Whether you are looking for a new job in a new field or trying to get further along your career path, your online presence is an important part of what a prospective employer will want to know about you. By now, you should already know that you shouldn't post crazy pictures online or make negative comments about previous employers, but it's equally important to create an online presence that clearly shows that you are a skilled, knowledgeable professional who is passionate about what they do.
But, how do you do that? Some people have created their own personal websites that contain information about them, their resume and even a portfolio of their past work. While this isn't a bad idea, I tend to think that this sort of information and self promotion can be done better and more effectively with a professional networking site like LinkedIn. Instead, if you're willing to go the extra mile to create a site that markets you and your skills, why not start a blog?
Blogging is a great way to get involved with your professional community, establish yourself as an expert, build a reputation, grow your network and to top it all off – it's a lot of fun. By creating a blog that is a marketing tool, you'll see your overall happiness with your industry grow and you'll increase your chances of landing the job you really want. Here's how to do it:
Know what you want to blog about. You might not want to blog about your entire industry, but you can always narrow it down to just a small part. Think about what you do best. What is your unique voice or outlook? What do you have to offer that others may not? Use your answers to these questions to decide what your blog should be about. Some people enjoy blogging about their industry in general, while others prefer to keep it very specific. For inspiration, do a web search to find other bloggers who are writing about similar topics. Once you have a clear vision, finding topics and things to share will be easier.
Make your blog stand out. There are probably many blogs that deal with similar topics, so you'll have to make a real effort to stand out. One of the best ways to do this is to get involved with other bloggers. Create a network by reading what they've written and participating with their blogs. Of course, I'm not suggesting that you just randomly spread your link. Instead, you should build relationships with bloggers you enjoy and whose views you respect. This network will help you promote your blog. As an added plus, employers will be impressed because it is a clear demonstration of your understanding of how marketing and professional interactions work.
Learn new skills. When you run your own blog, you can choose to use ready-made templates or create your own. Although it will probably be easier at first to use the pre-made ones, do some research and learn how to modify or create something more unique. Instead of using stock photos, why not take your own pictures? As you grow your blog, you'll be forced to learn new skills and use skills you may not be able to list on your resume. All of this will make you more attractive to a new employer. It shows that you are multi-talented and willing to grow and learn.
Include a link on your resume. Since most resumes are being sent electronically, include a link to your blog. This way, an employer won't have to look very hard to find it. It's a great way for them to learn more about you and for you to present yourself in the very best light possible. Since you are in control of the content, you can be sure that they will recognize your effort.
You don't have to think that you're an expert in your field in order to start blogging. No matter what your experience is or how many years you've been working in your field, you have a unique and special voice. No matter what, you have something to share. Create your own platform and start sharing it!
Do you have a website or blog? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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