On episode 75 of The Nurse Keith Show, we delve into the challenges of a crowded job marketplace and whether having a personal website can help you in your
nursing job search.
On September 19th, 2016, I published “Why Nurse Job-Seekers May Want A Personal Website” on my blog, Digital Doorway. While not everyone wants or needs a personal website, it’s yet another tool for creating a robust presence that leverages how you’re different from other job-seekers and makes you unique. This site can be imbued with tons of personality, giving the visitor a very clear picture of who you are as a person and a professional.
Also known as a “social resume”, a personal website is a little corner of the Internet that you can own in the interest of your career and professional development.
In that blog post, I wrote:
When you hear me say “having your own personal website”, you may automatically begin coming up with excuses why it’s not possible:
- “I don’t know anything about website design.”
- “It must be expensive.”
- “How would anyone even see my website, anyway?”
- “None of my colleagues have a website and they seem to always find jobs.”
- “I’ve never needed a website before.”
- “Some article I read on the Internet said it’s a bad idea.”
Well, yes, all of this may seem true; you’ve never needed a website before, and most of your colleagues would never think of having one. However, the job market is changing, competition for nursing jobs seems to be tightening up these days, and creating a name for yourself and standing out from the crowd does seem more and more difficult to do in a noisy job marketplace. So why not give yourself a leg up? This may be even more crucial for those who want to break into management, a C-level position (eg: Chief Nursing Officer), or other higher-level positions within or outside of healthcare.
Meanwhile, your LinkedIn profile is definitely like your own mini website, and most of you know that I’m a huge proponent of LinkedIn for nurses and non-nurses alike. Still, since a LinkedIn profile will always look like a LinkedIn profile, your own personalized website might be what you’d like to use in order to brand yourself even more distinctly.
When you’re seeking to build a personal website, you have many choices, of course. You can sink lots of money into hiring a web designer ($2,000 to $5,000 is a decent ballpark cost for the design), or you can use SquareSpace, Weebly, Wix, or WordPress templates in order to make a fairly simple “drag and drop” site.
Make sure you purchase your very own domain name that brands you as a professional; please don’t buy a domain with someone else’s domain name in the suffix (eg: JimTheNurse.wordpress.com).
Since .com domains can be expensive and hard to obtain, consider using one of the other suffixes, like .info, .me, .net, .us, or .online. So, if your name is Donald Duck, and you’re an RN, BSN, you can consider purchasing DonaldDuckRN.me or something along those lines. Consider making sure that you have your name and perhaps your credentials in the domain name.
You can consider including the following on your site:
- A significant “About” page, with the story of who you are and what makes you tick
- A welcome video, or links to your YouTube channel, if you have one
- Testimonials from colleagues
- A few downloadable versions of your resume (leave out your personal mailing address)
- Links to your other platforms (eg: LinkedIn, Twitter, etc)
- Highlighted information about your areas of greatest expertise, experience, and knowledge
- Photographs that show you in action (eg: photos of you in front of the helicopter if you’re a flight nurse, or photos of you giving a presentation to a roomful of nurses if you’re a clinical nurse educator)
Is a Website Going To Work For You?
Not everyone in the job marketplace will need or want a personal website. For many, your LinkedIn profile, StaffGarden ePortfolio, resume, and business card may seem like enough, and that’s totally fine. It’s truly up to you, and no one can decide for you.
There are mixed reviews of the effectiveness of personal websites on the job search process, and some “studies” are actually conducted by the companies that actually create such sites, so the authenticity of those studies is questionable. In 2011, the New York Times offered a somewhat guarded recommendation of the usefulness of such sites, and Business Insider recommended them strongly in 2015. Meanwhile, Bloomberg nixed the idea completely in 2013.
I can’t tell you if a personal website will do you any good, but I do know that this practice is becoming more common. Whether the trend lasts is impossible to say, but early adopters could find themselves with a leg up on other applicants, or there may be disappointment if some of you feel it wasted your time bothering to set one up.
What you do in order to set yourself apart in the job marketplace is a very personal choice of strategy. Like I said in episode 71, you can create your own podcast to showcase your professional prowess; or, like I said in a post on Digital Doorway, nurses like my new colleague Brian Perry are creating YouTube channels to accomplish various career goals. Meanwhile, some job applicants are taking out their own ads on Facebook to target companies they want to reach. It takes all kinds, folks.
If you want to innovate and do something out-of-the-box or unique, a personal website is one way to go. I do not 100% endorse the idea for everyone, but it may be worthwhile in specific cases.
Dig deeper, figure out what may work for you, and then go for it; after all, you’re a nurse, and you can use the assessment, reassessment, and evaluation processes to decide your next move.
This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is brought to you by my friends at StaffGarden, a unique digital healthcare company allowing nurses to create a private online ePortfolio that StaffGarden shares with high-quality employers (with your permission, of course) in order to connect you with the best facilities and positions.
StaffGarden partners with fantastic employers seeking the best candidates in the nursing profession; through powerful partnerships with the recruiters and talent acquisition professionals employed by these healthcare leaders, they deliver your ePortfolio directly to the people who are looking for nurses just like you.
Having a StaffGarden ePortfolio and landing a job with a partnering employer costs you nothing. However, your ePortfolio will get you noticed for positions that you would likely not have access to through traditional ads or job postings.
As a nurse, partnering with StaffGarden adds depth and breadth to your job search process, as well as your exposure to some of the most progressive healthcare employers in the country. Allow SG to work for you and connect you with some of the greatest job opportunities in 21st-century healthcare.
The NNBA and Networking Nurses
In the fall of 2015, I recorded episode 29 of the Nurse Keith Show from Las Vegas, Nevada, where I was glowing from a glorious time at the annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA). Well, from October 14th to 16th of this year, I’ll be back at the 2016 NNBA conference with bells on, and I’m super psyched that Kevin Ross and Elizabeth Scala—my partners in crime at RNFM Radio—will also be with me.
Just as a heads up, the three of us from RNFM Radio will be putting on a pre-conference workshop where attendees will be able to learn the basics of podcasting, and actually go home with all of the information they need to actually launch a podcast on a shoestring. There are other great pre-conferences on the schedule, as well, but we obviously want you to come to ours because it’s going to be fantastic. Check it all out here.
The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The PodcastingGuy.com; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.
Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!
Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.