There are thousands of blogs that are related to your field of work and many of them are written by thought leaders and decision-makers in your field. Blogs are also a way for people to become known and to showcase their talents to the world. It is a cheap and easy way to promote yourself so that you, too, can get ahead in your career. Human resource managers are now aware of this and scan blogs as a part of the hiring process at many firms.
Create a blog for yourself.
You can use WordPress or Blogger to do so (I started with Blogger and graduated to WordPress). These platforms are free to use and easy to set up and customize. The blog can be used to (and they are in no particular order):
· Differentiate you from the competition
· Showcase your expertise in your field. In your work, you will have
several good ideas that help your company. Unfortunately, you don’t always get the credit for it. Sometimes it is because you’re too far down the food chain and, sometimes it is because your idea is not big enough. It may still be a good idea. So put it in your blog. Be careful not to post it while the idea is being implemented. You don’t want competitors to know what competitive intelligence might be damaging to your current employer. That could get you fired. Use your discretion and write your posts in a way that shows your expertise without getting you into trouble.
· Talk about industry trends in your field. This will show you as having an understanding of your industry that may appeal to managers who are looking to hire someone. For some, it may give them the idea that you bigger potential than most. After all, the difference between a mid-level and a top-level manager is often not the number of years spent at a job; it is foresight and understanding of the industry which enables good long-term decision-making that positively impacts a company’s future. As someone they don’t know, it provides insight into you that remains unknown in other potential competitors for a job and thus gives you an advantage.
· Be a resource. There are thousands of job seekers with 15-20 years of experience. So what? What makes you different? If you can be a resource for other people within your industry through your blog, you will be different. Gone are the days where information was power. Today, sharing information is also power. If you use your blog to impart knowledge and interact with people within your industry and provide them with good advice, you will do a lot more than many of your job search competitors are doing while proving to hiring managers that you are resourceful and are willing to help others.
· Grow your professional network. Blogging regularly and putting up quality posts will do that. A good quality network will open up opportunities for you. When you impress people within your network, they will not hesitate to put forward your resume for upcoming positions. The more opportunities you have open up for you, the better the odds of landing a great job.
Now that you’re ready to set up your blog, it is time to take some final precautions. There are certain dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind. This will not only help you to stand out as a professional but as a blogger as well.
1. Include links to your up-to-date resume. If people like your blog, they may want to know about your background and want to contact you and interview you. Putting a link on your site to your resume may also give you an added benefit of getting more traffic to your website and another opportunity for people to learn more about you. Include links to a Word and a PDF version of your resume.
2. Include links to your social networks. Just as you use your website to promote your social network, you can use blogs to do the same. People like to hire people they “know” or think they know. Now you may not be able to go around becoming friends with everybody, but you can use your social networks and other avenues to give people an insight into who you are. When people read your blog and see your social networks, they get to know about your personality and feel like they know you better and trust you more.
3. Be analytical in your posts. Portray yourself as an organized person and a problem solver. Since it is your blog, you get to pick the topic of every post, thereby controlling the conversation. Use this to your advantage. For example, blog about issues within your industry and break them down. Use your judgment to analyze the problem and show steps on how you would approach it. The problem doesn’t have to be major. Simple issues will work, as long as you portray clear thinking and/or out of the box thinking.
4. Share insights into your personal life. People don’t hire resumes, they hire people. Talk about your family and your personal life. Give interesting anecdotes from your life and family and talk about moments that touched you. Express yourself and your emotions without being an extremist, alarming, or appearing like a crackpot. This is a great tribute to your family and it shows your future coworkers your character. At the end of the day, people work so that they can provide a better life for their families and that is where their priority should be, so should yours.
5. Be respectful of others. Sometimes, your personal opinions may be fine with you but may offend others. You don’t want to do this during a job search, or really at any time. Yes, freedom of speech is important but by holding back on your blog, you are not impeding on that freedom. You are showing better judgment that doesn’t harm you in the long run.
6. Keep your blog up-to-date. If your blog is interesting, people will want more; give the people what they want. However, if you post occasionally, people won’t come back as often. Post at least once or twice a week and, on other days, offer links to articles that others have written that are appropriate for your topic.
7. Interact with your readers. If someone posts something, respond to them. This will help you to build a relationship with them and show them that their opinion is important to you. If you make other people feel important, they appreciate you more.
8. Organize your blog. Separate the professional section, personal section, and family section of the blog. This shows people that all aspects are important but that you have boundaries between each.
No one likes coworkers whose personal life overlaps their professional life. Portray this through your blog.
1. Don’t say anything critical about previous employers. Not doing this shows poor character and forces people to ask the question: “If he is saying something bad about that person behind their back, what would he be saying about me when I’m not around?” There are other repercussions, too. Your previous employer may have contacts at your future job or may be called for a reference. If they see your blog, they can adversely affect your job search. Remember, your blog is public, so anyone can see it. Critical things said about people spread quickly and, at some point, the criticized people will know about it.
2. Don’t promote your blog if it’s not up to date. This is unprofessional and turns off visitors. A person can be very detail-oriented and have great concentration, but when they are online, they have the concentration of a 5-year-old. If they don’t get what they want in your blog, they will go away within a few seconds and never come back. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t invite people to your house and then not be there, would you? Similarly, you shouldn’t invite people to your blog if you have nothing new o interesting to say.
3. Don’t discuss politics, religion, or sex. We are a part of a diverse workforce today. There are people with differing political views, religions, and an equal number of men and women at workplaces today. The last thing you want to do is to offend someone. You never know when it will come back to hurt you. Many people believe they should be allowed to express their opinion and, in a way, they are right. But there is a time and a place for everything. This includes politics, religion, and sex. Your blog is supposed to help you find a job, not promote sexual deviance, a political or social agenda, or evangelize about your religious beliefs unless you desire to only work for companies that completely adhere to your beliefs and opinions. Unless you are willing to lose job opportunities because of your beliefs, don’t post messages that might turn off people with different beliefs than yours.
4. Don’t post inappropriate pictures. Remember what I told you about cleaning up your closet? Don’t make the mistake of cleaning your closet and then dirtying it up again.
Not exactly a good photo for your blog
5. Don’t monetize your blog. You are not blogging to make money. You’re blogging to showcase your personality and to find a job. Monetizing your blog will take people away from your blog site and that defeats the purpose . . . all for a few cents of Adsense revenue or affiliate revenue.
6. Don’t discuss work secrets or issues with co-workers. We covered this earlier as well. While a topic of discussion may not seem important to you, it may be really important to your current or past employer. You may inadvertently be letting out company secrets. This may bring you legal trouble and show future employers that you cannot be confided in.
7. Keep it short and simple. Your posts should be precise and to the point. No one has the time to read on and on. You don’t want people to think that you are boring or repetitive. Oh! Spellcheck and grammar check everything!
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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