By Mike Simpson
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This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on getting more job interviews and more job offers:
- Part 1 – [You Are Here] – How To Get More Job Interviews and Job Offers With This Powerful New Strategy
- Part 2 – How To Create Your Own Personal Website In Under 15 Minutes
- Part 3 – How To Make Your Personal Branding Website “Job Search Ready”
I think we can agree on one thing...
If you’ve found this article it’s because you want to do better… you want more for yourself.
Am I right?
You want to finally break through and get a job that will pay you well and that you don’t absolutely hate getting out of bed for every morning. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know what it is like.
But it’s just so tough, isn't it?
Doesn’t it feel like there are thousands of people going after the same jobs?
Well, have you seen the job numbers lately? The reason it feels like that is because there are thousands of people going after the same jobs. It’s never been more competitive than it is now.
I hate to say it, but it’s a numbers game...
And you have to give yourself the most amount of chances to be successful.
Everybody says that “it’s quality over quantity,” but that’s easy for them to say. They’re not the ones sitting at home with a mountain of student debt, or sitting in their cubicle making peanuts and absolutely hating life.
Okay so what does that mean for you?
It means you need to get more job interviews.
It means you need to be better at interviewing.
It means you have to do something that your competitors aren’t doing to give you an advantage.
Ok so if I told you that I can get you more job interviews than you’ve ever had before, would you be interested?
And if I told you that from all those new job interviews you got that you would have a better chance of getting a job offer, would you be excited?
Of course you would.
And what if I told you that you could have all of this and it would only take fifteen minutes to accomplish?
Would you be standing up on your chair, screaming to the rooftops, “Yes Mike! Yes! Show me what I need to do to get a darn job!”
I bet you would.
The good news is, this article is going to show you how you can do all of those things.
But before we get to that, you need to understand what is making things so difficult for you.
Here's a hint...
It's not your fault.
The Job-Getting Conundrum
I hate to say it, but gone are the days when you can whip up a cover letter and resume and simply fire off a bunch of them, and then a couple days later having your phone ring off the hook as hiring managers beg to get you to come in for an interview.
In a world where nearly everyone has bachelor degrees and online job boards make for thousands of applications for every position, the modern job seeker has to do SO MUCH more to get noticed.
I'm sure you've done this:
Monster.com - Check
CareerBuilder.com - Check
Indeed.com - Check
LinkedIn.com - Check
Find job, submit application. Find job, submit application.
Sound familiar? Guess what? So is it to everybody else.
The system is broken! How can you be expected to stand out?
And how can a hiring manager be expected to find the diamonds in the rough (like YOU for example) when every single application they look at - every cover letter, resume and LinkedIn page - look EXACTLY the same?
You need to find a way to make it impossible for the hiring manager to NOT bring you in for an interview.
Well, luckily for you, my partner Jeff and I have figured out how to do just that.
And the best part is? It will only take you 15 minutes.
How To Get More Job Interviews Than You've Ever Had Before
There is one simple solution to this job-getting conundrum that we all face… one thing you can simply add to what you are already doing that will get you more job interviews than you have ever had before.
You need to have a personal website.
"Whoa whoa whoa Mike, hold your horses. A website?", you might be thinking to yourself.
Yes. I'm talking about a website.
As in YourName.com.
Before you roll your eyes at me or close this screen, hear me loud and clear.
Having your own personal website will get you more job interviews.
Having your own personal website will get you more job offers from those interviews.
It is a phenomenally powerful tool that will enhance your career prospects more than nearly any other part of your job interview portfolio.
And thanks to the wonderful advancement of the internet, it (thankfully!!) is easier than it has ever been before.
Now I’m guessing that you never thought of how having your own website could help you get a job?
Well, you’re not alone. Because by speaking with hiring managers across the country, we’ve discovered that to this point, only the most savvy job seekers have been using this to their advantage.
But if you think about it, doesn’t it start to make sense?
Take a look at this quote from top Recruitment Firm CEO Ken Sundheim:
“Even with a fractional budget, you can effectively advertise yourself to potential employers and build a personalized brand that creates an image of hard work, success, knowledge, expertise and potential.” - Ken Sundheim, CEO of KAS Placement Recruiters
Having your own website allows you to do so much more for your personal brand than any other tool at your disposal.
By now, you’ve read how important that personal branding is in relation to your job search. Then you also know that your resume and cover letter are NOT the most important branding tool when it comes to getting more interviews and job offers.
Everyone has a resume and cover letter, and for the most part, they are all exactly the same. BORING.
How can you stand out among a stack of virtually identical sheets of paper?
The top job seekers have all realized that the hub for their personal brand in the modern job market is their personal website.
“More and more often, job seekers who simply rely on a resume and/or cover letter (even a LinkedIn profile isn’t as helpful as it once was) are frequently outflanked by those who carry a robust online presence.” - Ken Sundheim
You simply can't expect in the modern job seeking landscape to stand out if you only have these three elements in your job application portfolio.
And here's something else to consider:
Workfolio also states that “56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool.”
More than half (!) of hiring managers choose personal websites number one in terms of what impresses them the most.
So I have to ask the question.
Knowing this, how can you not have a personal website?
According to Charles Pooley, the CEO of Workfolio:
“The employment market is an incredibly scary place to be right now as a job seeker - but a personal website offers several important things to improve your odds.” - Charles Pooley, CEO of Workfolio
I mean, you want to have every advantage you can get right?
Now I know, the thought of building a website can be both daunting and intimidating.
Many people cringe when I bring up the idea because they think that building a website takes hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars and years of computer experience.
But I'm here to tell you that this simply just isn't the case anymore.
As I mentioned, using today's wonderful online tools (they give you professional "templates" that you can literally just plug your info into...more on these here) you can make a website quickly and easily, and you don't need to be an IT whiz to be able to do it.
More on this in a minute...
Okay, so what benefits will having your own website specifically bring you, and more importantly, how will it get you more interviews?
How Having A Personal Website Gets You More Job Interviews
1) Impress Hiring Managers
I spoke to a lot of different hiring managers about personal websites, and this was something they all agreed on. Psychologically, hiring managers are more impressed with applicants that have personal websites because it shows a commitment to your career.
You’re not just firing off a bunch of cover letters and resumes, you’re taking the time to devote yourself to your job search by going the extra mile.
You’re serious. Committed. Hard working.
All great qualities for a potential hire to have.
2) Be Different
Imagine you are a hiring manager reading a stack of 10, 20, 50 or even 100 cover letters that basically all look and read the same.
What about LinkedIn profiles?
Just think about the hiring manager looking at 30 different profiles that all look and read exactly the same.
But then you stumble upon one that contains a link to a personal website - a site which contains x, y and z in a much more visually immersive format that highlights your personality.
Who do you think you’re going to bring in for an interview?
However, despite how important it is for a job seeker to have a personal website, many still don’t.
Having a personal website will ensure that you stand out among these individuals and also demonstrate that you have additional skills including being a content creator and entrepreneur.
This directly translates to more interviews (yay!), because when the hiring manager is going through the applications, you instantly stand out as a more interesting applicant than the ones who just submit their cover letter and resume.
3) Own the Google Search & Increase Your Visibility
Each of the hiring managers I talked to said one of the first things they do when they are interested in an applicant is Google the person to see what shows up.
There are a lot of possibilities here, but often what shows up when they Google the person's name is a messy listing of the applicant’s various social media accounts show up. (That is, if the applicant is a social media person.)
More often than not, nothing happens! The hiring manager can’t find you, which in a lot of cases is worse!
Having your own personal website allows you to own the space that exists when your name is searched. It gives you a presence. It increases your visibility. It makes you easy to find!
This has a direct affect on the first impression you give the hiring manager. And a better first impression means that you’re more likely to receive an interview!
Not only that, by having a web presence that is "discoverable" by search, you will get approached with opportunities that you didn't even apply for.
4) Create a Hub For Your Online Brand That You Control
Having your own personal website not only allows you to be found, but it also allows you to create a “hub” for your personal brand online. One that you control.
Instead of having a mess of various social media accounts that you ultimately have no control over (don’t forget Facebook and Twitter own your profile and all your information and can change anything at any time), you own your own website and therefor can do whatever you want with it.
The way it looks. The information you share. Links to relevant social accounts. Everything is under your control and you can tell whatever story you want.
And by telling a great story in an organized and professional manner, you’re basically making it impossible for the hiring manager to not bring you in for an interview.
5) Express Yourself
How much of the “real you” do you think comes across by reading your cover letter and resume?
I’m not talking about your skills and qualifications. I mean YOU.
Not much right?
By having your own personal website, you have the opportunity to show off much more of your personality. You get to say "This is who I am. This is what I'm all about. This is what I'm into."
And hiring managers absolutely love that! They get to know a little bit about you before you even set foot into the interview room.
It's like a face-to-face job interview before you even have a job interview.
Okay, so by now you're probably beginning to see how having your own website can make such a huge difference for you.
But that’s not where it ends.
There are many, many more reasons why having a personal website is going to help you get the job of your dreams. Let's take a look at some more powerful benefits you get from having your own personal website.
Other Benefits Your Personal Website Will Bring You
Other benefits of having a personal website include:
1) Extend Your Interviews
This is a big one.
Have you ever walked out of an interview thinking that you left something on the table? That you didn’t get to really show your stuff?
Well, having a personal website makes sure you leave no stone unturned, because it allows for the Hiring Manager to continue learning about you even after the interview is over.
Add a link to your personal website in your follow up emails and letters and you get to stay in the hiring manager's mind.
2) Build Your Network
Not only does having a website allow you to connect with like-minded individuals in your industry that you wouldn’t normally have access to, but it can also lead to job opportunities not otherwise available (both in your industry and even in a completely different line of work).
Websites are discussion points. When meeting someone, leaving them with your website instead of just your name can encourage them to come back which can lead to a whole slough of opportunities in the future.
As mentioned before, if your site can be found on Google than you open yourself up to be found...
3) Blog To Win (Stay Sharp, Demonstrate Your Expertise & Engage)
Adding a blog to your website can be a SERIOUS game changer.
Think about what happens when a Hiring Manager reads your resume and cover letter. The same thing as everyone else’s. Read… read again… next.
The content is not interesting enough to hold their attention. But with a blog, you can keep them engaged longer with interesting stories and other thoughtful content.
Not only that, If you are going to blog about the industry you work in, it will help to keep abreast of everything that is happening.
Nothing will force you to stay on top of your industry’s current events and trends like having a blog.
And this might be the most obvious benefit. Having a blog on your website allows you to show your expertise.
It’s kind of like answering half the interview questions before you even enter the interview.
Because with your blog, you can clearly show that you are an expert in your field that really knows her/his stuff.
Look, having a blog isn't mandatory, it's just really cool and really powerful. It's something you can add to your site down the line that could benefit you in extraordinary ways.
4) Reduce Nerves and Make the Interview Easier
Creating a website has a way of building confidence. This is mainly because you accumulate skills and knowledge while building the website. However, it can also help in the interview room, because it allows you to share so much without having to say anything.
Not only that, it gives you a talking point! Guess what the first thing the Hiring Manager is going to comment on or ask you about at the start of your interview? Your website!
It’s a great ice breaker.
You essentially "pre-season" the interview.
Who is the hiring manager going to warm up to? The person whose boring resume and cover letter he's read, or the person whose website he's spent time going through, getting to know all of the interesting details about them?
5) Keep Yourself Busy While You Wait
There is nothing worse than waiting by the phone for the phone call that sometimes never comes. I know it always stressed me out.
Having a website allows you to keep your mind busy in between interviews and reduces the amount of stress you feel during this anxious time. Not only that, why not do an activity that will increase your chances of getting a job while you wait for the next opportunity.
6) Make Some Money On the Side
Many people are able to turn their websites into money-makers, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that! Having your own web presence unlocks opportunities for advertising, marketing and selling, as well as developing business relationships.
How Do I "Use" My Personal Website In My Job Search?
Okay so by now, it should be pretty clear that having your own personal branding website can be an absolute game changer when it comes to the amount of interviews you get AND your overall success rate with those interviews.
But you might be asking yourself, "How exactly do I add my website to my interview portfolio?"
It's actually ridiculously easy. There are three main parts of your "job search portfolio" that perfectly allow for an inclusion of a link to your website, and those are: your cover letter, your resume, and your thank-you note (you send after the interview).
How To Add Your Personal Website To Your Cover Letter
Since your cover letter is the first opportunity you have to introduce yourself to a company, it is painfully obvious that you would want to put your best foot forward and absolutely knock the hiring manager's socks off.
(For more in depth info, check out our How To Write A Cover Letter 101 article.)
Which begs the question: What would you be more impressed by?
A traditional cover letter that is one sheet of paper and summarizes your skills, abilities, and desire to work for the company? (oh and by the way... there is a stack of 70 other ones that are exactly the same sitting on the desk...)
Or a cover letter that does all of those things, but then encourages the reader to click a link that takes them to a slick, impressive website that demonstrates the passion, commitment and uniqueness of the applicant in a visually appealing and content-rich format?
I think the answer is obvious.
But here's the deal. IT'S NOT HARD TO DO.
In a cover letter, one simple sentence such as:
"If you have a free moment, I'd encourage you to learn more about me by checking out my website MikeSimpson.com. It will give you a great idea of the work I have accomplished, the experiences I've had and most importantly, the type of person you'll be getting if you decide to hire me for this position."
Simple as that.
I mean, who wouldn't click that link?
How To Add Your Personal Website To Your Resume
Adding a link to your resume is even easier than adding a link to your cover letter, mainly because the resume's content and format require a little more subtlety, especially since you have already been very up front about your website in your cover letter.
That doesn't mean you don't want to include it though, because it is never guaranteed that the person who reads your cover letter will be the same person (or people) that read your resume.
You just want to be strategic about where to include the links to make sure they are seen, but they don't take away from what is most important in the resume: your experience and qualifications.
The first place you want to place a link is with the rest of your contact information, generally located in the header and/or footer of the resume.
Generally speaking, it should come just below your email address (and it helps if your email address and website address match... more on that in Part 3 of this blog series).
The next place you want to put a link is in your Special Skills/Abilities/Accomplishments section.
Because you need to think of your website as a skill that you are showing off or as an accomplishment that you have achieved. "Hey, look at me! I know how to build websites. Come have a look!"
So how would that look?
Skills, Abilities & Accomplishments
Creator/Owner/Operator - www.MikeSimpson.com - Personal Website
It doesn't need to be anymore complicated that that.
How To Add Your Personal Website To Your Thank You Note
This is one of the more effective places you can put your link, because as we said above, it essentially allows you to "extend the interview".
In other words, it acts as a small reminder to the hiring manager that if there are any remaining curiosities or unanswered questions left over after the interview, simply clicking the link will allow them to get everything they need from your website.
So where does this link go? It is very similar to the cover letter.
After you have thanked the interviewer for their time and briefly summarized your qualifications (and a subtle reminder of the value you will be adding to the organization), you can close with something like this:
"If you would like to learn a little more about me, my experience or accomplishments, I would love for you to take a quick a look at my personal website MikeSimpson.com."
Similarly, if you have a blog on your site, you can refer them to the blog to learn more about your knowledge of important topics or opinions on various issues.
Okay, so there you have it! The three key places where you can put your website link that will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and open up the hiring manager's eyes to what you bring to the table as a potential hire.
"But I Can't Make a Website, Because..."
Look, I get it.
The very mention of a website causes many people to slam their laptop screens down and yell out in frustration, "I can't make a website!!!!"
"I can't build a website. I don't have time."
"I can't build a website. I can't afford it."
"I can't build a website. I'm not good with computers."
If you thought one of those things, you are definitely not alone.
But you are dead wrong. You are!
As I mentioned in the article above, modern website builders allow you to build a website in only 15 minutes. Don't believe me? Check out blog post #2 in this blog series!
Not only that, unlike the old days where having a site up could cost you thousands of dollars, today you can have a professional site up and running for less than the cost of a movie ticket.
And the best part?
If you can navigate between pages on a website or check your email, then you have enough computer ability to be able to get your own site up and running today.
But just in case you didn't believe any of that, Jeff and I have put together another blog article that will show you exactly how to build your own site in less than 15 minutes, so you can have it up and running today.
There Is A Window of Opportunity Here
Okay so earlier in this article I mentioned that only the savvy job seekers where using this new trick to get more job interviews and more job offers than anyone else.
But here’s the thing about a “new trick”.
Once a few people catch wind of it, word starts to spread like wildfire.
This situation is no different.
Before too long, I'm predicting that having a personal website is going to be more or less required as a cover letter and resume.
But today, we’re not there yet. Which is good news for you. Yes, there are people who are using this trick to help them get interviews, but it’s not widespread just yet.
Which means that you are sitting on a MASSIVE opportunity to get out ahead of everyone else and use the full benefit of this opportunity before everyone else is doing it.
So Now What?
After doing this comprehensive study on personal websites and their affect on the amount of job interviews job seekers receive as well as the secondary benefits obtained through having a website, moving forward I am recommending that all of my students have their own personal websites.
In doing this, though, I realized that it is important to me that it is as easy for my students to start their own site as possible, so I sat down with my partner Jeff to create a step-by-step guide to creating a personal website (he's the computer guy after all).
In Part 2 of this series, I’ll dive into exactly how exactly how you can supercharge your job applications to get more interviews.