Whether you're a fresh college graduate, a seasoned manager looking for a new position, or a freelancer wanting to land your first few clients, there's one thing you must have: a great personal resume website. Aside from highlighting your skills, a personal website will help you get noticed and stand out online.
What Is a Personal Resume Website?
Your personal resume website is a digital version of the traditional paper resume. It shows your education, skills, and previous positions or projects you’ve worked on. But, it also shows things you cannot accurately share using a paper resume. It allows you to display photos and images of your projects or share links to articles you’ve written or had published elsewhere.
You can also use it to share a brief bio of yourself, along with your mission statement, links to your social media profiles, and contact information. It serves as your online home base and allows you to build a personal brand and make a great first impression.
Everyone Should Have a Great Personal Resume Website
A personal website also has a few more benefits that outweigh a traditional resume.
In today’s digital age, almost everyone will look you up online, whether they are HR managers, recruiters, or potential clients. You might think that your presence on social media is enough, but the fact is, they often show a less-than-desirable image of you, even if you think you have no embarrassing moments there. And if you don’t have anything to show other than your social media profiles, chances are you won’t get that dream job nor land a new client.
Your website is also easy to update, so even if you sent off your resume months ago, any hiring manager will be able to see how your skills have improved and what projects you worked on in the meantime.
Now that you know what a personal resume website is and why you should have one, you might be wondering what to include in a personal website.
In today’s post, we cover the essential information your personal website should include and share a few examples of personal resume websites in action.
10 Key Elements You Must Include on Your Personal Website
Before adding content to your website, take a moment to think about the primary purpose of your website. A great personal website will show your personality and your skills while still maintaining a professional tone.
Even if it's your personal website, that doesn’t mean you have to share every little detail about yourself. Remember, you want to convince potential employers or clients of what you can do, also show the right information that'll convince them that you're a great fit for their company. Anything else should be left out.
With that in mind, here are seven essential elements to include on your personal resume site.
1. Your Bio
When people land on your website, they want to know who you are, what you do, and whether you have the skills and qualities to work at their company. Sharing your life story isn't the primary objective of your bio, but rather showing visitors how you can help them; either by working with them one on one or by joining their ranks.
Most people use their About page to share a brief biography. This is the place to share the most important details that are relevant to your professional life:
- Your education
- Your skills and expertise
- Your latest job or project you worked on
You can also include a brief section about what matters most to you, what causes you believe in, and a few hobbies to make it more engaging and to show off your personality.
For example, the Qoni template for a personal resume website allows you to insert a brief bio and highlight the most important elements with icons to make that section more visually appealing.
If you’re in the creative field such as design, writing, or photography, then samples of your work are crucial for showing your hands-on creative skills and how you apply your knowledge and experience. It also shows potential employers your aesthetic, which helps them determine whether you would be a good match for their company or project.
Writers, on the other hand, can link to articles published on the web or show a collection of photos of print articles. You can also include links to co-authored books.
Even if you work in a different field, such as marketing or sales, you can still use your creativity to include examples of marketing campaigns or give an idea of how your particular skill helped improve conversion rates.
Bear in mind that you shouldn’t add every portfolio piece, but rather reserve this space to showcase your best work.
Michael includes his best work in his portfolio section:
Testimonials are another crucial element you need to have on your professional personal website. They work as social proof and help build your credibility. The testimonials demonstrate you’re capable of working and collaborating with others. They also speak volumes about those soft skills that are needed for the job.
Do make sure the testimonials offer some substance and talk directly about your expertise and the experience of working with you, rather than having a stream of “She’s a great person” or “He is very knowledgeable.”
You can solve this by asking previous clients or employers to share a sentence or two about the way your specific skills helped them and how satisfied they were with working with you. Aaron Couch has a set of solid examples of this approach on his personal site:
4. Contact Information
Contact information is crucial so people can get in touch with you. You can use a contact form if you’re not comfortable giving out your email address, but it's recommended to include more than one way of contacting you.
Make it easy for potential employers to reach you. If you’re trying to get hired locally, including your address and phone number is an excellent idea. You can also list links to your social media profiles where you maintain a professional presence so anyone interested in working with you can get a glimpse of your entire online presence.
Colin Wright’s contact page lists all the different ways to reach him:
Even though the purpose of a personal resume website is to have continually updated information about your skills and experiences, it’s a smart idea to add a page containing the usual information that you would add to your paper resume. You should also include a downloadable version of your resume in a PDF format so HR managers can download it quickly and have it readily available during the hiring process.
6. Personal Branding
Contrary to popular belief, branding is no longer reserved for the big players. A good brand encompasses so much more than a logo. It combines your voice which comes off through your writing, your logo which can be as simple as your name in a particular font, your photos, colors you use on your website, as well as how others perceive you.
Your brand should represent you and give visitors a sense of what you stand for. By spending a little time and developing a visual representation of yourself, you’ll stand out more which makes you more memorable.
It's helpful to use a professional WordPress resume theme to build your website from. Find great personal site themes and discover how to set one up quickly:
- WordPress Themes20 Best WordPress Resume Themes: For Your Personal WebsiteBrenda Barron
- ResumesHow to Make a Personal Resume Website: From a WordPress ThemeBrenda Barron
7. An Updated Blog
What better way to show your expertise than by sharing your knowledge with others? That’s where an updated blog comes into play. It allows you to show your understanding of your particular industry as well as gives an insight into your thought process.
You can share tips and tricks that relate to your niche as well as case studies and opinions on the latest trends.
A blog also helps establish you as a thought leader and drive more traffic to your website, which increases your visibility.
8. Your Elevator Pitch
A good elevator pitch will sum up what your profession is and what you're looking for. Your elevator pitch should be added to your home page as well as your about page, preferably above the fold. This helps potential employers to immediately see if you're a potential candidate. It also helps you avoid getting offers that wouldn’t be the right fit for you.
In short, an elevator pitch saves you and potential employers time and ensure you get more relevant offers in your inbox or over the phone. The example below from Jim Ramsden shows a great way to not only show your elevator pitch, but also how to make it fun to let your personality shine through.
9. Your Photo
While a traditional resume doesn’t lend itself well to including lots of images, a personal resume website is a different story. Here, you can and should include your images as they help you stand out and show recruiters and potential employers the person behind the resume.
It goes without saying that the photos should be professional, so avoid using images that you shared on your private social media accounts.
Consider the example below from Jess Tan who included a photo of herself that looks professional, yet still has character thanks to creative use of icons and illustrations around it.
10. Links to Your Social Media Accounts
Once potential employers receive your resume, chances are they're going to google you. Instead of letting them come across personal social media accounts, take the matter into your own hands and include links to your professional profiles on your resume website instead.
This directs them to where you want them to go instead of leaving it to chance. Gary Sheng does an excellent job by including his LinkedIn and Facebook profile not only to show potential employers the rest of his online presence, but also as a way of getting in touch.
10 Examples of Great Personal Websites in Action
With essential elements out of the way, let’s take a look at some great personal resume website examples and see what makes them stand out. This will give you some great ideas on what to put on your own personal resume website.
Pascal’s website includes all the information about his skills and education as well as highlighting some of his best work. His writing is short and to the point, offering just the right amount of information without overwhelming the readers. It’s a creative one-page website with clear contact information at the bottom, which makes it easy to get in touch with Pascal.
2. Deidre Bain
Deidre’s site features a unique vintage look paired with bold typography, which makes her website stand out. Her entire website has a strong focus on visuals, including the about section that presents her skills, passions, and her creativity. Her personality comes off through humorous copy that makes you want to learn more about her and adds to her awesomeness.
3. Kristi Hines
Kristi makes it very clear what it is she does, and she has managed to present her written work in a nice visual way. The testimonials section adds to her credibility not only because of what her clients have said, but also because they're sourced from LinkedIn, which shows the type of clients Kristi usually works with. A call to action is also clearly visible on the homepage, making it easy to hire her for any copywriting work.
Anthony’s website engages visitors right from the start with an animated background that shows glimpses of his work and personal life. His about section is brief, but he does cover the main points along with a button to download his resume.
Aside from showing his education and experience, Anthony takes it a step further and highlights the awards he received for his work, adding an extra layer of credibility, especially when paired with testimonials, which are cleverly placed right next to his contact form.
5. Colin Wright
Colin’s website has a minimalistic design that works well for authors and writers who want to bring attention to their content. His portfolio section features covers of his books which add visual appeal, and you can read all about Colin on his detailed About page. The contact section includes different ways of contacting him, while his blog offers another glimpse into his writing.
6. Kemie Guaida
Kemie’s website is the perfect presentation of her illustration skills and her personality. She does an excellent job of putting her mission statement right at the top followed by a list of services she provides. Along with listing several ways of getting in touch with her, she also shares her knowledge on the blog. Her portfolio is easy to navigate and filterable—allowing visitors to focus on projects that are inline with the service they need.
Smart use of icons on Claire’s website makes it obvious the type of services she provides and her about section clearly states who she is and what she does, along with her core beliefs. The portfolio is filterable, and her testimonial section is brought to life by use of her clients’ profile photos and logos.
Kimberly Horton’s personal website features an inviting design and a mix of personal and professional writing that gives you a complete insight into her personality and skills. The website has a creative Start Here page (which is usually seen on corporate websites), but Kimberly shows how you can use it effectively on a personal website.
9. Taha Khan
Taha Khan has a simple and minimal online resume website that immediately shows you his creative work. You can then browse his about page that goes into more details about his skills and download his resume. This is a good example of how even a minimal website can not only showcase your skills, but also allow employers to focus on the most important projects.
10. Ellen Skye Riley
Ellen Skye Riley has a colorful and unique online resume website that puts her illustrations skills front and center. She includes her elevator pitch right on the homepage and links to other pages on her site that let you access her blog and her about page. This entire personal website speaks volumes about her animation and presentation skills and invites you to explore what else she has to offer.
Learn More About How to Create an Online Resume Website
A personal resume site can help you stand out among your peers and establish you as the go-to authority in your niche. Nowadays, creating one doesn’t have to be hard nor does it require any special skills. Learn how in these tutorials:
- ResumesWhat Should You Include on Your Personal Resume (CV) Website?Brenda Barron
- Resumes10 Resume Website Mistakes to Avoid on Your Personal SiteBrenda Barron
- ResumesHow to Make a Personal Resume Website: From a WordPress ThemeBrenda Barron
Get Started With Making Your Personal Resume Website Today
In fact, you can have your website up and running in as little as a couple of hours, thanks to WordPress and personal resume themes. Most of these themes make it easy to launch your website and personalize it to reflect your brand. They also include demo content, so all you've got to do is replace the information with your own.
While we highly recommend WordPress themes for your website because WordPress is user-friendly and allows you to add a blog to your site effortlessly. There are also plenty of professional HTML templates if you don’t have the time to maintain a blog though.
In the end, no matter which option you choose, take advantage of the tips mentioned above and use the example sites as inspiration for what to include in a great personal website. Whether you decide to use a resume website WordPress theme or an HTML template, use the tips in this article to make your online resume website look great!
Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2017. It has been comprehensively revised to make current, accurate, and up to date by our staff—with special assistance from Brenda Barron.