What to Include on a Cover Page

What to Include on a Cover Page
by Kit Warchol
September 08, 2016
WEEK 2 / THE SITE BUILD
This article is part three of our Digital You Month, a collaboration with Squarespace.
Think of it like a business card—the starting point for establishing your digital presence. 
The beauty of a cover page is that it’s as much a placeholder as it is a personal site. Ultimately, many people should consider moving on to a full-fledged website complete with a portfolio section, but the key to any job search is to establish your online presence as soon as possible.

Setting up a fully functional personal site requires a lot of planning, gathering, strategizing, photo editing…you get the idea. You’ll get there. But in the meantime, if you don’t have a website, starting small is a great way to get started. The longer your site is up, the more people see it—that math is simple.

OK, REAL TALK: WTF IS A "COVER PAGE?" 

A cover page is an intermediary solution for when you’re short on time (or just energy). It’s a single landing page that helps you capture all the elements of your career and experience in one place, meaning you can simply point a potential employer or client to one URL to find out more about you. Basically, it's a one-page site.
For creatives, a landing page might include links off to previous work along with links to Instagram or your blog if you're already running one. For corporate types, you'll probably focus on mirroring your LinkedIn summary, but demonstrating a little personality. If you're feeling crazy, you might throw in a couple testimonials from past employers. But really, your personal pitch will suffice. 
Regardless of your industry, building a cover page is a technique that will set you apart from other applicants. It gives you an edge by demonstrating your personality and allows you to put your own spin on your work experience and interests. Plus Squarespace's cover pages are as well designed as their site templates—making you look very visually and tech savvy. Polished, professional, digitally present…party on. 
Adding a page and picking a page template (left) / My cover page (right). View the live page here.

cover pages for the Creative Job Seeker

Is This Me? 

Consider whether you fit this description:
  1. What you do with your hands (or mouse or keyboard) is what you want to do for a living.
  2. When we say “what do you have in your portfolio?” you can think of clear examples.
  3. Your goal is to land a job (or promotion or freelance gig) that relies on your creative work. 
If this is you, your cover page should emphasize your skills, personality, and (maybe most importantly) your aesthetic.

What to Include:

Pro Tip: Pin me for later!
  1. Personal Pitch. We’ve got a step-by-step guide for that right here. Creatives are often seeking different forms of employment—some people want the stability of a full-time job, some want to make their own hours by working with clients on contract—so make sure to clarify exactly what sort of work you’re after. If you’re only available for freelance jobs, let ‘em know. If you’re seeking a full-time gig at a company, make sure that’s included in your pitch.

    Let them know what you don't want to do, too. If you’ve worked in design and marketing, but you’re so-freaking-tired of doing design work, make that clear as well. This is your space to call out what you want as much as it is a place to play up your experience and skills. (Pro Tip: you can use the same pitch as your LinkedIn summary.) 
  2. Links to your social media accounts with a particular emphasis on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Dribbble (depending on your industry). This is your chance to showcase the way you think and your style, especially if you haven’t had much formal experience in your industry. We know several people who have been hired based on the eye they demonstrated on Instagram or Tumblr alone. BTW, you will still want to include your LinkedIn profile in case any larger companies are considering you for a job.
  3. Links to examples of your past work. Eventually, you’ll want to set up a full-fledged site complete with a portfolio section that includes detailed summaries of all your past projects, but for your cover page, stick to links. Point people to places where they can read past articles you've written or see a YouTube video of an ad campaign you worked on, whatever you can share that plays up your expertise. 
  4. Contact email address (or form). Make it easy for people to get in touch. You can always set up an info@yoururl.com account if you don’t feel comfortable putting your personal email address on your site. But especially for freelance, you want to make it easy for people to, you know, hire you.  

cover pages for the Corporate Job Seeker

Is This Me? 

  1. You’re working in an industry where much of your experience is team-based.
  2. Maybe your work isn't public, meaning you don't totally feel comfortable sharing your past projects online. 
  3. Maybe you’re a project manager at a marketing firm, maybe you’re in finance, maybe you’re in operations at a non-profit—regardless, your skills are hard to provide visuals for.

What to Include:

Pro Tip: Puh-puh-puh-puh-pin me. 
  • Personal Pitch. If you haven't written one, we've got a step-by-step guide for that right here. Corporate job seekers will want to play up the companies they’ve worked for, titles (if they’re glamorous) and results (did you improve profits by 12% in 2015? Do you have a proven track record improving team dynamics as a manager?).

    Incidentally, you can use this pitch both on your cover page and as your LinkedIn summary. If you're already happy with your LinkedIn Summary? You just passed Go. Just copy it onto your cover page. 
  • You may want to include links to some of the companies you’ve worked for, especially if they’re in the industry where you’re seeking employment.
  • Testimonials. if you feel comfortable, asking a former coworker or employer for a testimonial specific to the skills you’d like to use in your next job is an ideal way to “show not tell” about your work history. Let’s say you want to work in social media—make sure the testimonial includes mention of your past work in that area.
  • Links to your social media with a particular emphasis on LinkedIn  Make it easy for people to see your presence elsewhere. If you'd prefer to keep your other social channels private, that's totally fine—just make sure they are, in fact, private. And don't forget to update your LinkedIn profile. Doing it at the same time as you build your Squarespace cover page will ultimately save you time. 
  • Contact email address. Make it easy for people to get in touch. 

So What's Next?

1. Register for a Squarespace Trial + Pick Your Template 

Get started with your free 14-day trial to get started ASAP.  You'll need to pick a template and there are a ton of options, which admittedly, can feel a bit daunting. Good thing we made a quiz to help you determine the best choice(s) for your needs. It's like an interactive cheatsheet.

2. Watch the Recap of Our Live Q&A For Help with Your Site

Our live Q&A webinar featuring a Squarespace expert took place earlier this month. The good news is: you can still watch the recap. 
Pro tip: You can watch this recap anytime. 

3. Make Use of Your Squarespace x Career Contessa Discount

Once you're ready to go live with your site, don't forget to use our discount code CONTESSA to get 10% off your Squarespace account. 

4. Come Hang Next Thursday

We'll also be back next Thursday with a series of interviews with real Squarespace users in a variety of fields. Because, you know, we love hearing how other women take charge of their work.
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This article is part of our Digital You Month. Don't forget to use our special code CONTESSA to get 10% off your Squarespace site. 
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