Like an OKCupid profile, but not
August 16, 2016 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Will this website get me a job?

This website.

This is my professional website. I'll be putting it on my resume as part of the contact info.

Things I would love your candid opinion on:
  • What do you think of the website in general? Would you hire me for QA or SA work?
  • I know my About Me personal statement sucks, but I don't know what to say. Do you?
  • I have hidden the website from search engines, and my work samples and performance reviews are password-protected. I thought people would learn of the website strictly from my resume, which would include the login info. The idea is that my current job wouldn't know I am looking, and randos wouldn't have access to my personal details. Do you think that's a good plan?
  • Should I put it on my LinkedIn page or not? I have many connections at my current job.
  • If you looked at it, what do you think of my code? Is it the kludgey mess a self-taught beginner (such as I am) would make, or is it passable?
  • Any other thoughts?
Thanks for any help you can give me!
If you have any questions for me, please contact me.

I'm posting anonymously because I would prefer not to associate my real name with my MeFi username.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hi! Welcome to the land of personal websites -- it's a jungle out there so congrats on getting started!

First things first, from one QA person to another, I will be honest: no, your website doesn't sell your skills because it's a bit outdated in terms of function and aesthetics. IMO, unless you absolutely have to demonstrate your coding ability for a specific job, I'd sign up for and adhere your personal domain to that rather than code anything yourself (though props to you for giving it a go because it's not easy to do). Squarespace is an industry standard right now for many people because it offers a lot of visitor-friendly website templates with a user-friendly content management system to go along with them. I suggest you not include a music player no matter what site you end up using, though thank you for making it an optional thing rather than one of those autoplay thingies that scare the crap out of me when I load a website in a new tab.

Re: password protected work samples. Unless your work samples contain highly confidential, proprietary information that your previous employers or coworkers would be hella pissed to know you've posted online, your portfolio should have no password protected sections because all that does is create another barrier between you and a potential employer who needs to take 5 second look at your stuff to see if you're a viable job candidate. You have so many neat things that you've done, and your accomplishments across the board should be highlighted in all the best ways -- don't hide the proof that you did it!

Re: LinkedIn/contact info. Yes, definitely include a link to your LinkedIn profile. This is an essential aspect of being in the tech industry and it makes it so, so much easier for recruiters to find and connect with you through a known job network. As for your contact info, if you go with Squarespace it has a contact form module that will allow people to get in touch with you without you having to divulge your phone number, email, or address. You can still include those things on your resume, which should be available in PDF format if possible, but if you're really concerned about Google trawling your data, you can take a screenshot of your resume and upload it as an image so people can see it but not copy info off of it unless they're really motivated to. However, at a certain point it's probably best to accept that your data is out there already, and it's better in the long run to make contact info accessible so if someone wants to hire you, they can get in touch much more easily.

Re: your personal statement. It's cute! I love that profile image! If that's the side of you that you want potential employers to see, excellent. It also might be good to have a nice professional headshot done, perhaps in black and white, so that your about me section is clean and crisp and shows that your QA abilities extend to everything you do, not just the work you do for other people.

If you'd like to, I'd be happy to share my portfolio site with you (though I'm in a different field now than you are) so you can see what I've been using to attract recruiters lately. MeMail me and I'll shoot you the URL. :) Though once you start checking out Squarespace, I think you'll find a ton of way better examples of how awesome your professional profile can be!
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:29 PM on August 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

I don't know what QA or SA are, so I'm probably not your target market. That said, I went to the about you page and couldn't figure out how to get back (other than the back key), so if I figured it must be the little arrow, even though the arrow points in the wrong direction. So I click the arrow and I'm instantly annoyed by the "auto-play" loud music.

Now in retrospect, I get that the arrow wasn't an arrow but a play button, but you can never undo my moment of annoyance at your site. Unless QA or SA require that you be able to set up a web site that plays music, I would get rid of this. If it does require that I think it needs to be crystal clear that music will be playing if you hit that button.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:34 PM on August 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, I clicked some of the samples (so now I know what QA and SA are) and they asked for passwords. And when I cancelled out they went to an error screen instead of just back to your web page.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:36 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well, since you do have a number of typos ("position" is misspelled twice, and "opportunities" is also misspelled), so do proof more carefully.
posted by carrienation at 8:40 PM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

All of this should be in your resume and cover letter, not a website. Ask A Manager talks a lot about how online sites like Linked In or personal blogs are no substitute for a good resume, because they make the interviewer have to search for the information they need in an unfamiliar format. For example, QA and SA mean nothing to me until I click on them, so I've already had to do work that I shouldn't have to do. Then the information on the pages is all mushed together and it's difficult to parse how it would apply to any particular job. Plus you mention that this isn't your best work, which I think hurts your chances. One advantage to cover letters is you customize them to highlight the parts of your experience that specifically address the requirements in the job ad. And giving employers personal info like a photo and an "about me" section just isn't done in the US job search process. I think its inclusion will throw a lot of employers off. Then there's the music, which is just a definite no.

Sorry that this sounds extremely harsh, but I really don't think this website will help you. When I want to show online examples of my work I include URLs in my cover letter, which interviewers may or may not visit, and then bring a USB drive with examples of my work with me to the interview where I can show it on request, and only on request.
posted by MsMolly at 8:56 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

One other site maker alternative is Here are a few portfolio examples that might serve you well if you want to keep things simple and easy to use...
Example A
Example B
Example C
Example D
Example E
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:07 PM on August 16, 2016

Mod note: From the OP:
Thanks, everybody! Your input is extremely helpful! I hope you will keep it coming!

People who know me IRL have all said, "It's great!" -- which is nice, but not nearly as helpful as your unbiased opinions. I do want to code my own website -- it's fun for me -- even if it works against me a little (I hope it's only a little). I can certainly redo the design, if it's dated.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:10 PM on August 16, 2016

I love it! However it shows your artistic/creative side very well but not your technical side. I do think it is a very original way to stand out but if I was hiring for dev/qa/project manager position I would want to see more technical stuff interwoven with the creative. So basically be creative in displaying the techi stuff. With that in place you would definitely get me looking at you as a person who can think outside the box unlike the very boring resumes I see for tech positions.
posted by metajim at 11:11 PM on August 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

I too maintain a hand coded personal website, purely for the fun. I even have a blog there with opinions and stuff. It's linked on my LI and I use my domain for my email so it's not hard to find. My opinion is that in 2016 I don't want to work for anybody that would find it off putting. Personally I much prefer a quirky hand coded personal site over another SquareSpace or Wordpress template, but then I work in the web industry so I'm probably not representative there. I don't know about the password protected stuff though. I would assume most companies consider performance reviews confidential company property. I've never even considered sharing them. And why hide work samples? Again, it's 2016. Promoting yourself online and networking is generally encouraged. It doesn't mean you are looking for a lob. And by doing it all the time you make it just part of how you do stuff so that nobody can really tell if you are self-promoting to find a new job or not.
posted by COD at 5:14 AM on August 17, 2016

I accidentally clicked on the text while reading your QA, SA, and About pages and was surprised to have the info I was reading disappear. It would be much better to have those as actual pages, I think, or at least have an alternate way of closing the modal windows. What if I were a potential employer who wanted to copy a bit of your text into my notes? Having it vanish would annoy me.

The lack of warning about password-protected files is also a little annoying. And the error message you get if you aren't logged in is unprofessional. At least set up a custom error page that tells viewers HOW to get access to these files; right now it just looks like you made a mistake.
posted by belladonna at 6:21 AM on August 17, 2016

Is there a reason you're using a yahoo email address for your "contact me" link, rather than one at your own domain? I think switching would look more professional. From a usability standpoint, I'd rather see something like "Contact me at" rather than just "Contact me."

The photoshop gallery is the place where you *should* be using modal windows (rather than your main content pages), so people don't have to hit the back button after viewing an image. (Actually, I probably wouldn't include this section on a professional website, but if you want to give a sense of your personality, I can see why you might.)
posted by belladonna at 6:46 AM on August 17, 2016

I'm confused too. Can someone please post to explain what QA ad SA mean?
I don't understand how you can post anonymously but link to a professional profile.,
Sorry if I'm missing something
posted by sconbie at 7:28 AM on August 17, 2016

Mod note: This is another followup from the asker.
I have definitely profited from all of your suggestions, and have made (and will make) many changes! One thing is that the Photoshops and the music are partly to find an employer who would put up with my real personality, and partly to forestall potential age discrimination. I am in my mid-forties, overweight, dress like a nun, wear glasses and have completely gray hair -- so I am trying for "young and fun", or at least immature. Thanks, again!
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:29 AM on August 17, 2016

When I was looking at your Photoshop samples, after opening an image, I had to hit 'Back' to get back. I was expecting some sort of navigation on the page, or to be able to hit ESC to get out of the image, but there was none. I'm not your target audience, but it feels like this is more of a personal site than a resume site. There's more info on the About Me than there seems to be on the QA and SA.
posted by hydra77 at 9:48 AM on August 17, 2016

I don't know if you've made any changes since posting last night, but this site screams of someone in their mid-forties trying to be young and fun and just missing the mark and looking unprofessional in the process. I would use squarespace or hire a designer.
posted by greta simone at 9:57 AM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

The answer to your question about "Will this site help me get a job?" is probably not.

- As you said, you've hidden it from search engines so people will be coming to it from your resume. What does this site tell anyone that already has your resume? Not very much without that password for the portfolio items, which hiring managers are unlikely to ask for (because that's a huge hurdle for them as they browse a stack of resumes, especially if they have to contact you to get it.) You are not thinking like a hiring manager here at all. Supply them freely with your best resume and bring the portfolio items that you can't put on the web to the interview.

- It's not professional. Sorry to be blunt about it. But the colour palette and the About Me sections are just not workplace-focused. That's okay! I have a site that is more about my personality than my job. But your question was will it help you get a job. There's also something about the interplay between your circles of information for QA & SA & About and your background that make the whole thing look off-kilter, which isn't the impression you want to give for QA especially.

- Your site reads to me like you don't understand what the critical information for a job search is, and if you can't deliver the most important information to me as a hiring manager, I am not confident about your documentation abilities.

- You've made a classic resume mistake here which is that your information is focused around what you did rather than results. It's hard! But I would read up on current thinking about resumes. An example would be "contributing to a reduction in nonconformance incidents by 9%" or whatever

- The javascript popups are hard to navigate away from as people have noted. I'm not sure why you've chosen that format.

- As a 45 yr old woman I advise against trying to look young and hip or whatever. Even in your statement about it you're saying that you want to filter for age discrimination, but look young. The result is, I think, you're not coming across at all as a professional.

You would be much better off just giving people your Linked In profile and keeping that up to date.

I say all this warmly; job hunting is really hard and site standards change a lot. I would definitely create a website for fun, but I would not use it for job search purposes.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:50 PM on August 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Looking at the work examples under 'QA' I was annoyed to find that clicking back did not bring me back to the page I'd been on before -- bothersome. As was clicking back, clicking back, clicking back to look at the "Photoshops," which I would not put on a professional web site. The "Unauthorized" result when trying to look at something under "SA" was bizarre.

The music: dear god, why?

The portrait: why not a nice professional headshot?

It feels like you wanted both a professional and a personal web site and tried to smush them together. I am not a hiring-type person, but I don't think this will work in your favour.

"One thing is that the Photoshops and the music are partly to find an employer who would put up with my real personality" -- but they do not want to hire a fun personality; they want a competent professional.

"...and partly to forestall potential age discrimination. I am in my mid-forties, overweight, dress like a nun, wear glasses and have completely gray hair -- so I am trying for "young and fun", or at least immature." But "immature" is a negative, more so than middle age. Few people will want to hire..."quirky." If you "dress like a nun," take the old advice about dressing for the job you want. My read, especially from the multiple "fun" Photoshopped pix of yourself is that you are more "quirky" than I would want to deal with in a professional environment, and that professionalism might be a problem overall. Do you want a job, or do you want to be quirky? If you want a job, throw on a bit of make-up, a nice blazer, do something tidy with your hair, and at minimum get a friend with a good camera and some skill to take some head shots. Look like the professional you want to be paid as, not like..."trying for young and fun."

There probably is an employer out there who would think "This person looks like a riot! I can't wait, I'll even pay her to do pix of all of us in old-fashioned outfits!" But that person is going to be very hard to find. The age discrimination will be worse with the current presentation, I fear.

If I command-click on your resumé or Linkedin it shuts down the page I was on. Again, the navigation is frustrating. But! On Linkedin I finally find something that gives me, the theoretical employer, significant pause:

"[Name] was a pivotal team player of the quality inspection group at [Company]. As demonstrated by her thorough investigations, she is incredibly intelligent, dependable, and meticulous..."

I'd do a short professional site, have my kicks on a personal site, and, never the twain shall meet, etc. You look like you have a lot to offer but it is SO BURIED on your site right now.
posted by kmennie at 7:17 PM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like it.

Spell out QA and SA.

Choose something else as your headshot, but feel free to include it in your art.

I think the About Me is nice and genuine and refreshing.

A lot of the language in QA and SA is about what tasks you did, but doesn't tell me what you achieved. Ok you managed all that money... did you manage it well? what were the results of that?
posted by jander03 at 10:46 PM on August 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

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