furnish that house with dazzling content about you.
Starting with the basics should do it enough to launch your website and share it with others. You can worry about expanding further into content later on which we mentioned earlier.
Here’s what you need:
- Homepage/Welcome Page: You should definitely include some professional photos of yourself here. When writing the content consider this your elevator pitch. You want to grab the attention of employers. Present yourself straight out the gate as an asset along with key facts.
- A CV page: You can adapt your existing CV to a full webpage with expanded information to sell your expertise and skills.
- Portfolio: If you have an existing body of work from coursework done during your studies or internships display them on a page outlining details about them.
- Specific Content or blog: You don’t have to do this right away but if you have ideas for one then launch it. Ensure you have at least 5 pieces of content in your respective industry.
- Include links to relevant Social Media Profiles that are specifically optimised for professional purposes.
- Contact Information: You can use a form of course but best practice would also be to highlight your email and any other relevant contact details. You don’t want to miss any possible opportunities.
There you have it
You’ve done it! Another milestone under your belt toward your professional advancement. Creating your very own website is by far one of the most important decisions you can make when entering the job market. Now you can continue to build on your online presence and your personal brand. The areas of expansion from here are endless and more importantly, you are that much closer to landing your perfect job.