Last week, we noticed Twitter was buzzing with questions and tips regarding professional websites. We hopped on the train and decided to make that our focus for the week. We created a channel, #websitework on #GradStudentSlack. Students posted their websites for feedback, others provided some very appreciated advice, and a few provided questions for us to ask @NewPI_Slack and @FuturePI_Slack. Here we’re going to summarize some of the tips that were circulated last week. We hope it’s helpful, and if you have any more questions or advice, send us a tweet on @GradSlack or jump on our #websitework channel!
The first question asked was: “Do you have websites and how useful do you think they were for getting jobs or interviews?”
I did have website. No idea if it was helpful but did give me another thing to update and think about how I was presenting myself. On the other hand, I just turned it into my faculty page so I didn’t have to start from scratch this summer.
The first thing I’ll do when meeting an unknown scientist, or even if I do know them, is look at Google scholar. Making sure it’s up to date is a good idea. Websites, less so, but that’s a personal preference.
As someone who is currently hiring a postdoc: make a website! One that includes the things you have chosen to highlight and show to the world. It lets you build the narrative you want to convey. It’s both good for you and good for those trying to learn who you are.
Also, when I was on the faculty job market, there was a huge uptick in my website traffic between app submissions and interview requests. So people were definitely looking at it.
I agree with @DanTGrimes. I didn’t have a website when applying for postdocs. Having a professional presence such as LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and Google Scholar gives the information employers are initially looking for. Anything after that, they can ask at an interview.
I also didn’t have a website while looking for post docs, but it’s probably to your benefit to get one set up early so you can market yourself and your research interests (I need to also take my own advice, but I will have my website set up soon!)
I didn’t have one at the time of job search, but I did notice that a lot of people google searched for my name during the process (more than I expected). So I would make sure if you do have a presence on a lab website, ResearchGate, LinkedIn etc. To make sure they are up to date.
Personally, I don’t care about websites when recruiting, but I do need to see SOMETHING online. Linkedin, gscholar, github, whatever. Something that confirms your cv/expands on your cover letter.
As a grad student/postdoc I did not have a website. Can’t hurt, but a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, GoogleScholar, etc. would probably be more valuable. A well written cover letter and a clean CV (good formatting, easy to read and digest) are probable more important IMO.
Our second question was: “When did you set up your website? And did you buy your domain or not?”
Set it up a personal site when you start your PhD or even before. These days it’s nice for PIs to get more info on you. Then just convert to a lab website later.
GitHub.io is free, though depends on University policies
Low bar: wordpress. It gets the job done.
I personally use Blotter, wich is slightly more involved but produces some beautiful sites (e.g. Bedford.io or @EltingLab whose site I essentially copied)
I personally found wix.com to be very user friendly with a nice finishing look
Wix is pretty great. Other options along those lines include squarespace, yola, and weebly.