Looking for a job? Good news: 2016 is the first time since the 2008 financial crisis that unemployment has dipped – and remained – below 5 percent. But with countless applicants flooding desirable openings, how can you grab top recruiters' attention?
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Plastering your name on a billboard across the street from your dream employer wouldn't be cost-effective (though you would certainly stand out), and calling everyone in the company is more likely to get you blacklisted than hired. You could engage in some more extreme job seeking by trying the wildly unique solutions others have come up with, from turning your resume into a "wanted" poster to creating an official Amazon page for yourself.
But not everyone has the skills to dazzle with design. As CMO for the registry operator of a new domain extension (.CLUB), I can suggest a simpler way to get noticed: a personal domain name.
How a Personal Domain Unlocks Doors
These days, HR professionals are going to stalk – I mean, Google – you before making a hiring decision. This is a big reason why 71 percent of surveyed job seekers say having a website is important to building a personal brand, and a smart domain name will make that website even more effective. What's on the first page of search results for your name? What does an employer think when seeing your email address?
A unique and customized domain name for your personal website offers a great way to stand out from competitors submitting traditional paper resumes. It's an adjunct method of presenting yourself as a creative, cutting-edge innovator in the digital age.
Done right, a personal domain boosts your digital presence in four ways, helping you:
1. Exude Professionalism
Your personal domain is a banner proclaiming your professionalism. Do you think best-selling author Seth Godin's blog would have become so popular if it were located at "catlover323.com"?
If you're lucky, your own name may still be available as a .com domain. If it has been taken, consider using an alternative extension to add flair and meaning to your name in a web address. You can create a unique extension with your name, as WordPress cofounder Matt Mullenweg did for his personal website, ma.tt.
Even if you don't build a flashy website, a personalized email address like email@example.com makes a great first impression. Your first communication with potential employers will likely be via email, so an address like firstname.lastname@example.org is a one-way ticket to the trash folder. Luckily, new extensions – such as .accountant, .photography, or .design – can say a lot about who you are and what you do, and they can personalize your email address and domain name even further.
2. Control the Narrative
Does your digital presence say "competent professional," or is it a bunch of selfies from your college days? While embarrassing photos remain on the web forever, a website with a personal domain can ensure they aren't first-page Google results.
A personal domain influences how people find you on the internet. Using common search engine optimization strategies, you can rocket your professional website to the top of the search results. Consequently, when you control your domain, you minimize the risk of searchers stumbling across content that casts you in a less-than-stellar light.
3. Consolidate Your Experiences
In today's gig economy, many people work on a contract basis, so a new project equals a new email address. The resulting inbox graveyard buries opportunities and annoys business contacts who have been emailing old addresses.
As far back as 2002, folks were registering for personal domains to use when signing up for social sites. Today, you have more choices than ever to find the right domain for yourself. Even if you're not a temporary worker, you probably won't work for one company your entire life. Think of a personal domain as a long-term career investment.
4. Direct Traffic From You Back to Yourself
Although author Joshua Fields Millburn has built a strong presence on The Minimalists, he uses his personal domain to direct visitors to places he can be found online. And while musician Matisyahu is active on Dreampatron, he also promotes www.Matisyahu.club. It's an easy-to-remember URL that drives traffic to his profile on the music patronage site.
Once you've crafted a website at your domain, be sure to connect it to your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles. If you have a personal blog, link to that, too. Consider your personal domain the online hub of your personal brand.
For job seekers in the internet age, there's no better long-term branding tool than a personal domain. It's your permanent address on the internet, and now there are more opportunities than ever before to find a personal domain that says something about you, allowing you to truly stand out.