Blogs: an effective job-hunting tool?
Reviews are mixed as to whether they give job seekers an edge.
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The most effective way to use a blog for employment, Mr. Erickson finds, is to have one well-established before a job search becomes necessary. He says, "By demonstrating that you know what you are talking about, even if your blog does not have many readers, you'll establish a level of confidence with interviewers prior to any actual interview. But if you're just doing it to find a job, it won't be effective."Skip to next paragraph
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With or without a blog, Erickson regards social networks like LinkedIn as "the career tools of the future."
Not everyone shares his enthusiasm. "Blogging and Internet searching for jobs is worthless," says Drew Stevens, a business growth consultant in St. Louis. "Almost 65 percent of positions are discovered from your network and peer group."
But Martha Finney, author of "Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss," defends blogging.
"It's an excellent way for job seekers to demonstrate their passion, smarts, and dedication to their profession over time, regardless of what their immediate job status is," she says. "If hiring managers find their material fascinating to read, perhaps even educational or groundbreaking, they're going to want to bring these people in for interviews."
Still, blogs carry potential pitfalls.
"You don't want to get into political arguments, or include anything racy, or write about religion and politics," says Glenn Dubiel, vice president of the Mergis Group, a placement firm. "We Google all candidates. There are many people we don't hire because of their negative Web presence. Those people don't know why they never got to the offer stage. Managing your Web presence is really important."
Noting that everyone needs to be "Googleable" these days, Ms. Finney says, "The question is, when someone Googles you, are they going to find pictures of your dog at the Grand Canyon? Or are they going to find evidence that you're so passionate about your work that you're compelled to be a voluntary thought leader in the field [on your blog], even when you're not being paid for it? My vote is for the voluntary thought leader."
Monica O'Brien, a business-technology professional in Chicago, blogs about young professionals and business technology. "Through my blog and social media accounts like Twitter and LinkedIn, I've received multiple leads on job opportunities for both contract work and corporate positions in my area," she says. "In all cases, the company has found me and requested a résumé."
Mari Feazel, who graduated last month from Chapman University, wants to work in public relations in Orange County, Calif. Instead of a blog, she has created a personal website to showcase her résumé and portfolio to employers. When she applies for jobs, she includes a link to her website. It's also on her business card, résumé header, and e-mail signature.
"I think I'm a pioneer," Ms. Feazel says. "Every time I bring it up to friends and classmates they react with surprise. The concept hasn't become very widespread."
Even so, she says she has received "great feedback" on it. One recruiter, impressed with her approach, set up an interview with a large public relations firm.
Calling a Web presence "unbelievably powerful," Mr. Dubiel says, "Even gainfully employed people need to build their network. The quicker you can start building that, the less chance you'll be out of a job for a long time."
Blogging tips for people between jobs
Rebounding from a job loss can be a long, difficult process. But according to Martha Finney, blogging can serve as an effective tool in the hunt for new work. For those interested in trying this strategy, she offers these suggestions:
•Make sure your blog features commentary that is timely and well thought-out. If you have an idea that moves your profession forward, so much the better.
•Try to find interesting, positively oriented topics.
•Stay away from topics that are so controversial they might risk alienating a potential employer.
•Weigh in on other people's blogs.
•Blog frequently. Demonstrate by your activity on your blog that you really love your career.