January 19, 2010

Should you blog during your job search?

Earlier, I was browsing through Workopolis and came across an interesting article from Mark Swartz, Workopolis' Career Advisor, on the merits of blogging while searching for a job.

The original question sent to Swartz was from Carl M. of Nova Scotia who wrote:

"I want to show employers that I'm keeping up with some of the online trends. My wife says I should start a Blog and get myself noticed on the Web. Is this a good idea?"

I've previously written about blogging, especially since it's an easy way to create, maintain, and protect your online brand. And for those looking to get into specialized fields - law, marketing, biotechnology research, journalism, etc. - it can be a great way to showcase your knowledge and ability to keep up with trends.

I completely agree with Swartz when he says that blogging can be beneficial during your job search.

You decide to start some sort of marketing Blog. Every day or two you post your ideas. Maybe include links to other marketing-related Blogs and stories. When people write in, you contact them and generate new relationships–in essence networking via the Net. In time, your Blog could become popular and attracts a steady following. Then, one of your regulars gives you the scoop on a job vacancy few others know about yet.

Swartz goes on further to state that during an interview, if asked what makes you stand out, you can mention your blog.

Zoom ahead to the interview you scored because of your Blogosphere buddy. Mr. or Mrs. Intimidating Interviewer asks the dreaded question: “So, what makes you stand out from the other 20 remarkable candidates in line behind you?”

You can shoot right back with tales of your internet savvy: show them a couple of choice printouts from recent postings, like the ones where people are thanking you for providing such a compelling and illuminating presence on the Web.

Again, this is exactly why maintaining a blog is a good idea. It gives you a certain sense of legitimacy that you can highlight during an interview.

And don't just think it has to be for a job interview - I know many high school students who keep a blog as a way to showcase to admission officers how passionate they are about studying a particular subject and continuing in that field.

The only part that I find myself disagree with Swartz about relates to how blogging can be a bad thing.

Then again, it could backfire badly. What if people start posting nasty comments on your blog, or you get spammed with junk messages? How about if you let your posts get too stale? Could be also that your content is simply frivolous and time-wasting. It takes effort to properly manage a Blog...time you could be spending applying for jobs and networking face-to-face.

Here's the thing. If you blog, you'll most likely be active in maintaining your online brand and therefore, will see when someone posts questionable content on your blog - and with a simple click of a mouse, you can delete it.

However, I do agree that content cannot get stale. If you find posting every few days to be too much, try doing it once a week. That keeps the content fresh and again, lends legitimacy if you claimed to be on-top and knowledgeable about the trends and news coverage of certain industries.

Finally, Swartz ends his article by giving the Do's and Dont's of blogging and I think they are definitely worth considering.

Do...

- consider making your content relevant to the type of role, industry or profession you're applying for

- invite potential employers to visit your URL

- keep your info current

- network selectively via e-mail with people who write in with their comments

Don't...

- be overly controversial or indiscriminate with what you say

- publish rude, offensive or explicit material

- believe you can hide behind a nickname or alias forever

-forget to thank the people who help make your Blog a success

Cheers - and good luck!

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