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Digital Resumes For Lawyers — The “How To” Part 3

September 26, 2011

The following is a multi-post “how to” series on setting up a digital resume like this one.  You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  You can read the entire article here.

Setting Up Your Website – Choosing A Host

I highly, highly, highly recommend that you set up your site at WordPress.com (“WP.com”).  This is a completely free website platform, and the functionality you get for the price is not to be believed.  I have four sites set up on WP.com:  PluggedInLawyer.com, AttorneysOnTheMove.com, TracyTC.com (my personal site) and TracyThrowerConyers.com (my resume site).

WP.com sites allow you to do almost anything you can do on other sites where you pay somebody to host the site, with the exception being that you can’t set up your WP.com sites to make money (ie, you can’t include pay-per-click advertising).  This makes them perfect for resume sites.

Another beautiful thing about WP.com is that the founders treat the platform as a labor of love and “giving back.”  They are on a mission to bring web publishing to the masses and have added all kinds of functionality in an easy to use way that we used to have to pay expensive programmers to create not that many years ago.

The instructions below assume that you are using WP.com.

Setting Up Your Website – The Backend

Let me start by saying the guys at WP.com have made website creation braindead simple.  I figured it out and you can, too.  It’s almost as simple as using wordprocessing software.

A long laundry list of helpful training videos for setting up WP.com sites is outlined in WordPress Sites So Easy That Even A Lawyer Can Set Them Up.

Whatever else you do, do not stress over design.  Start with one theme to work with to get your content up and running.  Then WP.com has 150 other designs that you can “try on” with the preview button on the themes page, once you have content to better help you visualize the right look for your resume.

I created my resume site using the Manifest theme.  I liked it because it’s very clean and keeps the visitor focused on the information I want them focused on.  Other themes that you can start with are Comet, Structure, Grid Focus, Rusty Grunge, Quintus, Piano Black, Pilcrow, Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven.  All of these themes are clean and elegant for lawyer resumes.

In addition to the laundry list of training videos referenced above, let me say a couple of words about settings in the backend that will have you up and running with a resume site in a matter of hours.

On the General Settings page, definitely upload a “Blog Picture/Icon.”  Ideally this is a version of your professional headshot that you upload on your welcome page.  This photo appears in lots of cool places, including the internet browser tab.

The site title should be your professional name.  You can play around with potential taglines.  Not all theme designs support a tagline.

Be sure and set up the Sharing Settings.  These settings allow visitors to print pages on your site, email pages and share pages through their networks.  Make it easy for somebody to recommend you.

These are the most important settings for our simple resume site.

Setting Up Your Website – Pages

As you can see from my resume site, I set up five pages – a welcome page, a CV page, a personal page, a writing samples page and a contact me page.  Actually you can’t tell as a casual observer, but I set up the welcome page and chose to have that page as my “static home page.”

Set up your own welcome page and define it as the static front page display under the Reading Settings (on the menu at the left, toward the bottom).  The page has to be set up before you can elect to make it your “static front page.”

I highly recommend that you include a photo on your welcome page.  The web is less formal than typical written lawyer resumes.  Website visitors connect with photos and appreciate that they aren’t looking at a page full of text.  Make sure your photo is professional.

Also in keeping with the less formal nature of the web, I chose to add a personal page.  I didn’t put much on this page, and a visitor doesn’t have to click on that page, if s/he isn’t interested.

Regarding your writing samples, if you want to keep these private for any reason, you have the ability to set up any page as a password-protected page.  On the page where you draft your content for that page, there is a “visibility” option in the upper right-hand area (near the “publish” button).  You can choose the password-protected visibility option.

You can also put up a school transcripts page and keep it password-protected, also.  I didn’t add this to my site because I don’t get many people asking for my transcripts since I stopped practicing law.

I also put up a contact page.  I’m leery about posting my personal contact information on the web, so I am using a web contact form.  Submissions through the form come right to my email inbox and my email address is not shared with people I don’t know.

To set up this contact form, open a “New Page,” give your page a title (“Contact Me”) and then beneath the title box and the permalink address, you’ll find a row of icons next to the words “upload/insert.”  Click on the last icon (“custom form”).  The form builder is very straightforward.

Take a second and click on the “email notifications” tab at the top of the formbuilder.  There you can define the subject line for the form submissions when they come to your email inbox.  Be sure and define something that will catch your eye.  You wouldn’t want to miss a message from somebody about your resume.  :)

On your CV page, simply paste your written resume there.  Preview the page to make sure you didn’t bring over any funky formatting.  I clipboarded my resume from LinkedIn and it looked fine with a little formatting clean-up.

So there you go.  In Part 1 we talked about the benefits of having a digital resume.  In Part 2 we talked about picking an appropriate domain name and setting up email branded to that domain name.  Today you get the critical settings on the backend that will have you patting yourself on the back as a newly minted webmaster in no time.

Tomorrow?  Attaching your domain name to your new site and other bonus tips for leveraging your new site in Digital Resumes For Lawyers — The “How To” Part 4.

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