Student life can get quite hectic. Between classes and frat parties, student groups and workouts, crushes on TAs and crashing on friends’ couches, it’s easy to forget that those four “best years of your life” are ultimately supposed to land you a job. Wild thought, if there ever was one.
And in the modern age, where the job search is mostly online and extremely competitive, it’s really important to have an appropriately curated internet presence.
No, we’re not suggesting you edit your LinkedIn page, though it might help to do that, too. We’re suggesting you start a website of your very own.
Not convinced that college is the right time to think about making a personal website? Here’s our list of 10 stellar reasons why you need a website arguably even more than you need to pull that all-nighter.
1. Tell the story yourself
Who hasn’t heard the horror stories about excellent students missing out on potential job offers because Google keeps helpfully bringing up a photo of them having too much fun at a Sig Chi party?
Having a website is your way of taking control of the narrative. Even if a photo like that does show up, it will probably be offset by the employer finding your website first and reading its well thought out “About Me” section.
A website is your opportunity to spend a long time formulating what you only have a few minutes to say in an interview.
The way you present yourself – the photos you choose, the design, the text – is entirely up to you.
2. Seem more professional
It’s not super rare for students to make websites in their senior year. In fact, I was first told to make one by my academic advisor right before graduating.
But Googling some of my peers tells me it’s still not very common either. Having a website then becomes an advantage in the eyes of potential employees who have to make judgements about hundreds if not thousands of applicants.
It shows professionalism, maturity, and intent. All these qualities are extremely valuable in an employee.
Besides, consider what an impression a custom email address makes.
3. Showcase your portfolio
Sure, you may have written in your resume that you’ve reviewed theater plays for your student newspaper for two years but what if it doesn’t have an online version? Potential employers will never find out what you thought about “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Which is a shame because maybe someone else will have his or her writing sample linked online and the employer won’t bother to write to you asking for the articles.
This is just an imaginary example of a missed opportunity but pretty sure it’s a scenario that happens every day.
A website is the perfect place to “show, not tell.” It’s the platform that can house all your portfolios, be it photography or code, text or video, simultaneously.
Stand by your experiences. Get a website!
4. Own your content
Your Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta, Finsta, and Twitter are all great for housing your content but they all have a common problem: they own your content.
One day when Zuckerberg’s lizard superior tells him to shut the whole thing down, you’ll have to wave goodbye to your content, too.
Sometimes it’s nice to entertain your inner libertarian and own the content you’ve worked so hard to create.
5. Share your knowledge
College is a time of constant learning and exploration. A website is a great way to share your newly gained knowledge and skills with people from all around the world.
People Google “How to…” all the time. If your website comes up in the search, you’ll not only help a person out, but gradually build a community of people who are into learning what you’re learning.
Chances are, one of them one day will invite you to speak or forward you a job announcement or write you a recommendation letter.
Also, for the particularly idealistic of the student base, a website is the perfect place to bring up their favorite causes and issues. You can even create a separate menu tab for “Sea Whale Activism” if that’s what you want readers and employers to associate with you.
6. Learn personal branding
Personal branding is super important if you want to be successful in our ever-changing society. Its guiding principle is simple: you are trying to sell your skills – as products – so you should effectively position yourself as a business or brand.
It gets a bit more complicated as you go along. Your brand needs consistency, a defined target market and tone, etc.
Making your own website will teach you a lot about personal branding. After all, you control every component of your website, and your visitors know this.
And personal branding is a skill that will come in handy whatever you do later in life.
7. Exercise and show commitment
It’s one thing to make a website – that part is easy – and quite another to keep it updated.
A life of rigorous academic achievement and energetic frat-basement dancing often leaves little time for sleep, much less for updating your website on the regular.
That’s why the fact that you have committed to maintaining your website and making sure it’s relevant is already an important achievement for your potential employers.
It also just feels good to add to your website. You can see how much you’ve grown as a person and professional when you look back, too.
8. Add new skills to your CV
Creating a website is not that hard – especially not when 10Web is here to make WordPress website creation and maintenance a breeze – but it still has its moments.
You have to learn some SEO techniques and find out just how to schedule security checks on 10Web security service, drag and drop to build your website and optimize your images to keep your site’s load time low, etc. etc.
You also have to learn how to market your site and communicate your message clearly.
These are all skills that are very valuable on the market. Every business needs a website, and startups and SMEs especially could use someone who knows a thing or two about creating and maintaining a website.
Having a website will prove to be a rewarding journey whichever way you look.
9. Earn an extra buck
Aside from common ways people monetize their websites once they get relatively popular such as ads, you should keep in mind that you have all those other options to sell people your services.
Are you a math whizz who aced SAT Subject Tests? People across the world want to learn how. Are you an English major? Offer to edit papers. Speak German? Teach us, too!
A website is fantastic for offering your skills and earning an extra buck. Just create a menu category, build a form with Form Maker, throw in a couple of samples and reviews, and wait for your new clients.
10. Expand your horizons
You are not your major. Or minor. You surely have a number of skills and hobbies that didn’t quite make it to your resume.
For example, are you great with clay and care a lot about gender inequality issues but decided that Media Studies is where your core interest lies?
No worries! If you have a website you can analyze the wage gap however you like and group it under your Gender Studies blog section, even if it’s not a part of your academic studies. And have a gallery showcasing your clay bowl collection.
Potential employers, a feminist clay initiative, will give your analysis a read, browse through your clay collection, and ask if you will come in for an interview. It can sometimes be as simple as that.
Remember, seeming in the postmodern world is being. Seem artfully! A site sure helps.
What are your thoughts on students and websites? Should they be a thing? Why? Let us know in the comments below!
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