If a post about blogging to get a job didn’t turn you off and you’ve decided to read this, you may be thinking
“Blogging for job search? Forget it. I barely have enough time for all the other things I need to do to land a job.”
I hope you’ll keep reading.
You may discover a new job search strategy that you’ll love doing and that will help you stand out and above those competing for the job(s) you want.
If you like to write − and perhaps have a number of articles or white papers under your belt − and have something to say about your industry and areas of expertise, consider giving blogging a try.
Click on any of the headings below to take you right to that section:
Why Blogging To Get a Job Is Such a Good Thing
Jon Clarke wrote on Agency Central:
Personal blogs are like a window into a person’s thoughts and hobbies. They’re an ice-breaker, a conversation-starter.
With competition for jobs as fierce as ever, candidates are trying even harder to stand out. But fancy CVs aside, all of the style in the world won’t land you a job if you don’t have the substance to match. A blog is just that: substance.
Executives and other job seekers who blog are getting on the radar of executive recruiters and hiring decision makers, and landing jobs.
Hiring authorities find them when they search relevant keywords online to source viable candidates.
Some executives who blog are offered opportunities in the hidden job market — positions not posted anywhere — because their blog writing demonstrates their subject matter expertise and credibility, and positions them as a good fit for a company.
A Blogging and Job Search Success Story
Job seeker William Anderson, wrote on JobMob about how his blogging efforts landed him a Director of Marketing role.
“I use my site to own my public (and sometimes private) voice, while using other sites (iTunes and Soundcloud, Twitter and LinkedIn, etc.) as additional distribution channels. The idea being that at the end of the day, people can learn more about me on MY website.
I used my blog to help me find my current job (going on three years in August!) by creating a specific landing page that targeted those skills that seemed most relevant for Align [his now-employer].
Adding Google Analytics to track domains and networks that were hitting specific sites helped me refine which companies were more interested and that I could follow up with.
When I came in to interview, the companies knew about me and I knew about them, allowing us to concentrate more on gaps and matching skills.”
Put yourself in the shoes of people assessing you as a candidate.
When they Google a candidate and find few, if any, search results associated with their name, they may pass on that person.
But when they Google a candidate and find plenty of diverse content associated with that person’s name − including well-crafted blog posts and/or articles − that person is more appealing and more likely to be pursued.
Nothing works like a blog with the domain name “yourname.com” to extend your online identity, and build credibility and visibility around your personal brand, value proposition, industry subject matter expertise, and thought leadership.
Once your blogsite gains even a little traction, it will likely be one of the first search results when people Google “your name”.
A personal blog builds real-time content and creates a well-organized resource for people assessing you to find out, or be led to, everything you want them to know about you. It does all this much better than a static website, and also demonstrates that you’re social media savvy.
A blog-based website can be configured to look and act like a traditional website, but have the SEO-friendly (search engine optimization) content-building benefits of a blog.
What If You Don’t Have Time for Blogging To Get a Job
I get it. The many aspects of job search are time-consuming without adding blogging into the mix.
Don’t assume that a blog won’t be of benefit unless you post several times a week. No one needs to know how often you’re posting. You can set up your blog so that posts do not include dates, so no one will know your posting frequency.
If you know you’ll only be blogging intermittently on your site, it may be best to write blog posts that will be evergreen. Then the content won’t ever become outdated.
Or, you can set up your blog to look like a career web portfolio or personal website with no blog stream at all – just pages and perhaps several important articles or white papers.
For both scenarios, you have the ability to publish new blog posts whenever (and if ever) you feel like it.
Although longer posts (1,000 words or more) are best, you don’t have to publish lengthy manifestos every time you write.
Frequency is important too. If all you can manage is a 300-400 word post a few times a month, you’ll still be way ahead of candidates competing against you who aren’t blogging at all.
And, to save time, you can break up some of your extremely long posts into a series of several shorter ones.
Setting Up Your Blogsite
It’s relatively easy to get a blog up and running, once you purchase the domain name.
An added bonus to having a domain name for “yourname” (or a variation): You can set up a personal email account using the domain. This email account will be your designated job search email.
I’ve advised in the past that free email services (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) may not be safe for job search.
It’s no secret that Google bots read your Gmail messages, and that Google mines and stores an enormous amount of data. Yahoo email has its own history of spam and hacked accounts. Consider that all free email services may be creating huge marketing databases for some future use.
Let’s say you’re in the interview process with one (or several) employers, and you’re hashing out salary and other hiring issues via email. Do you want to risk Google having access to that, and other sensitive information?
Over the years, free email has been notoriously susceptible to hacking and other privacy issues. So I no longer recommend them for job search, or for any other sensitive matters.
Where To Set Up Your Blog
GoDaddy is a good place to purchase your domain and set up a blogsite for free (hosting your site will cost around $6-20/month). They make it quite easy:
- Choose from one of their many templates (this can be changed later, if you wish)
- Create several pages using your resume, career biography (your “About” page), leadership initiatives brief, key contributions, case studies, publications, etc. – along with a contact page.
- Add several vibrant images to each post and page
- Add personal branding videos (Search engines and employers love to see video)
- Decide what topics you’ll blog about to showcase your areas of expertise and problem solving capabilities
- Write and publish, say, 3-4 blog posts to publish initially, so there are a few things for visitors to your site to read
If you’re a consultant or other entrepreneur and already have a website, you’re more than halfway there. Turn it into a blogsite and start writing.
What Blogging Did for Me
Here’s what I found after I had been blogging about job search for just a few months:
- I had a lot to say
- Through researching my blog topics, I learned a lot more about job search and career
- Because I often mentioned others in my posts, I built a community of brand ambassadors.
- I love the kind of writing I do: Helping executive job seekers understand and embrace their personal brands, and land the jobs they covet and deserve
Blogging To Get a Job Makes You Smarter
Blogging, if done well, can make you smarter, therefore an even more valuable potential asset to the companies and organizations you’re targeting.
Through my own 15 or so years of blogging, I’ve learned so much more about my field than I ever could have without blogging.
To keep my content fresh and interesting, I’ve been forced to do considerable research. I need to stay up to date on various trends, better ways to use social media, new job search methods and strategies, and other things to help my clients better position themselves as good-fit candidates.
I’ve become smarter about executive job search, personal branding, online visibility, social media, networking, and so much more.
Likewise, job seekers who blog well become smarter about their target employers, their industry and their own areas of expertise. And they’re better prepared to speak intelligently about these things when they network and interview.
And, of course, since blogging is writing, it helps improve their communication skills.
Writing about things new to me makes the blogging experience ever-energizing and pleasurable. At any given time, I have about a dozen ideas for new posts I can’t wait to find the time to write.
So, how do you come up with good ideas for blog posts?
Your mission in blogging:
- Demonstrate your subject matter expertise, industry knowledge and thought leadership.
- Express your personal brand promise and ROI to your target employers.
- Show that you’re a good fit for the company culture
- Make it clear that you can solve the kinds of problems they’re facing
The Undercover Recruiter says:
Employers want to hire people who know what they are doing or at least show potential. By writing a blog that showcases your expertise in a certain area, you can demonstrate to prospective employers that you have the required knowledge and career goals for a job within their company. If there is a particular role or company you are interested in, you can tailor your blog posts so that it demonstrates your suitability for the position.
What to Write About on Your Blog
Career and workplace expert Lindsey Pollak says:
Write for the career you want. While it’s nice to blog about any topic that interests you, the only way your blog will help your job search is if you write about the industry you want to join. If a recruiter checks out your blog, he or she must know immediately what you’re interested in. One of my favorite blog posts by tech evangelist Robert Scoble puts it this way, “Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.”
Be very careful what you post. The major reason most job seekers don’t blog is because they’re afraid that blogging might hurt their chances more than help them. This is a very real concern. If your blog is filled with photos of cats playing the piano, rants about parking tickets or sad tales of relationships gone bad, you’re not going to impress any employers. Think of your blog as a purely professional forum and you should be just fine.
The topics you write about should represent your areas of expertise. These are also the relevant keywords and phrases you’ll use in your personal marketing materials for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), to optimize your online presence.
Google those same keywords to research what others are writing about those topics. Use this research to write more blog content.
Set up Google Alerts to stay informed of issues impacting your industry and target companies. Some Alerts to set up:
- Names of your target companies and/or those you want to be informed about
- Names of key decision makers in your target companies
- Keyword phrases relevant to your niche and target job(s)
- Names of your target companies’ relevant products or services
- Job position(s) and industry you’re seeking.
- Names of subject matter experts and thought leaders in your industry and niche.
- Names of any other people whose radar you want to get on.
Subscribe to and read various relevant publications
Subscribe to your target companies’ blogs and those of industry thought leaders and subject matter experts. Google their names and relevant keyword phrases to find relevant blogs. See what they’re writing about, and blog about the same things.
Subscribe to (or just read) industry publications.
Peruse the big publications – NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, etc. – and industry-specific publications for industry news.
Check out the LinkedIn long-form posts of people you’re following on LinkedIn, and those of LinkedIn Influencers.
Re-purpose articles and white papers you’ve written. If they’re too long for one post, break them up into a series of 2, 3 or more.
Turn to other blogs for inspiration
Write a post commenting about someone else’s post. Include the title of their post with a link. There are many benefits to this strategy:
- They’re fairly quick to write,
- The blog post author will be very flattered by your support and mention, and
- Your generosity builds community.
For even better impact, coincide these kinds of posts by posting a comment on the original blog post.
Keep track of good posts by other bloggers you’ve read all week and do a weekly roundup listing 4 or 5 posts with links and include a brief encapsulation. That takes almost no thought or time, and makes connections with other bloggers!
In your posts and post titles, frequently use relevant keyword phrases, and mention people and products of your target companies. You can be sure that someone at those companies has set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions of these names and products. Recruiters and employer’s hiring decision makers search industry-relevant keyword phrases online and have Google Alerts set for those keyword phrases. These people are very likely to find you.
More Tips on Blogging To Get a Job
Look at your list of target companies. Blog about them – their new products, their leadership, challenges they’re facing that you know how to fix, outreach/community projects of theirs you admire, etc. Company watchdogs will very likely notice.
Don’t blatantly market yourself. Generate chemistry and engage people around your unique promise of value by writing about your subject matter expertise, but also write from time to time about your passions away from work.
Build community and conversation by blogging about other bloggers in your space. Link away to other sites, encouraging bloggers to link to your posts. Incoming links, especially from sites with strong link weight, are extremely valuable in building authority and increasing Google ranking for your site.
For further reach, post your blog posts on your social networks – LinkedIn updates, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If you’re not active on any of them, this is a good reason to start. Include hashtags and tag any relevant people when you post.
Create a blogging strategy you can realistically manage. Even a few times a month will be of great benefit.
It’s okay (even advisable) to also blog about non-relevant topics from time to time. Write about your passions away from work – the things you can’t wait to get out of bed to do. These all reinforce your personal brand.
Keep up with the latest trends in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), to keep your blogsite SEO-friendly and more visible. You should also add a plugin to your site for SEO, if you don’t have built in SEO. Yoast is the one I use. The basic free version works very well.