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Personal Resume Website: What Is It and Do You Need One?

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If you’re wondering what a personal resume website is, you’re actually on one right now.

On the Cobblestone Road started in 2016 as a place for me to share my writing, artwork, and photography. At the time, I was not yet a published author. The rejections (which unfortunately come with the territory) were wearing me down, and I really just wanted a place to share my work with people instead of leaving my art and written works to collect dust on the shelves and never be enjoyed by anyone other than me.

Over time, this website evolved into much more. People can shop my books and merchandise, and my blog has become less of a personal showcase (although I do still share poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction here from time to time) and more of an insightful look at my journey as an independently published, award-winning author and the challenges that writers face today.

Personal resume websites have become fashionable in today’s digital world, but the real question is, are they right for everyone?

My answer: no.

What is a Personal Resume Website, and Who Should Use One?

A personal resume website, also known as a website resume or résumé website (it’s technically correct with or without the accents), is really more like an online portfolio than the kind of resume you would hand in with a job application.

These types of digital resumes are best used for people who have visual work to show, such as artwork, photography, videos, audio recordings, music, written content, modeling, acting, freelance work, graphic design, et cetera, or for people who want to highlight their tech-savvy skills and demonstrate custom website design and/or coding.

If you don’t have visual work, multimedia content, or website experience to showcase, you’ll need to evaluate whether the time (and possible monetary investment, depending on how you make your resume website) is going to be worthwhile.

Personally, I would say it’s not worth the hassle to create and maintain a personal resume website if you don’t fall into one of the categories listed above. If you’re applying to jobs like customer service or sales, which don’t have a need for visual media on your resume, then a hiring manager is highly unlikely to even visit your website. Your time would be better spent on other projects.

If you’re thinking about creating a personal online resume, first ask yourself this question: Would my website resume include any important information that can’t be included on a traditional resume?

If your answer is yes, keep reading. If your answer is no, a personal resume website probably isn’t for you.



5 Key Benefits of a Personal Resume Website

If a website resume aligns with your needs, there are several advantages to using one:

  • Digital Portfolio: A traditional resume severely limits how much you can show. It’s one thing to list your skills in bullet-point format and another to actually show off said skills in a portfolio. Even printed portfolios have limitations, especially if you’re a musician, videographer, website designer, et cetera. A website can highlight your work in ways traditional resumes, printed portfolios, and even pdfs can’t always accomplish.
  • References & Testimonials: Here’s the hard truth — including testimonials on your regular resume isn’t going to have much effect. Chances are, a recruiting manager will skim right over them without reading. However, if a hiring manager is taking the time to peruse your website, there’s a much greater chance of your references and testimonials being noticed.
  • Self-Expression: There’s only so much you can do to show off your creativity when you’re limited to a single sheet of paper. But on a website, you have much more creative freedom with fonts, colors, multimedia usage, overall design, and even the user’s experience as they navigate your site.
  • Graphic Design & Computer Skills: If you excel at custom coding and creating a brilliant online experience, isn’t it better to put your money where your mouth is and show exactly what you can do? A personal resume website is a chance for your strengths to shine.
  • Growth: Maintaining your website on a regular basis to keep it up to date means your site will grow with you to show your professional history. Also, your resume website won’t need as much TLC when the time comes to apply for a new job.
Personal resume website photography gallery by Sara A. Noe

How to Create a Personal Resume Website

If you’re ready to get started creating a website resume, there are several different options to consider based on your time, skill set, and long-term goals.

For beginners or those who want quick, simple templates, look into these options to build a resume website:

There are more powerful content management system (CMS) options, but be aware that they will have a steeper learning curve and require a bigger time commitment to set up:

Some of these platforms, depending on which one you choose, offer their own hosting services. You can also find free website hosting (at your own risk… make sure you read plenty of customer reviews first). If you foresee your personal resume website growing into a large, long-term project, consider investing in a paid hosting service such as:

Another option you need to consider when creating your resume website is whether you want to purchase a domain.

If, for example, you built your website resume on Wix but did not purchase a domain, your URL would be http://accountname.wixsite.com/siteaddress. Owning your own domain would change the URL to http://mywebsite.com, which is cleaner, neater, and overall much more professional.

**Disclaimer: This website was built on WordPress and is currently hosted on GoDaddy. I am not an affiliate of either WordPress or GoDaddy and do not receive any compensation for this article.**

(Side note: I learned how to create a WordPress website by following a video tutorial by NYC Tech Club. I highly recommend their channel! They made it easy to follow along and build the website you’re on right now.)

Before you stress about pouring extra money into your resume website, know that you can start for free to see how it goes, then buy a domain later.

Be sure to use basic graphic design rules when you’re creating your resume website. Most themes and templates will have a color scheme, so make sure you keep everything cohesive and true to your brand. If, for example, your website resume is mostly soft neutral colors, don’t add crazy fonts and vibrant colors that feel out of place compared to the rest of your content.

Organization is important. Remember that your website still needs to function as a resume, so it needs to be clean, neat, and easy to read.

A personal resume website can be a single page that visitors will scroll down, or it can be multiple pages broken into categories. This website, for example, is divided based on my writing, artwork, photography, and shop. If you’re using multiple web pages, make sure you have a clear navigation path so people can easily find your work.

Edit, proofread, and edit again. Ask friends, family, and colleagues to provide feedback. Your text should be well written, grammatically correct, and free of typos.



Information You Should Include on Your Personal Resume Website

The same information you would have on your traditional resume should also be on your website resume. This includes:

  • Contact information
  • Personal value proposition
  • Professional biography
  • Education
  • Hard & soft skills
  • Work experience
  • Accomplishments, awards, promotions, etc.
  • Samples of your work (don’t be afraid to include unpaid work if it’s worth sharing)
  • Testimonials (optional)

Above all, remember that even though this is a personal resume, it needs to be professional. You are representing yourself and your skills to potential clients, partners, and employers. If your work is fun and quirky, it’s okay to choose a template, color scheme, and fonts that match your unique brand. Everything doesn’t have to be sans serif and neutral. HOWEVER, it does still need to be readable and well organized.


Conclusion

A personal resume website is a valuable asset for people who need to display their visual/audio portfolio, design capabilities, and/or custom coding skills.

If you decide to take on this endeavor, remember that it’s definitely going to be a time commitment and, in most cases, also a monetary investment. Free plans often don’t end up being completely free, and you may realize that you need to purchase add-ons and packages in order to build your website resume the way you want and make it easily discoverable on the web.

Also, if you foresee your website evolving over time (as mine did), be ready to invest in upgrades, maintenance, and redesigns so your website is optimized for search engines.

Was this information valuable for you? I share my experience, knowledge, and advice at no charge, but your support with a tip in the virtual jar is always welcome and greatly appreciated so this website can continue to be an accessible resource.

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