Stop what you’re doing, open a search engine and enter your name. Would you be excited if a potential employer clicked on the first link? If not, it’s probably time to start a blog.
More than 75% of employers search job applicants and about 40% say what they find has influenced their hiring decisions, according to Microsoft data. College students expect to be searched online when applying for a job, but too often, they focus only on removing or hiding content that isn’t favorable to employers. This leaves many students missing an opportunity to showcase their personalities online through blogging.
Megan Duncan teaches a mandatory multimedia-writing course for all students in the journalism college at the University of Florida (UF). Her class is known for requiring students to create a blog and update it weekly over the course of a semester.
“It’s something that employers are increasingly looking to interns and new hires for,” she said. “Older staff people may not be skilled to write in a conversational blog format.”
Each semester, students who struggle through other assignments typically excel at blogging, Duncan said.
“People shine in their blogs. A lot of students start out overwhelmed, but over the course of the semester, I see passions and interests and writing develop,” she said.
Kelly Boudreau, 23, is evidence that the assignment works, and keeps working. Boudreau began a lifestyle blog, Hello Boudreau, during her last semester at UF to showcase her passion for home décor, fashion and do-it-yourself projects.
In the 14 months since her blog’s inception, it has accumulated more than 75,000 views and multiple affiliate sponsors. Although Boudreau’s blog started as a “creative outlet,” it eventually led to her pursuing a job at an interior design firm. Not surprisingly, she was hired.
“It’s a great way to showcase creative talent and writing skills as well as computer and HTML skills,” she said.
Of course, it’s important to ensure that a blog is an asset once it’s added to an applicant’s resume. Here are a few tips to present your blog in an employer-friendly manner:
Express your personality
Blogging gives you the opportunity to express a talent or interest that could set you apart from your competition. In this format, you can write with a strong voice, leaving readers with an impression of who you are and what you value. While there is little room for creativity in the content of a resume, blogging allows for experimentation with layouts, photos and writing styles that give you an online persona.
Although blog-style writing can be conversational and opinionated, it will still be critiqued based on grammar and accuracy. There’s no excuse not to proofread your blog, and if it isn’t well written, it will be difficult to keep a recruiter’s attention on your page.
Integrate your online presence
Add links to your other social media accounts, creating an all-encompassing online profile. Write about yourself and allude to other work you’ve done and its significance. This will reinforce a recruiter’s perception of your capabilities and experience.
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