Friday, July 27, 2007

Why Blog When You Are in a Job Search?

Resumes are great tools for introducing yourself to potential employers and recruiters. But resumes do little to foster the relationship between you and decision makers in your field. Blogging gives you the opportunity to consistently authenticate the skill set demonstrated on your resume and continue a conversation with the people who need to know who you are. If you’ve been thinking about incorporating a blog into your self-marketing strategy, below are eight blogging tips to help you move forward.

Setting Up A Blog

A number of services are available for setting up a blog quickly and easily. Hosting services like Blogger or Typepad provide formatting templates and blog publishing systems like MoveableType and WordPress help users produce custom-designed sites.

Keep it Real

Writing for the web is different from writing for other mediums. Readers expect to see a personal side of you. They look for quality information from a trusted source. You want them to feel comfortable with you and the information you present so they keep coming back to your blog. Avoid “corporate speak” and use a conversational, but professional tone in your posts, similar to your speaking style during a networking meeting . Your audience wants to feel like you are talking directly to them.

Stay on Topic

The best blogs are those that create community for a specific niche. They are not designed to be everything to everyone. If you are marketing your candidacy to multiple industries, your blog should address common, yet specific issues that are relevant to your profession. If your expertise benefits a very narrow niche, your blog should center on industry or product-specific information that is important to your audience and an extension of your brand.

Stay In the Now

Since most blogs list entries in reverse chronological format, it’s critical that you blog frequently; once a week is acceptable, but two to three times per week is ideal. If the “shelf life” of your blog posts has expired, your readership may question the value of your posts or your commitment to your blog and your profession. Try to schedule time each week for blogging so your content stays fresh and your readership stays intact.

Use Keywords to Boost Search Engine Rankings

Blogs contribute to the frequency with which search engines such as Google and MSN identify a person. You can accelerate your page ranking by incorporating relevant keywords into your blog copy and headlines. “Blogrolling”, a term that means setting up links on the blog, also boosts positioning on Web searches.

Build Credibility

By writing frequently and writing about a specific topic, you build credibility with your readers. If readers return to your blog, they are likely to also want to comment on your blog and connect personally. Since they have already established somewhat of a relationship with you, they are more likely to be "pre-sold" when they inquire about your availability for new opportunities.

Create Community

A great blog creates a community where people can come to learn, build relationships, exchange ideas, and have their concerns validated. Your blog is a virtual extension of your network. Expect to give more than you receive in the form of content and advice. In no time visitors will be tuning in for your latest installment, recommending your blog to others, and spreading the word about you and your expertise.

Get the Word Out

Include a link to your blog on all your personal marketing collateral including business cards, email signature line, published articles, bios, and voicemail recordings. This strategy encourages prospective employers to visit your blog and helps them stay connected to you.

Setting up a blog is easy; maintaining one is hard work and a significant commitment. But the process can be extremely satisfying and the benefits to your job search can be priceless. As an expert in your field, you offer a unique slant on your area of knowledge. Blogging raises not only your individual credibility, but that of your industry as well.

Interested in learning more about how a blog can help you in your search? Contact us for details.

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