Career

Why Everyone Who Cares About Their Career Should Get a Personal Website

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Joanne Poh

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Getting a personal website is one of the best things you can do for your career. Seriously. It wasn’t the case ten years ago, but now many employers and headhunters search the Internet for potential candidates.

The Singapore job market is robust and turnover rate remains high with more than 70% of workers looking for a new job at any one time, which basically means that employers are constantly having to hire new staff. The upshot is that just raising your online visibility can bring you opportunities from one of many prospective employers.

But the main feature of your website probably shouldn’t be a gallery filled with pictures of you, unless you’re in modelling or showbiz. Here are some tips for yours.

 

Include a blog

Few people realise the power of having a blog online. If you are able to spare the time and effort to maintain one, this is the one thing that can really raise your internet profile. While an online resume may get a few glances, a blog builds you a readership and, if you’re good, a fan base.

Singapore’s most famous example of someone whose blog did wonders for their career is Xiaxue, whose blog has not only become her career but also landed her with a YouTube series and tons of freebies.

More importantly, employers want to know that you’re someone who can fit into their company and whom they’ll actually being able to stand seeing every day. A blog is one way to let them get a taste of your personality.

In addition, a blog lets you show off your expertise in an industry, which will put you way ahead of competitors who are merely looking for a job so they can put food on the table. You may not realise it, but many SME employers here complain about not being able to find good, productive workers, as most Singapore workers are terribly unenthusiastic according to employee surveys. A worker who’s actually interested in his job is really, really rare, and by showing that you are one, you are already putting yourself ahead of the competition.

 

Show off your accomplishments

In the early days of your career, your blog will probably be very influential in getting you noticed online. After you’ve been in the workforce for a few years, however, your resumé will start to expand, and it will become more and more crucial to ensure you showcase some of your accomplishments online.

Many people like to include a copy of their CV on the internet, formatted to look pretty on their websites. In addition, there are other ways you can showcase your accomplishments. For instance, if you’re a designer or writer, including samples on your website is the most straightforward way to show off your work. In addition, you’ll want to display any awards and prizes you’ve won proudly on the website.

 

How to make a website

Even with limited computer skills, almost anyone can get online and create a website using free platforms like Wix or Blogspot. But for a professional website, we recommend getting your own domain and then using WordPress to add content, which makes blogging much less of a pain in the ass.

You can try your hand at customising your own WordPress skin or pay a professional to do it. If you’re unwilling to shell out cash at the moment, you can get a relatively minimalistic skin that enables you to customise the picture at the top of the page.

Other people I know have used Wix, which is even easier to use and very customisable, but may not be good for your Google search rankings.

Before buying a domain and creating your website, do a little bit of reading on SEO and make some basic customisations on your own so that your website gets a little SEO boost. Personal websites usually are not worth the cost of professional SEO help.

Learn how to do things like simple keyword research (for instance, if you’re a chemical engineer, you might want to try to rank for key phrases like “chemical engineer singapore”) and make your site more SEO friendly by installing the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast.

 

How much will it cost?

How much you have to pay for a website really depends on how much effort you put in. Hosting should cost you no more than $10 a month.

If you figure out how to put together a simple website on your own, that’s where your expenses end.

Getting a designer or web developer will cost much more. On the cheapest end of the scale, you can get a friend who’s fluent in Chinese to help you to hire a China-based designer on Taobao to design your WordPress site for around $200, but do not expect them to be at your beck and call. If you don’t like what you’ve ended up with, they will not bend over backwards to make amendments and you’ll have to hire someone else to clean up the mess.

Getting a local freelance designer to whip up a WordPress skin will cost you at least $500, and that’s if you rip off an inexperienced local student. On the other hand, you can expect to pay upwards of $1,500 to get a real pro to do the job.

Do you have a personal website? Share it with us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.