When I was a senior in college, I was obsessed with finding a job. I combed the now-archaic alumni database. I networked. I sent emails. I made follow-up phone calls. I attended networking events with a paper resume in hand and a black leather portfolio case in my bag at all times.
Luckily, it’s easier now. That is because everything–and I mean everything–is online.
I haven’t carried a physical portfolio since 2010 and even then, it probably looked like the modern day version of a flip phone.
I didn’t even bring a paper copy of my resume to my interview for my current job because I had it locked and loaded on my iPad.
As much as the job search and application process is different now than it was when I was an emerging college grad, there is one big constant: there is a lot of competition out there.
You need to be creative and find ways to set yourself apart.
My favorite tool right now is a website with a personalized domain extension, or URL, because they’re clean-looking, differentiated, and show career commitment—qualities any prospective employer wants to see.
If you’re looking for a way to add “creative” to this list of qualities, then veer away from the traditional “dot-com” domain. Now there are hundreds—literally, hundreds—of new domain extension options to break the status quo and stand out online.
When you put your resume or cover letter in front of an employer, a great website name will jump out at them, and ensure that they click forth to get to the good stuff.
You can be a .media, a .photography, a .marketing … the list goes on.
You should feel proud when you serve up your portfolio to a potential employer or hiring manager. Not embarrassed because your domain name is long, cumbersome and confusing. Using something up-and-coming also shows ingenuity and creativity.
Here are some of my favorite professional sites that use new domain extensions to stand out from the crowd.
Mark Johnson is a graphic designer based in Chicago, Ill., and the HMJ in his domain, www.hmj.graphics, stands for ‘Hire Mark Johnson.’ You can’t get more straightforward than that! His site features all the prerequisite information necessary to make it great: contact information, resume, work samples, and a short, colorful introduction.
Of course, his design is on brand, clean and professional, too. If I were looking for a great designer, I would hire Mark over someone with a dated, broken website.
When you want to use that super-specific domain name ending to tell the world what field you’re in, www.christianortiz.engineering is a solid example.
The site is creative and eye-catching in both name and aesthetics. It proves that Christian can “engineer amazingly creative solutions”—starting with his own website name.
Once you have your web presence streamlined, be sure to check that all links work, all images load properly, and you can receive emails to your custom email address. Even the smallest details—like the words to the right of the dot in your website—can help set you apart from the thousands of other resumes in someone’s inbox.
Louie Mantia, a prolific graphic designer who’s created smartphone icons for Apple and Square, grabbed a “dot-land” domain to showcase his graphic design portfolio, recently switching over from a “dot-me” (.me) domain.
His new website is modeled after the Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland. He picked www.louis.land because he wanted a fun website to match the fun icons and graphics featured on his site.
When the average corporate job listing results in 250 or more applicants, it’s hard to stand out, especially when you’re just starting your career. Creating a targeted professional website with a descriptive domain extension can catch a hiring manager’s eye, and be the key to breaking through in your job search.
This post originally appeared on JRM Comms.
Thoughts on new and traditional media, current events, life in Chicago and the occasional small Chihuahua photo.