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Create a Compelling Resume Online With WordPress

Do you stand out?

Do you stand out?

Here’s a news flash – the economy is a little rough these days.  With the unemployment rate creeping up, it’s a time when you need to be clear about what you can bring to a prospective employer or client and, above all, to stand out from the competition.  Fortunately, it’s cheaper and easier than ever to make yourself “present with authority.”

One of my new year’s resolutions was to get my online identity sorted out, which means making the most of the available tools and delivering a consistent message. After taking inventory of the various professional sites to which I belong (e.g. LinkedInVisualCV), I decided that I needed an aggregator to take charge and deliver my message, my way, in my style. I had registered my own name as a domain many years ago but not done anything with it, and so I decided to use WordPress to tell my professional story.

What Are the Benefits?

If you think about your career as a product that you’re selling, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to have a web site? Of course it does, and you want your personal brand to have the same benefits:

  • More and more, clients and employers are performing online searches to learn more about the people with which they are considering to engage. Having a search engine friendly web site makes it more likely they will find you.
  • Indexing your experience through the use of keywords makes it easy for people to zero in on the skills and/or expertise in which they’re interested (more about that later).
  • Multimedia capabilities (i.e. images, video, presentations, links) make it easier for you to tell your story in a vivid and interesting way.
  • You can use specialized links to direct people to specific content areas of your profile.
  • While this practice may soon be common place, for the moment at least it will help you to stand out from the crowd.

Laying the Groundwork

The first decision is your domain name. One option is to use Blogger or WordPress.org (e.g. jondipietro.wordpress.org), which is free. However, for the few dollars a year it costs you are far better off registering your own domain name; preferably your first and last names if available. This article will discuss building your online resume using WordPress on your own hosted site.
Once the basic WordPress installation is in place, the first thing you’ll want to do is to find a clean, professional theme and install it. There are a number of plugins that I install on every WordPress site right out of the gate:

Turn the Page

Now it’s time to set up the pages.  I decided on the following site map:

  • Home
  • About Me
    • Work History
    • Skills
    • Volunteerism
  • Experience
  • Companies
  • Social Networks
  • Contact Me

The tricky thing about this is that, by default, WordPress publishes blog articles to the front page of the site.  In order to implement my strategy, it’s important to change that.  You can do this on the Reading Settings page by selecting “Home” for your front page and “Experience” as the posts page.

Change the default settings for the front and posts pages.

Change the default settings for the front and posts pages.

Next, you’ll need to populate the Home, About Me, Work Experience, and Skills pages.  The Home page functions as a sort of generic cover letter, while the other pages represent the customary sections of a resume.  However, you have the freedom to be a little more creative and verbose in this environment than on a paper resume.

What you don’t see in the site map (or in the menu) is my social networking landing page.  Another benefit of having your own web site is the ability to create landing pages from other sites that allow you to customize messages and, again, tell your story.  For example, Twitter provides very little space to customize your profile but they do allow you to enter a web site URL that you can point to a customized landing page.  This is where the “Exclude Pages from Navigation Menu” plugin comes in handy.

Rubber Meets Road

Users can click on areas of interest

Skills, experiences, clients, etc... are displayed in the tag cloud widget.

The power of this approach now takes shape as you create blog posts to describe specific projects, publications, and experiences.  The key is carefully selected categories and liberal use of tags for the posts.  This will allow employers and/or clients to quickly zero in on the topics in which they are interested.  And since you’re making it easy to find the information they’re looking for, you can feel free to include lots of details, making them as interactive as possible.  You’ll want to include the Simple Tags tag could widget in the sidebar.

The categories are also important and you can use them to organize your pages and posts at a higher level than the tags.  How and where the categories are displayed is somewhat dependent upon your theme.  Some themes display them as menu itmes while others are displayed in the sidebar and is a matter of your personal preference.

Shout It Out Loud

Once your online resume is good to go, you can send out customized links to direct people straight to a particular area of interest.  For example, if I’m looking to secure a consulting contract for VB.NET development, I could send the following in an email:

“Please see the VB.NET projects listed on my online resume.”

The “VB.NET” link is http://www.jondipietro.com/tag/vbnet, which will automatically display a list of all pages or posts that were tagged with the VB.NET keyword.  You can begin to see how easy it is to send customized links to employers and clients that zoom right in to the areas on which you want them focused.

Conclusion

As I mentioned, I didn’t initially set out to create an online resume but once I started putting the idea together it became clear how compelling and useful this approach can be.  But I’m interested to hear about other creative ideas for leveraging this medium, so leave some comments.  Oh, and feel free to share a link to your own online resume.

#CareerGravity Blueprint coverDownload a free copy of the #CareerGravity Blueprint to get more details on creating a loud, permanent, disruptive digital footprint that can expand your professional network and promote career development.

Click here to download the #CareerGravity Blueprint.

Update

Thanks to Eric for prompting me to write a follow up to this post. If you’d like to see how this has helped me over the past two years, check out “Personal Inbound Marketing FTW!

Photo credits:
“Stand Out in a Group” by TheZionView

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  • http://theparallaxview.com russell

    Cheers for sharing this Jon, I think I’ll do the same and make one too!

  • http://www.blog.sentersoftech.com saravanakumar

    Nice post! Especially the topic about WP plugin. Very informtive. Thanks.

  • http://www.resumebutler.com/blog/ Bobby Jones

    Dont forget to add all the social sites like linkedin.com.

  • http://stevepine.info steve

    This post was just what the doctor ordered. I do content management for a living but I’m in the process of building a resume site with WordPress and can use all the tips I can get…especially like the plug-ins you mentioned. I’m also in the process of building sites for out-of-work friends–and the list is growing!

  • http://www.pingthink.com Subbaraman Iyer

    I have a bigger dilemma trying to write almost 25 years of professional experience in diverse IT areas and also my varied interests and skill sets. Would you have any specific recommendations for someone of my profile? If I choose to have a wordpress self hosted domain is that a inferior approach?

    Please also check my business blog at http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com

    Thanks

  • http://www.esqrecruiting.com/ James Miller

    Jon, I really agree with you that in the advent of Internet age, it is really a great thing to make a personal website. But personally am afraid that there might be much information that will be put to a personal website and someone might steal my identity.

    James
    ATTORNEY RECRUITER

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  • http://www.vastvision.com seo

    You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Well done!

    • http://www.jondipietro.com Jon DiPietro

      Thanks! Much appreciated.

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  • AJ

    Wow this is a super complete guide. Looks like you spent a long time creating it. here is a nice resume theme if anyone is interested http://www.wpexplorer.com/my-resume-wordpress-theme.html

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  • Sample Resume Template

    Oh! great. this is nice if we can make a resume online with wordpress..Thanks for helping me!

    <a href=”http://www.sampleresumetemplate.org/
    “>Sample Resume Template</a>

  • Job Link List

    One thing everyone should do after they have set up their WordPress resume is to make sure you spend a lot of time securing it.  There are a lot of exploits out there and you don’t want to lose all of your work, etc.  Just make sure you keep WP updated and don’t go too crazy with a lot of third party plugins… and as always, make backups!  :)

    Job Links List

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  • Eric

    Jon, it’s been nearly two years since you posted this article and the economy and job markets have changed significantly. How do you feel your Resume-as-a-Wordpress-site has performed in comparison to the traditional brochure, or single page, resumes people have been publishing?

    • http://domesticatingit.com JonDiPietro

      Eric,
      Great question! It’s working very well and, as a matter of fact, I have a great example from a couple of months ago that I will post as an update today.
      Thanks for the comment!

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  • http://www.eresumetemplates.com resume templates

    i think the problem is too many people try to take shortcuts when writing a resume and they dont really reflect on their personal goals and achievements

  • http://twitter.com/roonyjoe roony joe

    It is necessary to write a good resume objective for your resume.You have to work hard on every phrase and to describe more effectively your objectives

  • Valia Lee

    Thank you! I have been wanting to make a resume website for my non-techie fiance, and was unsure what sort of content to put up as far as “hands-on” non-techie experince goes, and you helped make it more clear with your page ideas, thanks!

  • Rav london

    you can try it online at http://www.cvrite.co.uk

  • Jean11919

    Resume with wordpress is really a good idea. Every now and then social media will play an important role in recruitment process. People should have to make full use of this medium, this post really help us in this regards. Checkout the http://www.bestsamplresume.com site to get professionally written sample resumes, which can help you in writing your professional resume.

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  • jondipietro

    I’m definitely not forgetting them – this is a response to the gaps I see them leaving. LinkedIn is great for networking and I spend quite a bit of time there. I also have an account with VisualCV, Facebook, and many other social sites. However, there are a couple of distinct advantages of having your own site. The first is compete control over the content, its format, and the keywords associated with your site. Many of the social sites have great tools, but in the end you can’t beat the flexibility of using your own WordPress site to display whatever you want, however you want. In the end, it will improve the search engine results for your personal identity. Speaking of which, you can’t monitor traffic on most of those sites the way you can with your own blog.

    Having said that, I agree that this approach should not replace those other sites. Rather, I see it as augmenting and aggregating them into a single personal brand.

  • http://www.jondipietro.com Jon DiPietro

    Glad you found it useful. One of the surprises I’ve seen in the few weeks since putting my resume online is the amount of inbound traffic from search engines. Best of luck to you.

  • http://www.jondipietro.com Jon DiPietro

    I think a WordPress CV is the perfect solution for someone like yourself that has a long and diverse background. By writing articles about each project, job, and skill set, you create a search engine indexed, searchable database of skills and experience for yourself. The keyword tags are really where the power of this approach come into play.

    Hosting your own WordPress site is the superior approach for a number of reasons. It’s quite inexpensive (about $50/year) to do so and provides you with much better SEO results and more flexibility than a hosted blog.