If you’re in between roles, it’s possible that someone’s suggested to you that you start writing a blog.
Does blogging actually help your job search?
On the one hand, Here’s a CNN Money success story (with a quote from yours truly) of a woman who helped leverage her industry related blog into a new job:
I’ve seen clients refer to their blog entries successfully when they’re missing a skillset on their resume, but can speak to the topic in general. When you understand a specific topic well enough to write about it, you’ll gain “street cred” in the eyes of your future employer.
On the other hand, a blog can take A LOT of time, and is not something you can create and forget about.
If you’re thinking of writing a blog as a job seeker, here are some pointers:
Ask around (confidentially) to people in your profession. Does a blog matter in your industry? If you’re in marketing or an information-rich industry, it might. However, often a blog is a big time sink and you may be much better off posting content in LinkedIn (which your contacts will see), rather than a blog.
If you really feel like you can give a blog the time and attention it needs, AND if you have opinions, time to research and time to respond to comments, then:
1) Find the top 10 blogs for your industry, and read them for 2 weeks first without creating your own blog. Get a sense of what people are talking about before you create something that doesn’t seem in line with the tone of current conversations.
2) Start making a list of topics that interest you about your profession; these could be recent developments in the field, random musings or questions about how something could be improved, or an article, book, or blog you read that you’d like to respond to.
3) Make it a habit to post 1-3 times per week. Less, it looks like you’re not engaged in the topic. More, you’re probably taking time from your job search and networking efforts. Make sure you also link to your blog and publish your posts on LinkedIn.
4) Make sure you include your industry’s hot topics in one or more of your blog posts. Scan job postings to see what the employers are looking for, and if you’re missing one or more of the qualifications, research it and write a blog post about it.
5) Others may disagree, but I say don’t post personal things on a work-related blog. You can mention them in passing, as in, “I was out to dinner with friends and cloud computing came up,” but don’t spend valuable “real estate” on your blog with personal items.
6) After you’ve gotten the vibe of various other bloggers’ sites, start posting appropriate comments in their comment section, with links back to your own blog. Also, if you’re commenting within your blog on someone else’s blog post, use the other people’s blog addresses or blog title in your blog when you’re writing a blog commentary; they’ll most likely then come read your blog at some point and may start to follow you.
If you happen to be working with a career coach who knows your industry, or if you have a mentor, seek advice on blogging for a job search before starting something that may not pay off in the long run.