13.7.12

Guest Post: From Hack Blog to Hot Job

Today on Tolstoy is my Cat we have a great guest blog from Jeanna Carter, from a series entitled 'Resources for Generation Y', about how blogging can be a great way to enhance your career prospects and appeal to employers, or to replace them altogether to make blogging your full-time job.

Blogging as an employment tool is not something I talk about very often on this blog, but I perhaps should, as it has helped me get more than one job, it's something that I always talk about in interviews and it works well for me as a type of online writing portfolio. Jeanna talks about it much better than I could though, so take it away Jeanna!

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From Hack Blog to Hot Job: Blogging Your Way to Your Dreams

For many people, a blog is no more than a place to share Aunt Edna’s tamale pie recipe, post photos of your new litter of kittens, or publicly journal about the travails and blessings of parenthood. Personal blogs are increasingly popular, both as a means of sharing information and as a way to connect with others. The attention that they are garnering is forcing many who once wrote them off to begin to consider them, especially in academic. Blogs are being used everywhere from top schools in Mississippi to Oxford. This is because the blogosphere can do much more than serve as an extension of Facebook or Google+.

Blogging is first and foremost a means of showcasing your writing, something that can be difficult for students and adults alike. Many aspiring authors and journalists get their start through blogging. The medium allows them to find their voice and draw a readership. The usefulness of blogs extends far beyond simple story-telling, though. Blogs exist for almost every career path, and can be a valuable means for putting specific skills and qualifications out there. You could also get published via blog. Either your blog posts themselves might find a way to publication on a popular site, or you could post portions of a pending book and attract the attention of publishers. Either way, a blog can be more than an online diary; it can be a path to realizing your dreams.

A blog can be a place to share thoughts on any topic, but as Money-Zine.com details, a job blog is a very specific type of a blog. Recruiters in all sorts of disciplines engage in “blog reconnaissance,” often weekly if not daily. Subscribing to popular blogs allows recruiters to see what is trending online, as well as to recognize particularly talented contributors. Reading blogs familiarizes them with the major players on any given topic.

Blogs are often an asset in this respect when interviewing or even just applying for a job, especially if you have little work experience. Establishing yourself as a blogger gives potential employers some sense of your abilities and qualifications. Regular online posts can give recruiters an idea of your level of expertise, and also a sense of your writing style and communication skills. The lesson here is simple: if you want your blog to help you find a job, you need to create one the puts your best foot forward.

Your job or career blog should be professional and focus on the job you want. As such, personal antics should be kept out. Do not share recipes unless your career path is culinary arts, and avoid photos of kittens unless you want to be noticed for your photography skills. Discussions of your quirky habits or the play-by-play of your relationship difficulties should be avoided.

You will want to keep your blog interesting and create quality content, and do all you can to avoid misspellings, poor grammar, or foul language. This often means moderating comments. Comments from readers can help give your blog credibility, and demonstrate that your content is something that the public wants. Comments must be useful, appropriate, and relevant, however.

If you have specialized knowledge, or can sound like an expert in your field, you should highlight this. Another hint is to be consistent: post daily, weekly, or biweekly, not just whenever you feel like it. Including an “About Me” section which states your interests and qualifications is also usually a good idea. Depending on your goals, you can even place a downloadable resume on this page.

It’s important to advertise your blog, because if you don’t, it’s like talking to an empty room. Link to your blog from any resumes you have posted on job search bulletin boards. Submit your blog to directories such as DMoz, news feeds such as Yahoo! and NewsIsFree, and services that scan blog pages, such as Bloglines. If you are trying to get published, you can link to your blog in emails to agents. It is also important to network with other bloggers, and leave comments that will link back to your own work. It often takes a lot of networking to stand out in the blogosphere.

People like Krishnan Nair, a would-be lawyer turned professional blogger, and the writer of the popular Hipstercrite social networking and marketing blog, are only two of the many who have turned internet writing into a steady job. The possibilities are endless. Developing a niche, a readership, and a reputation take time, but the payout can be life changing. Blogging is often described as a solitary pursuit. On the one hand, yes, though posts connect to a vast network -- and have the potential to get you where you want to be in your career. 
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'The internet is increasingly becoming integrated into every area of life and opportunities to cash in are constantly expanding. Today’s post, a perfect fit for a blog that talks about blogging, discusses how this activity has become a feasible way to make a living online. It was written by Jeanna Carter, who contributes to a site that will help you find the right college and make the most of the college experience.'  
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