In the digital age, there is no shortage of networking tools. Beyond a resumé, students have a host of resources available to make them more competitive job applicants. There’s LinkedIn, of course, which is the standard for connecting professionally. Then there are other networks, like Twitter or Facebook, which can also be used to forge professional relationships. But at some point, you may find yourself needing more. Perhaps you want a hub to centralize everything, or you want to provide information that doesn’t quite belong on a specific service. If you’re feeling a bit dissatisfied by the standard social media options, it may be time to make your own website.
But making a website is easier said than done. What’s the first step to take? As a whole, there are two viable options: make your own site, or build your page using another service. For computer science majors or anyone with an interest in web development, creating your own site is a great option. Not only does it provide you with a totally customizable virtual home, but it also shows off your programming skills to potential employers who may visit your site. You can add a blog if you like, or keep it to the bare minimum, with some links to your other homes on the web; whatever you do is entirely up to you. If you know how to write HTML, this option is entirely customizable—the internet is your oyster.
For the masses, there’s the decidedly less complex option of building your site using a service. These will help you out with every step, from registering your website’s name to uploading content. But among the sea of webpage creators, which one is best for you? Here are a few options, with each suited to meet a different need:
If you’re an aspiring artist or designer looking to showcase your work in a beautiful way, Squarespace may be the best option for you. The service allows for users to easily set up portfolios that look great on a phone or a computer. Squarespace is beautifully designed, but still makes your work the center of attention.
Branded.me is a service focused specifically on marketing yourself as a professional. It integrates with LinkedIn to create a customizable website that requires no knowledge of code. Your skills and qualifications can be at the forefront, or you can place an emphasis on social media links—it’s up to you!
About.me is comparable to Branded.me, but doesn’t place quite as much emphasis on job-seeking. About.me functions mostly as a home base, where you can provide links to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., along with a short bio and photo of yourself. If you’re already a dedicated user of specific sites, About.me is a great place to aggregate yourself.
You’ve likely heard of these two established blogging sites. Although they were created as blogging networks, their formats are quite flexible. Some themes, like Vanity by Pixel Union, are designed to be pages for people to promote themselves. With a bit of craftiness and some research, it’s easy to transform a WordPress or Tumblr account from a fun blog to a professional networking tool.
What about your website address? If you’re looking to purchase “your-name.com,” you’re going to have to pay (though it may not be much). This can be done with one of many different domain registration services like GoDaddy or Gandi. If you’re not looking to customize your domain, all of the above services will feature subdomains (i.e., your website will be something like your-name.tumblr.com). This is certainly not the end of the world, and for someone just starting a career search, it will be more than adequate.
There are many reasons to create your very own personal site. For one, it’s yours. No more fiddling with LinkedIn’s rigidly predefined sections, and no more 140 character limits. Your site is yours, free to house an oft-updated blog or remain static. A website is also a great way to show initiative, whether you’re a computer science major or not. Plus, you’ll feel empowered putting your website name on your resumé. Overall, creating your own home on the internet is a unique, interesting way to put all of your virtual stuff in one place.