How to Blog Your Way to a Job: Part Two, Five Reasons Why You Need to Blog to Launch Your Career
So you’re on the job hunt but you don’t have a blog. I know, I know, your resume should speak for itself, there are millions of blogs out there already, and you shouldn’t have to adapt to some new fad just to prove the skills it’s clear you have, right?
Trust me, I get it.
They are the same reasons why I was always so resistant to doing it myself for so long — you know, why bother? It won’t make any big difference, it won’t be the deciding factor in getting a job, and so on.
Here’s the thing: It actually can be a deciding factor in getting a job. Having a blog does help in a big way. You might not like that and that’s fine. But it’s true. (Check out Lindsey Kirchoff’s blog that netted her the dream job at precisely the company she targeted; also check out her blog about using inbound marketing in your job search.)
But for better or worse, social media — and with it, blogging — is here to stay.
It’s an integral part of the job hunt now, a new way of putting yourself out there so that employers can take notice and be impressed with your skill set, your industry knowledge, your analytical ability, your organizational ability, etc.
Still not convinced? Here are a few, more specific reasons why it’s time to take the plunge into the blogosphere:
Why A Blog Helps You Find a Job Reason #1: It’s Your Portfolio
As the world shifts more and more into the digital, your marketability as a hiring choice becomes more of a “show, don’t tell” proposition.
If you were applying for a job in photography, you would have a portfolio of photos to show off. For a videography job, you would have a Youtube account of different videos you’ve shot and uploaded online. For an advertising job, you would have to show an employer all the different ad campaigns you worked on, the social media campaigns and related materials you whipped up, etc.
A blog is no different. It’s your portfolio to showcase your writing, organizational, multimedia and design skills; it’s like a living, breathing portfolio on a topic near and dear to the hiring managers’ hearts.
It’s that simple.
It’s one thing to list on your resume all the different writing gigs you’ve had, or to identify yourself as a strong writer. But actions speak louder than words (or, in this case, words speak louder than…well, you get the point).
If your intention with a resume is to highlight all of your experiences and skills as a writer, then a blog will really get that point across to an employer; you will stand out. Anyone can tout their writing skills on a resume. A blog will prove that you’re as good as you say you are.
Here’s a great blog about using your blog as your digital portfolio.
Why A Blog Helps You Find a Job Reason #2: Become An Expert in What You Know
Maintaining a blog is a great way of teaching yourself and becoming knowledgeable (or even an expert) on the topic you’re blogging about.
Cooking, fitness, sports, politics, graphic design…whichever topic you choose to be the focal point of your blog, blogging about it will require you to thoroughly research your subject and stay up-to-date on the related news and issues.
In that way, blogging isn’t just a means of showcasing your skills, but it doubles as a great way to keep yourself informed on your subject and your industry, too.
And the more you know about your field, the more you can assert yourself as an informed player in conversations and job interviews with potential employers.
Why A Blog Helps You Find a Job Reason #3: Hone Your Craft
Regardless of how good a writer (or videographer or photographer or designer) you may be before you start blogging, you can always get better. And the only way to become a better at something is to do it regularly.
And doing it regularly is all about routine. Whatever ritual you have to help get yourself in the zone to write, it always boils down to, “I need to sit down and write this.”
The more often you do it, the more comfortable and routine it becomes, making it that much easier to not just blog at all but to do it consistently (which your readers will not only appreciate but also require of you).
Blogging regularly will make you more comfortable with the prospect of writing (and writing often) but having to edit your work will make you more aware of common, easy-to-miss mistakes: dropped words, grammatical issues, misused punctuation marks, blah, blah, blah.
The more you write, the better of a writer you’ll become.
Why A Blog Helps You Find a Job Reason #4: Networking
Blogging is another form of self-promotion, a means of getting yourself out there and in contact with key people in your field. Your blog should be focused on a narrow industry topic that forces you to interview the same key industry figures whom you’ll go back to when it’s time to start looking for work. (You won’t, however, ask them for a job but tell them you’re on the market and ask them what they’re hearing in terms of opportunities you might pursue.)
When reaching out to employers in whatever field you’re pursuing, you can always refer them back to your blog as proof of what you know and what you can do.
Or you can comment on other people’s blogs, always including links back to your own blog.
In this way, you can make yourself known online and establish ties with people who, ultimately and ideally, can lead you into a job in your field.
This kind of networking is quicker, deeper, more persona, and much more demonstrative of your skills and industry knowledge than simply shaking someone’s hand and giving them a business card.
Why A Blog Helps You Find a Job Reason #5: Money
Because really, isn’t this what it’s all about? A blog should help you get to a well-paying job, but who says you can’t get paid for the blog itself?
Granted, getting paid for blogging is not a common occurrence. The logistics of balancing an audience-friendly blog with monetization through ad revenue is tricky to pull off; your readers could simply migrate to another, advertising-free blog.
But it’s not impossible. Plenty of bloggers have managed to pull it off and now make money from their blog – and there’s no reason you can’t either.
At the end of the day, if you want to be a writer or a marketing person or a videographer or photographer or an analyst or almost any job that requires communication skills, you have to prove it.
There is no better way than starting a blog and showcasing your skills and industry knowledge while reaching out to and impressing the most important people in your field. Eventually it wil lead you down the yellow brick road and out of Kansas… or at least out of your parent’s basement…
(Check out Part One of our Blogging Your Way to a Job Series: “Why Your Blog May Be Failing to Get You a Job.”)
Creative Commons photo by Ed Yourdon