While it is not technically a necessity, having a professional website is very helpful if you want to launch a career as a remote worker.
As a remote worker, your professional website effectively acts as a more persuasive version of your resume.
When you are a remote worker, there is a good chance a lot of your work comes from temporary assignments, informally referred to as gigs. These projects have a set goal, which may take anywhere from several hours to several months to complete. Either way, upon completion, your employment is effectively terminated. Ideally, your client will have more work for you, but this is still technically a separate project.
As a result, your resume ends up being very chaotic. Remote workers typically end up with a bunch of small entries, which many hiring managers are not interested in reading. With a professional website, you can highlight the previous projects you have done, and give a much better example of what kind of work you are capable of producing. Your professional website will still contain your resume, but you can customize and make formatting tweaks, so your resume is easier to digest.
Uploading your resume is often the first step in designing a professional website. Most remote workers already have a copy of their on hand, so you do not have to worry about creating content. One of the easiest ways to upload your resume is to simply include a PDF link to your resume, so hiring managers can easily download and view your resume. However, uploading your resume in this way is not good for search engine optimization (SEO). Instead, you should consider creating separate pages for your resume directly on your professional website.
By creating actual pages for your resume, you are generating content that will show up in search engines. Setting up multiple pages also gives you a chance to customize your resume. Normally, you want to keep the content on your resume very straightforward. With your website, you have more freedom in including information, since hiring managers can directly jump to the sections that interest them. Overall, this method will take longer than simply uploading your resume, but it will greatly increase your chances of being noticed whenever a potential employer searches for your work history. Putting in the extra effort also helps make your website look a little more professional, which will help to impress potential employers.
Another advantage of hosting your own professional website is you can provide direct examples of your previous work. Providing previous examples of your work is very important as a remote worker. Even if you have a very impressive resume, hiring managers are skeptical if you do not have any samples to show. Whenever you do work for a client, you should ask the client if it is okay to include the work in your portfolio. As long as the client agrees, you can show these past projects on your website, so potential clients have an exact idea of what you are capable of. Having these past examples is also helpful, since it allows clients to make direct references to your previous work to give you an overall idea of what they are looking for.
One of the fancier ways to present this information is to create an elaborate timeline of your work history, inserting links to your previous work throughout the timeline. This is especially helpful if you have a long career as a remote worker. Clients may only be interested in your most recent examples, so they can just jump to the end of the timeline to see whatever you most recently created. Creating a timeline is also another way to show off your technical skills, which is another way to impress potential clients.
Including examples is very important, but you do not need to put an example of every single project you have ever completed. The most important projects to include are the outstanding ones. If you have worked on any large and difficult products and are happy with the end results, you should highlight these projects on your timeline. Hiring managers do not have time to look through every example, so only include examples you would normally show off as part of your portfolio in a face-to-face interview.
One of the most common mistakes remote workers make is designing a professional website, but not keeping the content up to date. If you lapse in updating your professional website, it will start to lose priority in search engines, defeating the point of having a website in the first place. How often you update is up to you, but at the very least, you should try and make an update once a month. If you are unsure what kind of updates to make, you can simply include the most recent projects you have worked on.
One of the hardest parts of creating your own website is creating the proper tone. It is actually possible to make your professional website appear too professional. Overall, the main focus of the website should be on your previous work and what skills you possess as an employee. However, it is important to include some elements of your personality as well. The easiest way to include this information is to include a separate section away from your resume, which acts as a personal biography page.
Your personal biography should effectively act as an elevator pitch. You can use it to introduce your skills, mention previous companies or projects you have worked on, but it is also a chance for you to include some of your personality. A good biography is at most a few paragraphs long. Adding some personality will make your website more memorable, but clients are not interested in reading your entire life story. If your biography ends up exceeding a single page in length, you are strongly encouraged to trim it down so it is at most three or four paragraphs long.
If you have any social media profiles, you can include these as links on your website, which is another way for employers to learn more about you. You should prioritize your professional links first, such as placing LinkedIn over your Twitter profile. If you feel your social media does not present the most professional image of who you are, it is perfectly acceptable not to include a link. For example, you may be comfortable sharing your GitHub link since it contains past examples of your work, but you may choose to withhold your personal Facebook account.