Recruiters these days are looking for candidates in another section of cyberspace—blogs. And bloggers are using their blogs to showcase their professional experience and expertise.
Take for instance, Michael Morton, a marketing blogger, who used his blog to help him land a job. Morton started his marketing blog almost two years ago when he felt stuck in a dead-end, entry-level marketing job. “I kept hearing this word 'blog' on the Internet but didn't know exactly what it meant. I researched it (the word) and looked at a few blogs. At first I wasn't impressed. But then I read an article by Debbie Weil about blogging your way to a new job. I also found a few blogs on the Internet that dealt with PR and marketing. Then the light came on. If other people can start a professional blog and be recognized for it, then so could I.”
“My intention in starting my blog was to get a job offer. However, I was uncertain if it would actually happen,” says Morton.
But it did. “My blog helped me to land a job by helping me standout from the crowd. It's not likely that a blog itself will get someone a job. It's how you use your blog in conjunction with everything else—your resume, cover letter, e-mail communications, and your interview. That's what happened in my case. I wrote a good paper and online resume and a concise cover letter. In them, I referenced my blog and its URL.”
“I used my blog as a kind of supplement material to say, ‘I'm not just some guy who has a job in marketing, I'm a guy that lives and loves marketing. Look at this blog of mine. It shows that I keep up with the latest trends and shows that I know what I'm talking about,’” adds Morton.
Matt Coddington’s blog helped land him a job too. Rather than sending in a resume, he wrote a letter outlining how he designed, developed, and marketed his blog. “I got interview after interview and eventually settled on a job with a great company doing the job I wanted. My blog showed my knowledge and professionalism, and that was what was important,” says Coddington.
Carolynn Duncan, based in Seattle, WA, once wrote an entire blog on why she wanted to work for a specific company in hopes of landing a job. And it worked. “I think it wasn’t necessarily the blog itself, but that the blog was part of the overall approach that I took,” says Duncan.
She has received other job opportunities since she started her blog. “I have received other offers, and I think it’s less about having ‘a blog’ and more about engaging and creating your network through providing useful information or connections that helps the community at large, as well as building a brand for yourself.”
“In one of the offers, someone e-mailed me because they knew about my skill set and experiences, from the blog. I wasn't available at the time, but I referred two qualified friends and one was hired and is having a great time working with the company,” adds Duncan.
While Morton’s blog has lead to at least a handful of job offers, he reminds people that good blogs don’t always equal full-time jobs, but opportunities. “It's rare that someone gets a full-on job offer because they have a good blog. What most people get, including myself, aren't offers but opportunities. I've had a handful of agency people contact me to say they would be interested in interviewing me for a position because of my blog.”
Attracting readers is another important element. Since Morton’s blog began two years ago, it has received more than 27,000 visitors. Morton agrees that while design and layout are important, content is the key to attracting readers. “Design and layout helps to make my blog standout from the crowd, but ultimately what makes any blog get a lot of traffic and readers is the content. Some of my best liked content by readers are topics on customer service and marketing mistakes by big companies.”
One way he markets his blog is by leaving thoughtful comments on other marketing blogs. “I also made a point to visit other marketing expert blogs and left thoughtful comments to stimulate conversation,” says Morton.
Morton recommends those looking to promote their expertise through their blogs to keep the content professional. “My first advice is to tailor your writing to your audience. Keep your content professional and watch for misspellings. However, be sure to write with your own ‘voice’ and try not to sound like corporate robot. Finding your own voice can be hard to do. Also, make sure you visit the blog of other experts, leave thoughtful comments, and make those oh-so-valuable networking connections.”
Coddington agrees with Morton, saying “having a professional, related blog is the new ‘wow factor’ of job searching. Recruiters don't have to guess about whether or not you know what you're talking about or if your resume is a bit embellished. They can just take a quick look at your blog and see for themselves if you are a good candidate.”
Duncan cautions bloggers on the job hunt to avoid the gimmicks. “It's too easy to be gimmicky, so if you're going to use your blog for job hunting, take the high road. Especially since once hired, you'll have to work with the people who read your blog. If you want to find a job via blogs, then you need to become part of the blog community at large and share your skills and expertise via articles and ideas you'll post on your blog. Then when someone knows of something, you'll be at the top of their list to make a referral.”
Recently, Duncan posted a job on her blog. “Someone I didn’t even know, who I would never have known to contact, saw that specific posting, had the relevant experience and was in the same geographical area, and applied for the job. It can be a great way to connect people and companies that wouldn’t otherwise know about each other,” says Duncan.
Remember, blogging can help you land a new job as well as lead to other career opportunities. The possibilities are endless—all you have to do is keep on blogging.