Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all tools we use to research people we’ve never met. Over 50 million people are Googled a day. A career blog lets you ensure that employers, clients and business partners find positive content that solidifies their decision to work with you.
A career blog is a journal style website where you periodically post content about your industry as it relates to your career goals. It’s a place where you can talk about current industry trends, ask and answer relevant questions, provide practical tips, provoke thoughts based on your career experience, connect to knowledge learned in the classroom, and turn the bullet points on your resume into a real, human story.
Your career blog is the story you want to tell employers to convince them to hire you. Your goal is to make it clear through your blog posts what your strengths and unique skills are, making it obvious that you are the candidate for the job.
What should you write about?
Growth. Write a story about a class, a project or a job where your thinking shifted. Where you learned something that changed the way you think, behave, manage teammates or solve problems. Always portray the experience in a positive light. Then, concretely describe how you will apply what you learned to your next company.
Expertise. Write about a specific topic you learned about in class or in life. Let’s say you’re an industrial design major, and you just learned about the importance of identifying user needs. Show that you understand the concept by relating it to something that happened to you.
For example, let’s say you just got in an argument with your mom about never turning the lights off when you leave the room. At first you bickered about it’s importance, but when you asked her why she needs them off, she explained that it saves money that she could be investing in the family’s vacation fund. By understanding her needs, it became obvious that the lights should be turned off. In the same way, companies that spend time understanding their user’s needs will more clearly understand the next course of action or new feature to develop.
Relate the lessons you’ve learned to specific projects or experiences you’ve had, so employers will see that the expertise listed on your resume is grounded in reality. Then, describe how you will apply this knowledge to your next company.
Knowledge of current trends. Whatever your field, there are a number of industry leaders blogging about it. Find them by doing a Google search for top blogs in your field. For example, if you’re in marketing, search “Top Marketing Blogs” in Google. Choose three, and read the last three posts from each. Synthesize those posts and write an article that summarizes the main ideas. Clearly write about how the ideas mentioned affect businesses in your industry, and how you’ll use that knowledge to benefit your next company.
Ability to deliver. Write a post about a personal or professional project you’re proud of, and upload the end result. For example, upload the PowerPoint presentation of your thesis to SlideShare.net, embed it into a post, and write a blurb summarizing it. Upload images that tangibly show things you’ve created, embed YouTube videos related to you, link to PDFs of papers you’ve written, etc. The point is to give proof of your past performance. Provide the background story about each project and only upload your absolute best work.
Remember that the purpose of your career blog is to get hired, not complain about what’s happening in your personal life. Avoid personal issues and stick to professional topics. When you go in for interviews, your blog is the story you want interviewers to have already read about you: the story of your growth, your expertise, your knowledge of current trends and your ability to deliver.
Promote your career blog
First, refer employers to your career blog on your resume. Invite them to learn more about you by visiting your blog’s URL. Put it in your email signature so that your contacts are aware of your career goals, and link to it on your LinkedIn profile so that employers can go from one to the other. On your LinkedIn profile, add the LinkedIn app that automatically pulls your blog posts into your LinkedIn profile. This improves the visibility of your blog posts.
Your career blog is the story that will compel employers, clients and business partners to work with you. Use your articles to make your unique value clear, compelling, tie points back to what you can do for other people or your future employer, and make it easy to contact you.
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.