My two daughters used to love writing. My oldest preferred expository writing, while my youngest loved dabbling in creative writing, primarily poetry that had taken on an inner-angst slant. I loved reading their essays and stories. Proofreading and editing them was a pleasure.
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My youngest daughter once asked me if I write. I told her that I do. She asked if I write for work. This was a tough question to answer. I don't get paid for blogging, but I see the doors it opens. Blogging is an investment in the future. How do you explain this to a 13-year-old kid?
When I tell my clients that blogging can be beneficial to their job search, it's often met with reactions like, "Be real, Bob." Here's what I tell them:
1. Blogging Demonstrates Your Ability to Write
If you enjoy writing and are particularly good at it, blogging gives you the perfect platform. Keep in mind that what you write will be read by people who hope to gain some advice from your writing; they're probably not looking for your memoir or short stories based on your college years.
If you enjoy writing, it will be easier to consistently post. Start with one post every other week, and slowly increase until you're posting at least once a week.
Don't be afraid to ask a trusted peer to proof your posts before publishing. Some of my clients have run their posts by me. My comments were usually along the lines of, "Your instincts are correct. Run with it."
2. Blogging Enhances Your Brand
Blogging is one of many ways you can enhance your online presence. It demonstrates your expertise in your field, especially if what you write is educational and relevant to your industry.
I encourage my clients to blog to demonstrate their expertise. "Everyone in this room is an expert at what they do," I tell them. This is true. From the purchasing agent to the nurse to the software engineer, they all have knowledge to share.
When recruiters, hiring managers, and HR pros read your posts, they'll learn more about your expertise and personality than they could from any resume you write. Use your professional voice. Begin with a story, if you like. Just remember that the purpose of your posts should be to educate your audience.
Also, keep your content positive. Refrain from bashing former employers. This is one way to severely damage your brand. I've seen people publish negative posts on LinkedIn. Those will remain in the minds of readers – and not in a way that reflects well on the author.
Blogging can translate into concrete career gains. For example, one of my clients once went to an interview where the V.P. of marketing commented that he saw one of my client's posts on LinkedIn. The V.P. was very impressed with my client's expertise and offered him the job shortly after the interview.
3. Blogging Is a Great Way to Network
The third and final reason to blog is for networking purposes. One way to network through blogs is by linking to others' posts in your own entries. People will appreciate that you've done this.
Another way to network is by sharing other bloggers' posts with your LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, and/or Facebook friends. Comment on other bloggers' posts and share them with groups to which you belong. You'll find that when you support other bloggers, you will receive some love in return – love that could end up helping you advance your career.
How to Begin Blogging
A connection of mine used to listen to me moan about how I wanted to blog. One day, she told me to just do it. After a year of putting it off, I finally wrote my first blog post on WordPress. Now, I consistently blog at least once a week. My advice for getting started:
1. Don't Wait Like I Did
Think about something that really interests you about your occupation, and then write about it. Don't expect your first post to be a hit. Be patient and stick with it.
2. Don't Have a WordPress Account? Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an easy way to start publishing posts. You can write an article directly on the platform, eliminating the need for a WordPress account. The mechanics are straightforward. On your homepage, select "Write an article" and take it from there.
I hope my daughters continue writing in their later years because it is rewarding to the soul. They are excellent writers who will someday make significant contributions to this valuable art.
As for you: I hope you'll be writing, too. It'll be great for your job search.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.