By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell
I think starting a blog is a great idea. However, before you begin, I want you to contemplate two vital questions:
A) What kind of compelling content will you provide?
B) How will you market the blog to potential employers when it’s ready?
Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too many professionals decide to throw together a blog as a way to differentiate themselves from their competition without giving it the proper thought and attention needed to make a good impression. As a result, they create a weak site that turns potential employers ‘off’ instead of ‘on.’
To avoid these mistakes, I advise the following:
STEP 1: Use your resume to determine your content.
Identify 4-6 key skill sets you want to leverage in your next job and plan to build blog posts to support each one. These should be 600-800 essays that outline a problem you solved using each skill set. Be sure to articulate the methodology you used as well as the results you got from your efforts.
When you are done, you’ll have a series of compelling, meaty blog posts that will give a hiring manager a real sense of your abilities. You want to have at least 5 blog posts before you start a blog so that from day it goes live, there is enough content to keep a hiring manager’s attention. Nothing screams, “I only created the blog to get a job,” more than putting up one single post.
Once you have this content ready to go, then it’s time to set up your blog and load your posts for the world to see.
STEP 2: Interview the best talent in your field for your blog.
Your next post for your blog should be a compilation of best practices in your industry. Identify at least 5 people in your field you admire and reach out to them.
Tell them you are writing a blog post about best practices and wanted to get their insight so you can include it in the article. Experts rarely turn down an opportunity to be interviewed about their professional success, so there’s a good chance they’ll all say ‘yes’ to an interview.
Once the post is up, send each industry expert you interviewed a thank you with the link and invite them to share it with their peers. This is an ideal way for you to drive traffic to your blog, giving your professional expertise exposure to a whole new set of contacts. It also enables you to start to build a rapport with these experts (a.k.a. network with them!) so that you can earn their trust and possibly a job.
In summary, I really do think blogging is an excellent way to build your personal brand and market your talent to employers. Just be sure to invest enough time and energy into doing it right. When it comes to blogging for your career, one old phrase rings true, “You only get once chance to make a great first impression.”
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