Developing a blog can be a pathway to amazing opportunities. By showing that you can develop an audience, communicate clearly, understand your niche and know how to network, you give potential employers the opportunity to see you in action. Personal blogs that focus on your industry are becoming essential tools for some job hunters.
There’s a caveat.
Having a blog can quickly make you better known than your potential boss. Some employers are rightfully concerned about hiring people who bring external celebrity to their jobs. When you begin to market yourself with a blog, you have to understand that you will scare some people away.
That’s a good thing.
If you’re the kind of person who cottons to the blogging universe, you aren’t going to want to work just anywhere. The sorts of people who will be scared off by your emerging role in the industry are exactly the people you want to avoid. In that way, your blog becomes your personal screening tool.
There’s another caveat.
Starting a blog after you’ve just been laid off will not get you a job quickly. If you want to enhance your career through the use of social media, start now, well before any immediate need. Building an audience and learning how to create content takes time. The whole endeavor is of no use to you until you can demonstrate some level of basic mastery.
Here are seven guidelines for building out a blog that will get you noticed and accelerate your career.
- Write very regularly. Daily is best. Bi-weekly is sort of okay. Weekly won’t give you enough room to maneuver. Monthly is far too infrequent. Audiences depend on being able to find you at a regular time in a regular location. Trying two or three weeks of regular writing should be enough to allow you to figure out if you want to do it. The best bloggers who maintain day jobs get up and write a couple of hours before work. This is how you tell if you are really committed.
- Be personable, not personal. While blogs are useful because they offer a personal point of view, it’s very easy to mistake excessive personal exposure for actual meaty content. It’s not that there aren’t a ton of people blogging about the mundane details of their lives. It’s that that won’t help you get work. Careers are all about the contribution you make on a substantive basis. While there are a number of high profile examples of people who have created personal celebrity with their blogs, they don’t usually work out in actual jobs.
- Demonstrate Your Expertise (Talk About Your Work). This may seem obvious. If you want to advance your career, have a career to advance. In other words, potential employers are interested in the value you can contribute. Stories about successful projects, improvement ideas, novel solutions to longstanding problems, detailed critiques of market players and products all help to build the perception that you are a working part of the industry.
- Generate New Ideas. Start by understanding that there isn’t actually a shortage of good ideas. The shortage involves the execution of those ideas. That said, blogs are powerful when they offer new ways of thinking about things. If you are writing daily 1 post per week should involve a new way of looking at an old thing.
- Never Let ’em See You Sweat. So, you lost your job. Your husband left you. Your teenager’s been arrested. The IRS is auditing you. And, your mom won’t stop with the nagging. DO NOT MAKE THIS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR BLOG. No one wants to hire that woman. Stay focused on work and creating value.
- Promote Others. The best resources are people who know who the best resources are. Get to know other people in your business. Write about them. Pont to their writing. Praise them. That’s the kind of employee people want. And, it makes your network grow as you blog.
- Use An Editor. It would be great if you were a natural born writer. You probably aren’t. Find someone who will point out your typos and tell you when your writing is terrible. When you’ve persuaded them that you are really good, find someone else to do the critique.
Blogging is not for everyone. But, if you are persistent and determined, it can be a gateway to opportunity beyond anything you can reach today.