Dear Lifehacker, Finding a job is tough! How can I market myself and my skills without resorting to an old, boring paper resume? I've seen a lot of webapps designed to help create an eye-catching nameplate site, but which will do the best job of getting me noticed and showing off my work?
Sincerely, Job Hunter
Title image remixed from Palto.
One of the best ways to get your name and portfolio out there is to set up a site that potential employers can visit to see your work. A "nameplate" site, or a simple website with your name, a short bio, and links to your work and contact information, is an elegant way to showcase your portfolio and web presence to future employers — or ayone who wants to learn more about you. There are dozens of professional nameplate sites on the web, but the best one for you depends on the skills you want to show off. Here are some options:
The Most Popular And Easiest to Set Up: About.Me
About.Me is a good basic option. The service is free, looks great, and links users directly to your other social profiles or web sites where they can learn more about you. About.me pages take moments to set up, and when you're finished you get a short custom URL you can give out or put on a business card. You can even sign up for an about.me email address for those contacts to use when they want to reach you.
For Designers and People With Portfolios: Flavors.Me
Although Flavors.me is very similar to About.Me, it offers a bit more flexibility when it comes to page design and linked sites and services. You could use it strictly as a jumping off point to your social profiles, but the service also allows you to add photos, video and custom pages to your profile. So if you have work to show off, your visitors don't have to go too far to see it. If you have a lot of work to show off and you want it front and centre to anyone who visits your profile, Flavors.me lets you do that — especially if you pony up the $US20 per year for a premium account and all of the features that come with it.
For Students: Seelio
Seelio is a new service that gives students a way to showcase their activities, hobbies, internships, volunteer activities and clubs in a fun and interactive way. Most students don't have a long resume loaded with work history and special skills, so Seelio offers students a way to add videos, photos and testimonials to their list of skills and experiences. Think of it as a supercharged resume for the people who need it the most: the ones caught looking for opportunities that require experience, but who need experience to get started. Plus, Seelio is frequented by recruiters and hiring managers looking for student employees and interns.
For Business Owners and Entrepeneurs: Sidengo
Previously mentioned Sidengo offers business owners and people who have a lot of information to communicate to their visitors a set of pages — not just a single nameplate page with links — that they can customise with plenty of information about their business. For example, if you own a restaurant and want a quick, attractive website, you can create one for your business, have a separate page for the menu, a separate page for hours and contact information, and another for photos of the food or seating areas. It's faster than rolling your own website, comes with mobile versions built in, and even the free plans offer powerful customisation options and features. It's probably overkill if you're selling yourself, but if you're starting a business, it's a solid choice.
For People with Boring Resumes: Vizify
For those of us who don't fall into the other categories or just have a boring old resume that could use a little spice, previously mentioned Vizify generates an attractive, multi-page visual profile page complete with your work history, social profiles, education history and more — all without you lifting a finger. You can tweak any of the pages or add or remove social profiles if you think it knows too much about you, but when you're finished, you'll have a beautiful interactive page that potential employers can use to learn all about you and get right to your LinkedIn profile, personal website and more.
For the DIYer: Roll Your Own
If you don't like the idea of putting your professional portfolio in the hands of a web service, you can get the same results by rolling your own, either by building your own site from scratch or by using a content management system like Wordpress or Drupal. You'll need to register a domain of your own — preferably something like www.yourname.com — and get it hosted. If you go the Wordpress route, themes like John Saddington's digital business card and Elegant Themes' Business Card Theme can quickly transform your site into an attractive and informative nameplate, loaded with links to your social profiles, resume, and samples of your work. When you roll your own, it takes more time, but the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can show off to a visitor.
Don't Overlook the Power of Your Resume
All of these personal profiles are great, and when you pick the one that best matches the skills you want to show off you should push it as much as possible, but don't underestimate the importance of a clean, good-looking, plain old resume. We've discussed how getting creative with your resume can help, but don't go too crazy. After all, most hiring managers are looking for standard resumes to scan into their HR system. If you go crazy with QR codes and custom design and images, you might find your resume in the trash because it doesn't scan easily or can't be easily imported to a resume database. Photo by Charlotte West.
We'd strongly suggest picking the best service for you and then dropping the URL (especially if it's a domain you own, like yourname.com) on business cards, on the top of your paper resume, and in the signature of your emails. But don't neglect your regular resume, and don't start thinking you don't need a normal resume because you have one of these services. We may be moving away from traditional resumes as the primary way people get hired, but they're not dead yet. Good luck!