Blogging to Get a Job

With the growing popularity of blogging, many corporate recruiters are now using the web when trying to place, and find, job candidates.  By digging through job blogs, recruiters are now able to rapidly develop large pools of qualified individuals, while at the same time gaining valuable insights.

In this article, we're going to first discuss how headhunters and recruiters are using the web to expand their pools of qualified applicants.  Then we'll provide some tips for both creating a blog as well as getting noticed.

Job Blogs

Additional Resources

Recruiters claim one of their weekly activities now includes searching through web blogs for talented individuals, or attempting to find information about job candidates already interviewed.  The web has become a useful tool because bloggers often write extensively about their own lives, including work.

Reading through blogs gives recruiters the opportunity to not only get a good feel for the level of expertise an individual might possess in their field of work, but also get a good sense of their writing and communication skills and style.  Admittedly, most bloggers are in technology professions because there takes a certain amount of web know-how to create one in the first place.  But as we'll soon demonstrate, creating a job blog is not all that difficult.

Creating a Blog

For those that are new to this concept, we're going to begin this section with a quick lesson on blogs.  The term itself comes from the phrase web log.  This later morphed into weblog, then simply blog, which is merely a website where the writer records their thoughts on a wide variety of topics.

A typical site might combine text with images and links to other related web pages.  Blogs differ from common web pages in that readers are permitted to leave comments in such a way that they interact with the writer.  In doing so, they create a type of social network within the web; this is one of several examples of the social web.

In general, there are two ways that blogs are created and hosted:

  • Via free offerings from Wordpress, LiveJournal, Tumblr, and Google's Blogger.
  • Using dedicated software products such as WordPress or Movable Type, which are hosted on commercial web servers.

Free Sites

Perhaps the easiest and fastest way to create a job blog is to sign up with one of the free online service providers mentioned earlier.  They don't cost anything but time, and they are a great introduction into the world of blogging, or blogosphere.  In three simple steps it's possible to create an account, choose a name for the site, pick out a template, and start writing.

Software

More sophisticated, and serious, bloggers will prefer the flexibility that free products such as WordPress and Movable Type have to offer.  To run this type of software all that's needed is a domain name and a web host.

It's possible to register a domain name for less than $10 per year with industry giants such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions.  Many web providers specialize in hosting blogs, and the easiest way to get safely started is by using one of the software publishers' recommended web hosts.  While the blogging software is free, hosting will cost around $8 or more per month; depending on how popular the site becomes, and the amount of traffic it generates.

Creating a Job Blog

Even if someone's currently employed, there is nothing wrong with creating a career blog.  The following list contains some ideas to help keep the site recruiter-friendly:

  • Keep it Interesting:  attracting others to a blog means a commitment to putting in the time and writing content.  Post at least once a week and remember to check back frequently in case a reader asks a question that deserves a response.
  • Create Quality Content:  readers of the blog, especially job recruiters, will be evaluating it to get a good gauge of the writer's knowledge and communication style.  It's one thing to write in a casual (less business like) fashion.  But misspellings, poor grammar, and foul language are problematic.
  • Act Like an Expert:  don't be afraid to demonstrate a special skill or detailed knowledge on a given topic, make that fact known by talking about relevant and / or recent developments in the industry.
  • Leave Out the Detail:  it's always a good idea to leave out extremely personal information, such as the names and ages of children.  This is especially true if the writer has some quirky habits they'd rather not share with a recruiter.
  • About Me Sections:  finally, it's always a good idea to have an "about me" page.  This should be a concise summary stating the writer's interests as well as something about their area of expertise.  It's also desirable to place a downloadable resume on this page.

Advertising

We're going to finish this topic up by talking briefly about steps individuals can take to help advertise their blog.  The first thing that comes to mind is linking to the website from a resume if it's posted on a job search bulletin board.

Another good way to get noticed is by submitting it to directories, newsfeeds, and services specializing in scanning pages of blogs.  To get started submit the site to DMoz; arguably the most important directory on the web.

From a newsfeed standpoint, Yahoo has an excellent service, as does NewsIsFree.  Finally, Bloglines is a service that allows users to register and index their blog as well as search for other related content.  This last point is an important one to remember.

This is the social web, so by posting on other blogs, friends are made that might one day make a return visit and post their own comments.  Actively participating in this network is an excellent way to quickly assimilate into the online community and grow one's readership base.


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