Last year, when Mitch Canter, 30, of Franklin, Tenn., decided to look for a new job, he immediately created his own site at MitchCanter.com.
“I’m a web developer/designer, so I engineered my site to look exactly like my paper résumé,” he says. “I figured that having a site with my name as the URL would make it super easy for people to find me and reach out.”
Just four months later, when a friend passed along his name to the company, the person who is now his boss googled “Mitch Canter,” and one of the first things that popped up was Canter’s site. “He called me in for an interview and told me that he was looking for someone with the skill set that I had mentioned on my site,” Canter says.
As it turns out, Canter is more strategic and ambitious than most. According to recent surveys, only 7% of the general population—and 15% of millennials—currently have a personal website.
We checked in with a career coach and two web marketing experts to find out how having a personal website can help your career. In the age of LinkedIn, do you really need one? If so, why, and how much should getting a URL of your own cost you?
Does Everyone Need a Personal Site?
Among many career experts, the verdict is that a personal website can meaningfully enhance your job search.
“Having a website can help employers see that you are knowledgeable about current technologies,” says Donna Schilder, a leadership and career coach based in Long Beach, Calif. “It also gives an employer an additional experience of you. It adds dimension to their understanding of your skills and personality.”
In fact, for certain jobs, having a personal site is a must. “If you’re self-employed or you have a job where showing your work makes a difference—like if you’re a photographer, fashion designer, hair or makeup artist, advertiser, architect, landscaper, etc.—then it’s important to have your own site,” says Schilder. That way, you can present a portfolio of your best work.
And while a personal website can help anyone get employed, it can be especially beneficial for millennials. A website “allows [young people] to showcase their true talents, be found online by recruiters, and invest in their careers long-term,” says Dan Schawbel, the managing partner of Millennial Branding and author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.”