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Can a personal website make your online resume stand out? A tech recruiter gives us answers

Can a personal website make your online resume stand out? A tech recruiter gives us answers

Online resumes can seem like a flashy way to show off your professional experience, but you may be wondering: Do recruiters actually care or do they just stick to the old standby of looking at your LinkedIn profile?

When asked this question, Samantha Sandor—a recruiter who has worked with tech companies including Plaid, Deel, and Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens—said that she definitely finds personal websites to be valuable from the start of her recruiting process. Not only can they help her learn more about whether you’d be a fit for the role at hand, she loves sending them to hiring managers to paint a better picture of why you’re a strong candidate.

Read below for all of Samantha’s best online resume tips for making sure your website stands out to recruiters (plus some online resume examples that show how you can put her advice into practice).

1. Share details and data

Samantha said “more is more” when it comes to specificity and detail on your personal website.

“The less I know, the more I’m shooting in the dark and, more often or not, I’m going to skip over your profile in favor of someone where I can clearly see what they do,” she explained.

Adding more detail can happen in a couple of ways. First and foremost, don’t just list your job titles, but explain more about what your day-to-day work actually looks like. “If you say, ‘I’m the VP of Marketing at Square:’ What does that mean? What segment of marketing do you focus on? How big is your team? What’s your background in?” Samantha shared. “If you say you’re a writer: What do you write about? What are you passionate about? Are you a generalist? That’s great too, but let me know. Don’t have me guessing, because if I guess wrong, it’s a waste of our time.”

Polywork online resume bio tips
This online resume example has plenty of detail and keywords in the “About Me” section. Source: Joey Burzynski

Samantha added that “keywords are everything” for recruiters, so ensuring your personal branding statement is peppered with plenty of them related to the industry or jobs you’re targeting will help a recruiter better understand the types of roles you align with.

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Finally, Samantha said, “The most exciting thing that I want to see is metrics and numbers so I can say to a hiring manager, ‘This person’s contributed this amount of value in their current role.’” Data can take so many forms—how your designs led to increased site traffic or a better CSAT score, how big your team is as a manager, or percentage of deals closed—so think creatively about how you can demonstrate measurable impact on your personal website.

Polywork online resume career highlights tips
Highlights can be a great way to show off data on your Polywork website. Source: Kelly Vaughn

2. Clearly distinguish different aspects of yourself

Samantha shared that she doesn’t mind if someone has different types of work showcased on one online portfolio, as long as she can easily find the information relevant to her. “If you’re a multi-hyphenate person, highlight all of those things, don’t shy away from it—just make sure that they’re clearly delineated because someone might be interested in you for one thing versus another.” You might do this by creating a separate page or portfolio collection for different roles.

Polywork online resume portfolio tips
This online resume example uses Portfolio Collections on Polywork to easily organize different types of projects. Source: Justin Washington

That said, Samantha warned against over-indexing on non-work-related passions and hobbies on your personal website, particularly when job searching. “I love a personal element, but I don’t necessarily need to know everything about you personally. Like, if you have a passion for baking, a link to your Instagram about your baking is pretty cool, but I don’t need to know the entire backstory behind it.”

3. Don’t get too fancy with the design (unless that’s your industry)

For job seekers not in design or development-related industries, Samantha said the best design is a clean and straightforward one. “I’m not hiring you for the aesthetic of your website. I’m hiring you for the content of the website—for the work and the value that you can provide to the company. So don’t over index on the bells and whistles,” she said. “I just need to quickly and easily be able to find the information about you that I need, and also find your contact information.”

Polywork online resume contact tips
A contact form on your Polywork website can make it easy for recruiters to reach out to you. Source: Tristan Pennicott

That includes not trying to pack your website with imagery if you’re not in a visual field. In other words, avoid the awkward stock photos or endless portraits of you sitting at a laptop. “We don’t want people to be focused on you physically, we want people to be focused on the value you can provide to the organization,” she said, adding that a single photo of yourself on the homepage, contact page, or about page suffices.

All of this changes if you are in a visual field, like graphic design, engineering, product, UX/UI design, or creative direction. Then, you’ll want to make sure your online resume shows off your design skills or is packed with visual examples of past projects you’ve worked on. “Let’s hypothetically say a hiring manager says, ‘I really like Airbnb’s branding or user interface.’ I need to be able to look at someone’s portfolio and say, ‘Hey, this kind of looks like Airbnb’s user interface or this has a really clean aesthetic,’” Samantha explained.

4. Make your online resume easy to find on your LinkedIn

While Samantha finds personal websites extremely valuable, she still shared that “LinkedIn is what we live and die by” when it comes to searching for potential candidates.

That’s why she recommended making sure the link to your online resume is incredibly easy to find there. “I don’t like to go hunting for portfolios on a LinkedIn profile,” she said. The most visible way to link your personal website on LinkedIn is to turn on creator mode then add a link to the introduction section of your profile. This will show up at the top of your profile, and you can even customize the link text to make it extra clear to recruiters.

Because the last thing you’d want is for a recruiter to come across you—and have no clear way of learning more about why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

Make your online resume shine with a personal website builder that can be up and running in mere minutes — get started on Polywork.