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It’s no secret millennials are struggling to find work in their designated fields. How can blogging help you get ahead?
Graduation season is upon us. More millennials have now joined the “real world,” and the job hunt certainly isn’t getting any easier.
We’ve shared a number of tips for millennials looking to stand out from the herd when applying to new jobs or looking to switch careers – from practical tips for revamping your resume and building a following on social media, to more theoretical suggestions such as changing your mindset and making the most of underemployment.
But here’s something we haven’t covered yet on The Reply: creating your own professional blog.
Being a writer, launching my own blog after graduating from university was somewhat of a natural progression for me. With the help of my then boyfriend (now husband), I built an iWeb site from my Mac, bought a domain name, and started posting regularly in efforts to build up my writing portfolio and land a job in my field that would help me pay off my $25,000 student loan.
Five years later, my loan is long gone, I’m doing work I love, and I’m still blogging. So I guess you could say the system worked.
But don’t just take it from me. A number of millennial bloggers have found significant career success through their blogs. For example, Kali Hawk, last month’s guest on The Reply Show, has written about turning her blog into a side hustle. It also had a hand in helping her land her full-time position as a marketing manager. Cait Flanders of Blonde on a Budget also credits her blog for getting her hired at her current place of employment.
Of course, there’s a glaringly obvious question here: what if you’re not a writer? What if the only writing you’ve done since graduating are the emails to your Aunt Barb (because she still hasn’t figured out how to text)?
It may be time to pick up a new craft.
Now, before you click on over to some other article on How to Find a Job You Love So You Never Have to Work a Day in Your Life, hear me out. (And let me save you some time – that article is just going to be full of lies. If you want to build a successful career, you’re going to have to work for it).
Anyway, I know you didn’t earn that post-secondary degree without having to pull a few all-nighters stringing words across the page.
You’ll be happy to hear I’m not talking about writing any more weekly thesis papers here.
I’m going to go ahead and assume you know what it feels like to be knee deep in a folder full of cover letters. You’ve done the writing (and you’ve developed a shortcut along the way for personalizing each application by tweaking a few words here and there). And yet… it still isn’t working.
What if you put that effort towards blogging instead?
Even if you’re a CPA, and you prefer numbers over words, a blog could serve as an outlet for your thought-provoking insights on some of the new tax laws or what the new TFSA limit means for your client’s retirement savings plan.
Say you’re looking to build a career in sales. A blog can help you build a strong network of people who are actually interested in what you have to say.
Here are some more ways you can use your blog to help you land your dream job:
Demonstrate expertise within your niche.
If you really want to show an employer why you’re a good fit for the job, a blog can reveal your knowledge in the field. Treat it like a case study portfolio. Write about problems you have come across, and offer your solutions.
If you don’t have a lot of experience working in the field yet, then do your research. Look at the common challenges companies and employers are facing within your niche, and share suggestions for ways to do things differently.
Connect with future employers.
Once you’ve established yourself as a blogger, look for opportunities to connect with thought leaders in your field. Turn to social media to close the gap for these types of connections.
Visit the blogs of the companies you want to work for, and leave comments on their posts. Perhaps even link back to one of your own posts if appropriate. Every step you take to get your name in front of a prospective employer makes you more memorable when your resume lands in their inbox.
Blogging builds new skill sets.
Remember when you wouldn’t dream of launching your own blog because you didn’t think you were a writer? Look at you now! You may not be publishing brilliant prose by the minute, but your writing is improving with every post.
You’re practicing critical thinking and learning about new technology. Who knew WordPress really was so simple? You didn’t… until you gave it a shot. Not to mention, when the job search drags on, it’s easy to let your skills slip a little. Blogging not only keeps your knowledge ahead of the curve, but it also keeps your skills sharp as you continue providing consistent posts for your readers.
It sets you apart from other candidates.
There are a lot of bloggers out there, but who’s to say the person scheduled for an interview after you is one of them? Your blog makes you interesting. Hiring managers are used to reading resumes every day, and eventually they all start to blur together. If you use your blog to showcase not only your skills, but also your personality, prospective employers get a glimpse of how you’ll fit in with their team before you even walk in the door.
What’s more, you may find recruiters start contacting you for roles you haven’t even applied to.
Sharing your blog portfolio with your prospective employer gives you credibility. It demonstrates your passion. It shows you are more than willing to put in the work. And guess what? Even if it’s your dream job, you’re still going to be working. It’s a fact of life. So why not get a head start now?
Are you considering launching a blog to help you in the job hunt? If so, what would you write about? Share your ideas in the comments below!