Blogging Bliss & Bloopers
11/28/2006 5:56:44 PM
By Peter Weddle -- Ever since the presidential election of 2004, blogging has been the darling of both politicians and the media. Today, it’s also an important tool for job seekers. A growing number of recruiters are searching the blogosphere to find candidates for their openings, making it an effective platform for catching their attention. There are, however, appropriate ways to blog and inappropriate ways. Do it right, and you’ll experience blogging bliss (and maybe find the job of your dreams); do it wrong, and your blogging bloopers can put a choke hold on your job search campaign.
Blogs are individual logs or diaries written on the Web. Anybody can write one, and over 50 million people around the world have decided to do so. There are a number of Web-sites that both host blogs at no charge and provide step-by-step instructions on how to create them. These sites include:
As with anything else you try for the first time, blogging takes some practice, but it’s really nothing more than writing down your thoughts and ideas … for 7 or 8 billion people to read.
There are people writing blogs about almost any subject the human mind can conjure up. For example, you’ll find blogs about:
Wonderful Things (Boing Boing),
Politics (Daily Kos),
People in the News (Crooks and Liars), and
Sports (Steelers Fans Always).
Basically, people write blogs about whatever is important to them. Sometimes it’s hobbies; other times it’s issues, and from time-to-time, it’s outright silliness. They are fun to write and entertaining to read, but they will not help you find a new or better job...unless you do some things differently.
If you want to advance your career with a blog, you need to write with that purpose in mind. The goal of an employment blog (or eblog) is to market your capabilities. The blog is a platform for strutting your stuff in your profession, craft or trade. It’s not an endless or repetitive resume, but rather, your thoughtful discussion of key issues, developments and challenges in your field and/or industry. A good eblog will describe how you would solve problems, create opportunities, and apply your expertise on-the-job. It illustrates what you can do and how well you can do it.
There are several important rules for writing a good eblog. They are:
Don’t rant or be ribald. An eblog is not the place to complain about the war in Iraq or the high cost of prescription drugs. It is also not the place to detail your bacchanalian background or prowess with the opposite sex. Think of it as a theatre where you should be the best you can be in your field of work.
Don’t defame previous employers or bosses. An eblog says as much about the character of its author as it does about the topic. If you make scurrilous remarks about your last employer, recruiters believe that you are likely to do the same with their organization, should you ever decide to leave. You shouldn’t burn your bridges behind you in the real world, and the same is true online.
Do proof read and edit what you write. While the quality of your ideas is obviously important, so too is the quality of their expression. Grammatical mistakes and misspellings call your professionalism and sense of pride in your work into question. Recruiters assume that those who are sloppy in the public domain of the Internet are also likely to be sloppy on-the-job.
Do blog regularly. Blogs are works-in-progress, not static billboards. Add to your blog at least once a week and give yourself the time to say something worth reading each time you write. Be careful, however, not to overdo it. An encyclopedia-length blog will make a recruiter wonder if you’re skimping on your day job.
Employment blogs set you up to be “discovered” by recruiters. How? Recruiters believe that the best candidates for their openings are passionate about their work and increasingly express that passion in a blog. Therefore, they use blog directories—sites such as Technorati, Blogwise, and the Blog Search function at Google—to hunt for people who are writing about the kinds of issues and challenges they are likely to face when performing the job they are trying to fill. If that’s you and you’ve avoided the bloopers of blogging, you’ll be in just the right spot to enjoy its bliss.
Blogging is not an alternative to all of the other methods of looking for a new or better job. It is, however, an effective way to distinguish yourself from others in the job market, to paint a self-portrait that will enhance your visibility and your stature among the recruiters and employers looking for talent on the Internet.
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