When blogging first became a thing, bloggers were dismissed as amateurs who used the platform primarily as an outlet for whining. That unfair characterization, of course, has radically changed by now, with countless professionals earning their entire income from blogging, and Fortune 500 companies carefully curating blogs of their own.
But blogs today can do even more than that. In fact, when approached the right way, a good blog can land you your dream job, whether you’re out of work entirely or you’re stuck in a role that’s not quite you and are looking for a promotion for which you might not yet seem qualified. How so? Let’s take a look.
1. Makes You Stand Out From the Crowd
First and foremost, a well-written blog that’s updated frequently and that’s amassed a fair following is flat out impressive. After all, you’re presumably doing this in your free time when you could be playing video games or watching TV (or maybe that’s what your blog is about…), and instead you’ve dedicated yourself to frequent high quality updates. This demonstrates passion, discipline, and organizational and time management skills.
But even more than that, a good blog can really demonstrate subject mastery. This is especially so if your blog is dedicated to thought leadership within your industry—even more so if you’ve taken a particularly vociferous stance on key industry issues that may or may not run counter to established opinion.
Still, thought leadership isn’t the only approach. As long as you keep your tone positive and fun, just demonstrating your humor and voice while discussing a wide range of subjects can give hiring managers a great sense of who you are and why you might be great to work with. After countless hours spent poring across resumes and cover letters that all start with, “Dear Sir or Madame,” your blog will be a breath of fresh air.
2. Helps You Network With the Right People
Slapping a blogpost or two up on a Blogger is one thing; running a blog with high readership is another. To get eyes on your blog, you’ll have to do a lot of networking, whether that means reaching out to key industry influencers on social media or commenting frequently on high quality sites so that more readers head your way. Again, that demonstrates a lot of initiative and marketing savvy to employers.
But perhaps even more importantly all of that outreach means engaging in good conversations and even in partnerships with key influencers in your industry, whether through guest post arrangements, joint partnerships, or simply chats on comment boards. Just like networking in person, fellow online influencers will have the pulse of the industry, and should a position arise for which you might be a fit, they’ll be far more likely to think of you once you’ve developed a strong relationship. In fact, if they’ve come to know and trust you through your blog, they’ll be far more motivated to hire you or recommend you strongly than will an unknown applicant.
3. Showcases Your Skills
Remember that old piece of writing advice from English class, “Show, Don’t Tell?” Resumes and cover letters, no matter how well written, fall firmly into the “tell” category, while blogs are all about “show.” The fact is, it’s downright difficult for hiring managers to know much about you through traditional means. Sure, you may say you have experience in one area (and you probably do), but what makes one person right for a job and another person not can often be a subtle difference in their philosophy or approach. That’s next to impossible to discern at least before an interview, but often until the person is on the job.
A blog takes a lot of the mystery out, as it shows how you operate in a more natural environment. It demonstrates how you might do the tasks required of you, and it also gives potential employers a much better sense of your personality and voice. Of course, you’ll need to keep things positive and it’s never a good idea to badmouth or hate on any company or person; it’s important not to take “natural environment” for “venting all job frustrations.”
4. Works as a Portfolio
For similar reasons, a blog can also be a much more vibrant and engaging approach to a portfolio, whether you’ve got a separate tab just for your previous work, you highlight your work in occasional posts, or you use your blog to fill holes in your experience. If, for example, you know your dream job requires knowledge of a certain web design skill (or any other skill that’s relevant to your industry), you can create a mockup demonstrating that skill, and then feature it on your blog. Of course, to make it more engaging, you could either blog about your experiences as you go, or you could turn your work into an opportunity to create a how-to guide. All the better if what you produce in some way invites user interaction.
5. Helps People Find You
Of course, doing all of this is great for SEO, as you’ll naturally be using keywords that relate to your dream job. The more you link to well-ranked articles either as separate summaries or as research in the context of a blogpost, the better you’ll rank as well. Submitting your blog to indexes is also a good idea, as is promoting your blog on all of your social media outlets, which should likewise be frequently updated with posts and info. Together, all of these techniques will drive much more traffic to your blog site—including employers.
6. Gets You Out Ahead of Your Digital Footprint
Whether you’re ready for them or not, recruiters and employers will look you up online. With a blog, you’ll get out ahead of your digital footprint, funneling traffic to the venue you’ve carefully created before it lands elsewhere. This can be crucial, especially if there’s content out there you can’t control, or if there’s someone else with a web presence that shares your name. A Google+ profile linking to your blog and branding yourself in a few words can also help in capturing traffic before it heads elsewhere.
With these techniques, blogging can be an effective way of snagging your dream job. Of course, each requires drive and clarity of mind as you work towards clear goals and tap into the skills you know you possess. For that reason, taking a career aptitude test can be a savvy move, so you’ve got the ultimate clarity before you launch in.
So, what will your blog be about, and when does it launch? Get brainstorming in the comments below.