This is a guest post by Jeszlene Zhou (@jeszlene @firstcommjob)
In the new media world, where recruiters are increasingly screening social media profiles and headhunting talents online, a blog gives you control over the online information your potential employers will come across by directing them onto a focused page. It is a great way to express initiative, showcase your skill sets, promote yourself, increase your network size and boost your chances of getting that dream job.
Choosing your blog theme
A great blog begins with a theme and here are three categories that works great for the job seeker.
Tom Wants A Job is by far one of the most in-your-face job seeking blog I have encountered, even the title is a no nonsense and explicit request for a job. Maximising the use of tabs, Tom Cowie has created pages for his profile, resume, portfolio and contact information, for any recruiter to have a thorough understanding of the potential employee’s professional and “personal” history.
- Tip: Create a visual portfolio of your achievements, such as using photographs to represent or highlight moments of your previous projects alongside a brief description.
Since showing is better than telling, why not show off your skills sets via a “How-To” style blog? Display your knowledge by teaching others tricks of your trades, using visuals and step-by-step exposition. This can also come in the form of reviews, commentaries or reflections of industry related news or events. After all, if you can illustrate how to do a task right, you’re indirectly demonstrating your own understanding.
- Tip: Discuss a workshop or conference you have recently attended to prove how proactive you are about improving your knowledge within your field of expertise.
Especially appropriate for the artists, writers and communicators this blog can be about anything and is highly sustainable. Choose a topic that you are passionate about, and use your blog to indirectly exhibit your photography skills, editing abilities, creative copy writing, promotional capabilities, networking prowess, digital / web 2.0 knowledge, well-rounded personality and more!
- Tip: Many hobbies are considered desirable for specific industries (eg. a marathon runner would often be perceived as possessing endurance and stamina, traits transferable to the financial world), so think out of the box, but also think strategically.
For many students, it is extremely cost effective to start their blog with WordPress.com however if you want more control over the theme design, add plugins etc, then you would probably need a self-hosted WordPress blog. (See this infographic for a comparison chart). If you are looking for theme ideas, then WPBeginner has a pretty good article on how to select a perfect theme.
Utilizing Your Blog
Now that you have a blog theme, and presumably a few posts, here’s some tips to utilise your blog for your job hunt.
- Add your blog link to your resume, LinkedIn profile and email signature.
- Add links to your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites onto your blog, and use these platforms to promote your blog.
- Interact with other bloggers who have common interests, thought leaders within your professional industry and companies by leaving engaging comments on their blog posts.
- Create links to blogs and websites in order to activate pingbacks.
- Write guest posts for other blogs or invite guest bloggers to write on yours.
- Use your blogger status to attend conferences or networking events.
A blog can be a great hub for your social media presence, but success is still based on your creative ideas, level of knowledge, beautiful personality, desire to put yourself out in the job market and ability to self promote. However, a well constructed social media presence gives you a competitive edge over the average job seeker, and in this highly competitive market, every bit counts. What are you waiting for? Control your social web presence and start a blog now.
Jeszlene Zhou is a communication practitioner, student and blogger at First Communication Job where she explores tactics and provides tips for the media and communication job seeker.