Job seekers need to be continually looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the other highly-qualified applicants. In 2013, the job goes to the specialist, not the generalist. It’s also important in today’s job market to have a positive digital footprint – the online information that comes up when recruiters and hiring managers search for you on the web. One way for savvy job seekers to gain visibility, pique a hiring manager’s interest, and position themselves as a subject matter expert is to start a blog. Here are some tips for showcasing your best qualities and skills and increasing your chances for getting hired:
1- Write about topics related to your target industry and/or occupation
Hiring managers are becoming more selective and pursuing candidates with a documented record of expertise and results. When it comes to garnering the attention of hiring managers, writing about relevant topics as they pertain to your target industry and occupation in addition to real-life examples based on your experiences can position you as a specialist in your field. For career changes looking for a way to gain entry into a new field, this is an excellent way to build “street cred” about your knowledge of a particular product or industry.
2- Personal blogs are ok but stay away from hot-button issues
You may already have a personal or hobby blog which is fine if you’re a job seeker provided it doesn’t address any hot-button issues (abortion, same-sex marriage, or political views). Everyone should have an opinion but keep in mind, greater than 90% of all applicants going through the interview process will be Googled so there’s a good chance your blog will come up early for any web search. The hiring manager for your next interview may be a donkey, and you an elephant, which may not bode well if you write a politically-focused blog under your real name. If you want to start a blog about a sensitive topic, use a pen name.
3- Choose a domain URL with your name and link your blog to your LinkedIn account
Where setting up your blog choose a domain address which includes your name if possible. The goal for you is to be found on the web, so if your name is attached to the URL on your blog, it will come up early when people search you. It’s also beneficial to include a link on all blog entries to your LinkedIn profile which can act as your resume in the event a prospective hiring manager wants to review your professional credentials and experience.
4- Ensure the blog is well-written, interesting, and highlights your tech savviness
As with any written communication, ensure your blog is proof-read. Another objective of starting a blog is to highlight your writing and communication skills. As with any reusme, spelling and grammar errors are a big turn off for the reader. Research key topics within your industry and occupation and put an interesting twist on each story you write. A “teasing” style blog title like “The 5 biggest CPA blunders” or “Ask this one question to close 50% more business” can elicit a higher read rate. Also, add links to your professional social media accounts and ways for people to share (via social media) and subscribe (via RSS) to your blog. You can also add your blog URL to your resume.
5- Set up your blog using Blogger.com or WordPress.com
Setting up a blog is very easy with Blogger.com (a Google product great for beginners) and WordPress (proven veteran program geared more for intermediates). You will need to pay a small nominal fee for your own domain name and hosting (usually less than $10/month) which is well worth the cost for additional visibility, differentiation, and possibly more job interviews. Both programs allow you to choose a blog layout, design, and color scheme.
It’s not easy to get a job these days, especially a good job. In this economy, it’s easy to get stressed out over less-than-plentiful job openings and lack of response when applying to general internet postings. So why not augment your resume with something more than just a standard cover letter? You’ll set yourself apart from the other candidates, position yourself as an expert in your field, and garner more interaction and subsequently more interviews and job offers.