Guest Post, by Michelle Greenlee:
Searching for a job in the Information Age entails more than simply updating your resume and brushing up on your interview skills. Today’s quick access to information online can give you an edge during the hiring process.
Candidates are often advised to clean up their social profiles before employers see them. It’s good advice if you’ve made a habit of embarrassing yourself in the past. However, there’s more you can do to make a good impression with potential employers.
Multiple Profiles, One Access Point
If you use multiple social networks you know how tedious it can be to add links to each one in relevant locations. So, consider using a dedicated landing page on your website or a hosted service like AOL’s About.me. Show off your design skills by customizing the page’s look to fit your personality. If you don’t design, find someone who does and work with them to create a very “you” experience for your visitors.
Though my personal favorite is About.me, there are other options. I like About.me best because it gives you a few font options as well as control over the background image and text display. These small customization options can translate into a stunning landing page. Also, the service is unique because it allows you to do more than simply add links. For example, it can display your most recent updates. To see an example of this functionality, have a look at Ariel Waldman’s page.
Gravatar is WordPress’s Globally Recognized Avatar service. Your profile here can include multiple links as well as photos and a short bio. It doesn’t show your most recent updates, but it’s still worth a look. A compelling bio with supporting links in a minimal layout can sometimes be more appealing than a highly stylized landing page. It all depends on what image you’re trying to present.
Behance.net offers profile pages that can showcase your work as well as compile links to your social media accounts. It also offers a full portfolio service. While it targets designers, you can showcase your code in screenshots.
If none of these strike your fancy, you may want to go with a mini WordPress site dedicated to your work and online socializing. If you aren’t a WordPress theme developer, this is where you consider hiring one. WordPress offers a number of themes itself, and its backend is very flexible these days. Or, you can turn to a theme shop like WooThemes. It has a busy release schedule and offers new themes almost every month–many of them free. Since they’re producing so many, the selection is quite good.
Here’s some examples of WordPress themes. I know these can be easily manipulated either via CSS or through theme options. There are others, I’m sure, but these are themes I’ve customized myself.
- F8 Lite
- Modularity Lite
- Launchpad: created as a temporary landing page but would work well for profile sites, too.
- Magazine Basic: One of my favorite free themes. Despite the name, it’s very flexible for all kinds of sites
- Prototype (another framework): Justin Tadlock’s development style takes a little getting used to but his themes are pretty solid
If you decide to use WordPress, I suggest setting up your site under a subdomain. Something like name.lastname.com or me.example.com. Be creative and make it short.
With a single access link, you can update your profile once instead of logging into each service to make a change. This centralized place can also be handy for job applications and on your resume (if you’re so inclined).
Michelle Greenlee is a Texas Web developer and tech enthusiast with a penchant for beta testing new software and services.