By Lindsey Pollak
According to the Nielsen Company’s BlogPulse, there are over 161 million public blogs in existence. Clearly, writing a blog is an amazingly popular thing to do. But can writing a blog lead to career opportunities? The answer is increasingly yes.
When done in a professional way, writing a blog can lead to many benefits in your post-college job search, including real internship and job opportunities. Here are a few of the benefits of blogging:
- Enhancing your online personal brand and Google-ability
- Demonstrating skills such as writing, design, photography, and analytical thinking
- Showing your ability to take initiative and commit to a project
- Connecting you to a whole new network of other bloggers and commenters
Because the barrier to entry is so low — blogging platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger.com and Tumblr.com are all free — blogging is also something you can try for a while to see if you like it. If you do decide to join the blogosphere, here are some tips for getting started:
1. Write for the career you want. While it’s nice to blog about any topic that interests you, the only way your blog will help your job search is if you write about the industry you want to join. If a recruiter checks out your blog, he or she must know immediately what you’re interested in. One of my favorite blog posts by tech evangelist Robert Scoble puts it this way, “Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.”
2. Be very careful what you post. The major reason most job seekers don’t blog is because they’re afraid that blogging might hurt their chances more than help them. This is a very real concern. If your blog is filled with photos of cats playing the piano, rants about parking tickets or sad tales of relationships gone bad, you’re not going to impress any employers. Think of your blog as a purely professional forum and you should be just fine.
3. Be consistent. Although I said that you can give blogging a try before you commit entirely, once you do commit to being a blogger, you have to post consistently. (And if you decide you don’t like blogging, delete the entire blog from the web so it doesn’t look as if you abandoned the project. You can share your favorite past posts on Facebook or elsewhere.) It’s up to you whether you want to post once a day, once a week, every two weeks, etc., as long as you post consistently. If your posts are sporadic, it will appear that you’re not fully committed, which does not impress employers.
4. Drive people to your blog. The downside of being one blogger among 161 million is that people may have a hard time finding you. This means you have to be proactive about guiding people — especially potential employers — to your blog. As long as your blog is 100 percent professional, you should list it on your resume, your business cards, your LinkedIn profile, your email signature line, your Facebook contact information, your Twitter profile and anywhere else you can think of.
5. Drive blog readers to your credentials. On the flip side, you want to make sure anyone who comes across your blog is aware that you are a great job candidate. On the “About” page, be sure to include links to your LinkedIn profile and a PDF download of your resume.
Has blogging enhanced your career or helped you land a job? Please share!