Guest Post: Set Up a Personal Brand Home Base
Today’s post in Internship Week is actually a guest post. (Oh my!) Today’s advice comes from Shep McAllister, a sophomore at Trinity University. If the name sounds familiar, that’s probably because you read his previous two contributions The Best iPhone Apps for Students and Dealing with a Car Accident in College. Let’s see what he’s got to say about putting yourself online for that killer internship you just zeroed-in on.
These days, any employer considering you for a position or internship is likely to Google your name. While there is no overstating the importance of maintaining a clean and respectable online identity on social networks and blogs, it never hurts to have a personal page, an online business card if you will, designed specifically to show your would-be bosses just how tech-savvy you are. You don’t necessarily need to know anything about HTML to set up an online faceplate, as there are many ways of doing this. (HackCollege wrote about this way back when, but the process needs some updating.)
Secure Your Name
Before you do anything, go find out if your name is available as a domain to purchase. Even if you don’t intend on using a vanity URL for this project, the $10 per year (give or take) purchase will almost certainly be a worthwhile investment down the road. I use GoDaddy.com, but there are any number of other sites that register domain names. (Use the code ‘REV3′ to support my past internship and save $2.50 on your domain name order. ~Kelly)
With that out of the way, let’s make a page for your next potential employer. If all you want is a place on the web with some links to your social networks, an email address, or a copy of your résumé, just create a free blog, and add all of this information in a post. If you want to link to any files (such as the aforementioned résumé), I would suggest putting them in a public Dropbox folder, and link to it there. The URL to your blog post won’t be business card friendly, and this option isn’t going to impress anybody, but there is no simpler way to go about creating an online faceplate.
Get Snazzy with Card.ly
An attractive, albeit highly limited option is a service called Card.ly. This nifty tool will make an attractive online card with links to your social networks and blogs to show off your online presence, as well as contact information and a personal bio (in which you can link to your résumé). You can even generate an embeddable badge to put in your email signature. There is a free version, but the $24.99/year premium version gets you more skins, the ability to use your personal domain name, and removes the free version’s ads, which is probably a good idea if you’re sending this to employers.
Or Splurge with MobileMe
If you’re a loyal Mac user like myself, a (go ahead and laugh) MobileMe subscription integrates with iWeb as a capable, albeit limited hosting solution. The $70/year (via Amazon) pricetag and the limited control over your site’s source code means that this isn’t for everyone, but there is no easier way to make a beautiful website with limited developing experience. Like Card.ly, you can link to all of your online profiles and use your own domain name, but you can also embed examples of your work, create your own layout, and work with multiple pages.
This post isn’t designed to teach you HTML, CSS, or website creation, nor am I at all qualified to teach such things. That said, if you have the ability to create your own site, do it. You may not be able to create anything as pretty as Card.ly, or one of Apple’s iWeb templates (I sure can’t), but the fact that you did it yourself can impress potential employers while offering you complete freedom of control. It can be a longwinded, multipage site with every detail of your professional life, a simple page with a few links, or anything in-between. With plenty of free hosting options available, it is also very affordable.