During your job search, you give ample attention to consultants who claim they can make your resume represent you well. They provide a valuable service. I encourage you to act on their advice.
Take another step forward. Recognize that our information processing has changed tremendously since the Internet became public in the 1990s. While interviewers continue to pay close attention to the paper documents you provide, you can also impress them by pointing them to your professional Web site. So include the link to your Web site in your initial phone call, follow up e-mails, and on your business card.
Consider my 10 tips for making your electronic brochure a winner:
*ONE: USE A CURRENT PHOTO
Imagine this: You haven’t changed your photo in seven or more years. When you greet your interviewer, who browsed your Web site just this morning, you note a shocked expression on her face. She even seems confused. You are not the candidate she was expecting.
And what could the interviewer be thinking: “If he is dishonest about his photo, what else could he be hiding?”
Ideally, replace your professional photo every three years, just as you update accomplishments and testimonials.
*TWO: INCLUDE AUDIO AND VIDEO MESSAGES
A print-only Web site appears static, an audio and video Web site becomes lively and vital.
You can purchase and use royalty free music quite easily from the Internet. Select a theme that is upbeat, yet not ear-blasting.
On your home page, display a high-energy 60-second video that highlights the skills you will bring to an employer. Be sure not to read from a script. Rather than settle for a stilted presentation, work with a speech coach to produce a video that looks and sounds spontaneous and sincere.
Additionally, display a 30 second video testimonial from a high-caliber professional who describes you as a valuable team player.
*THREE: USE TOP QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHS
Gone are the days when you had to rely exclusively on a studio photographer to generate top quality photos for your publications, online and in hard copy. Digital photography has enabled the rest of us to shoot and edit good pictures.
Certainly you will include only the photos that have adequate lighting, clear focus, and relevant, tasteful scenes.
*FOUR: LIMIT THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR
In movie theatres, action movies can revolve around explosions of sound and light, blindingly rapid scene changes, and the “shock and awe” approach. Moviegoers expect dazzling special effects from certain producers.
Your business Web site needs to follow a more moderate theme. It is all right to attract attention through catchy sound, color, and design. But unless you are in the market for an artistic job, moderate the glitz and glamour.
*FIVE: FOCUS ON BENEFITS, NOT FEATURES
Yes, a professional Web site allows you to state your qualifications. Even so, consider those features. Recognize, though, that an employer wants you to focus on benefits, such as:
How you help an organization increase profits, improve productivity, boost morale, generate more favorable publicity, and develop a winning brand. Illustrate, with modesty, how you have accomplished these and similar responsibilities with prior employers.
*SIX: AVOID USING RISKY HUMOR
When I teach my “Business Writing That Works” seminar, I explain to participants that all written humor carries a risk. Because your reader cannot see your facial expression or hear your chuckle, your intended good humor could backfire.
The safest, wisest move: Save your humor for the on site interview. Then your timing, emphasis, and total demeanor will minimize the risk of misunderstanding.
*SEVEN: USE ENOUGH WHITE SPACE TO GO EASY ON THE EYES
Notice this article as an example—short sentences and paragraphs. You can read the material much more easily than if you were facing a page of jammed - together lengthy prose.
A good guideline: Study the printed advertisements in magazines and newspapers, and on billboards. They keep the writing simple and well spaced.
*EIGHT: KEEP THE URL TASTEFUL
Even the link to your job search site says plenty about you. Here again, express your creativity without becoming boorish.
Replace bestdamnedadvertiseranywhere.com with awardwinningadvertiser.com
*NINE: CHECK THE LINKS YOU INCLUDE
When you include the links to sites you want your interviewer to visit, be absolutely sure the links remain active and accessible. Test the links regularly. A nonworking link makes you look inefficient, even careless.
*TEN: LIST SEVERAL OPTIONS FOR CONTACTING YOU
You may wonder why I mention this suggestion. Doesn’t everybody’s Web site offer several ways to reach him or her? Surprisingly, no. Or if the site posts the contact information, the viewer has to search for it.
Be sure to list your cell phone, along with a landline number. The cell listing indicates that you are reachable beyond regular business hours.
Follow these 10 Web site guidelines. Although doing that will not guarantee scheduling an interview or getting a job offer, in our Internet-dependent age you will definitely improve your chances.