The Job Search Secret Ingredient: BLOG
Most job seekers who have been on the hunt for any length of time will tell you that looking for a job IS a full-time job. Networking, social media activity, applying for jobs, and eventually interviewing, all take time. With all this time spent looking, some still neglect one important job-search activity that has the potential for a great ROI: BLOG.
I’ve developed an acronym for BLOG to help describe why this is so important:
Branding is one of the most important elements of any marketing strategy. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” As a job seeker, YOU are the product that you are selling, and it is important to differentiate yourself from other candidates applying for similar jobs. A blog can be used as an extension of the resume. Rather than being confined to 1-2 pages, you can add a portfolio of work, including pictures and a project list. Be sure that your blog is targeted to your career focus and update it regularly to show you are motivated and consistent. Your readers should be able to tell what sets you apart – are you a bold, cutting-edge risk taker? Or a collaborative team builder?
L = Leadership
Blogging is a great way to establish your thought leadership and build credibility in your field. You can showcase your ideas, put them into the proper context, and share them with others. Business owners have figured this out, and some progressive job seekers have too. Each post gives you a forum to display your knowledge of your field, share anecdotes about your career accomplishments, and truly distinguish yourself from other candidates. Some keys to remember for job seekers are to respect the intellectual property and trade secrets of your employers, and stay positive. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb if you have an unusual or controversial opinion on something – it could be the difference that shows you are a leader, not a follower.
O = Opportunity
Opportunity does not come to those who wait. Passively expecting something to just fall in your lap is like expecting to win the lottery without buying a ticket. If you are a job seeker, you have to be active in your marketing. You can attract opportunities to you by networking and getting yourself found online. This must include more than uploading your resume to a job board and updating your LinkedIn profile. A search-engine-optimized blog can get you found in searches related to your career field, and it gives you relevant content to promote on your other social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
G = Greatness
According to a recent Cross-Tab research study, Online Reputation in a Connected World, 89 percent of hiring managers and recruiters review online data on candidates. So, when a recruiter or hiring manager Googles you, what do you want them to see? A half-complete LinkedIn profile or personal Facebook profile? Or an impressive showcase of your knowledge, skills and accomplishments that motivates them to pick up the phone and schedule an interview? A blog could make the difference between appearing as a mediocre candidate and one who offers greatness.
A blog costs virtually nothing to set up. Free accounts are available at WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Weebly, and many others. For less than $25 per year, you can even get your own domain name (I recommend something simple like your first and last name). The primary investment is time.
Many bloggers successfully monetize the blog with advertisements. This could be a way to supplement your income during your job search.
Be careful to remember that everything you do online is a reflection on your personal brand. If you do choose to blog, follow the rule of thumb that if you wouldn’t say it in a job interview, you shouldn’t say it online.