Why Having A Personal Blog Is Absolutely Essential If You Want To Get A Job In 2015...
(...And Our Step-By-Step Beginner's Guide To Getting One Started In Under 10 Minutes)
By Jeff Gillis
You might not like what I’m about to say, but you can’t really argue it either.
Everything you know about job interviews is changing.
The interview questions are getting stranger (How should I know how many planes are in the sky over the USA at any given time?)…
Half of the interviews are in front of a computer screen instead of being in person…
And the amount of Twitter followers you have is sometimes more impressive than you being the top sales person at your last job (and certainly more important than whether or not you have a Masters Degree)…
I think we can all agree that we live in a different world than generations past.
Handshakes and phone calls have been replaced by “likes” and text messages, and so much more of one’s place in the world is defined by one’s online presence (or for our purposes, “brand”).
More than ever, a job seeker’s “brand” is driving interest in the eyes of hiring managers as they attempt to gather the most information about every candidate and ultimately make the correct hiring decision.
This has created two unique distinctions in the types of job seekers that are now battling for the same jobs.
There are the “old school” or traditional Job Seekers, whose primary method of applying for a job was to submit a cover letter and resume and cross their fingers.
And then there are the newbies… the new Job Seekers who arm themselves with a portfolio rich in both the traditional features and the wonderful new tools available to them in the online world.
Enter "Job Seeker 2.0"
While this clever classification may have just made you cringe (isn’t everything 2.0 these days?), the fact of the matter is, you probably know exactly what it implies.
There’s a new kind of Job Seeker out there applying for jobs. He/She’s a lot like the old job seeker, only a little faster, a little more efficient, and with a few more bells and whistles.
And Version 2.0 is proving that the most successful job seekers are using a different tool to secure job offers from their interviews…
A personal blog…
Don’t worry, because in the rest of this article I'm going to show you that not only is starting a personal blog ridiculously easy, but we’re going to show you exactly how you can have yours up and running in less than 10 minutes.
Applying For a Job: From The Job Seeker 2.0 Handbook
Gone are the days when simply emailing off your resume and cover letter and waiting for a phone call is the best way to secure a job interview.
According to Ken Sundheim (CEO of KAS Placement Sales and Marketing Recruiters):
More and more often, job seekers who simply rely on a resume and / or cover letter (even a LinkedIn profile isn’t as helpful as it once was) are frequently outflanked by those who carry a robust online presence.Ken Sundheim
CEO of KAS Placement Sales and Marketing Recruiters
Here’s the situation: The hiring manager of today still sits at their desk with a stack of resumes in front of them.
The difference is, the pile today is made up of two kinds of job seekers. The traditional ones who have submitted their cover letters and resumes and if they were feeling really advanced, included their newly-polished LinkedIn profile (Job Seeker 1.5?).
And then there are the Job Seeker 2.0’s. Who along with the standard pieces listed above have also included a link to their personal blog.
To what? Their “blog” or personal website.
Now for those of you that are not hip to the lingo, a blog is basically a personal website that shares both information about you (or the theme of your site) and allows you to share information in the form of blog posts (or articles), photos, videos and other media.
Jeff's Note: Personal Website vs. Blog
In reality there isn't too much different between a blog and a website these days. For the purposes of this article however, think of a personal website almost as an online business card (see example 1 below). In my opinion, this type of simple website should be the absolute bare minimum you have. A blog allows you to share more information and show your expertise more (See examples 2 and 3).
This is a good example of a "Personal Website".
- As you can see Rachael does a great job of showing off her personality and creates a "personal online hub" where people can connect with her through her other online profiles: facebook, twitter, instagram and a host of others . (Rachael is a "social media expert" so don't think you have to have as many profiles as she does!)
- She keeps the website simple. As you can see it almost acts as an online business card.
- This simple "personal website" format may be all you want to start with, and that's fine!
This is a great example of a "Personal Blog".
- Sarah has opted for a simple website "theme" (the look of the blog). She has concentrated on putting her thoughts, ideas, personality and photos front and center.
- By reading her blog posts you really get a sense of who Sarah is. Her personality and thoughts shine through. You not only get a picture of who she is but also a lot her expertise. Exactly what you want from a personal blog!
- As you can see with Sarah's blog you don't need a super fancy looking blog to make an impact!
This is a great example of where your "Personal Blog" can get to. It's also a slightly different style of blog as it's both personal AND topical.
- Kati has created a great blog that combines a lot of great qualities. It showcases her expertise, shows off a lot of her personality and because she blogs about a topic (nursing) in a fun and engaging yet instructive way, she has been able to build up a significant following. She gets a lot of visitors to her site!
- In fact, because of her large following she has even been able to segue into making income from her blog by selling her own book "Becoming Nursey". (NOTE: Don't worry having your own book is NOT a requirement! Although as you can see, your blog can grow with time and end up making you some decent money on the side and even end up providing a full time income.)
- As you can see your blog doesn't HAVE to be yourname.com. Instead you can choose to create a blog on a topic you're passionate about that showcases your personality and your expertise.
I hope you can see from the examples above that your blog/website doesn't have to be incredibly complicated for it to be a very valuable asset for you!
Having said that the very mention of the word “blog” probably conjured up one of two ideas in your head when I first mentioned it:
The first, of a mother of two standing in her kitchen making gingerbread cookies and sharing her recipes and photos online for all of her friends to look at and then gossip over at swimming lessons the next day.
Or, perhaps you thought simply of words.
Lots and lots of words. A painful amount of words.
Well, you’re not alone.
In fact, there was a time that the very thought of having to create my own blog was akin to taking a history class with Justin Bieber as the professor. Painful. But things have changed for me, and after reading this article, they most definitely will for you to.
If you want to join the Job Seeker 2.0’s (and if you don’t, I think you should reconsider) and give yourself the best chance of getting a job offer from your next interview, then you need to consider getting your blog up and running asap.
And here's why:
"...a whopping 61% of people surveyed said they received a job offer because of their blog."
10 Reasons Why You Need a Blog Today
Here’s the deal.
I didn’t use the word need by accident. I mean that when I say it.
We all know how difficult it can be to be walk into battle against tens (and in some case hundreds) of other applicants and be the only one who walks out of the interview room with a job offer in your back pocket.
According to Charles Pooley (CEO of Workfolio):
The employment market is an incredibly scary place to be right now as a job seeker—but a personal website offers several important things to improve your odds.Charles Pooley
(CEO of Workfolio)
You simply can’t expect to stand out by emailing out a couple sheets of paper and crossing your fingers.
A personal blog is now a necessary part of every job seekers online brand.
Again from Ken Sundheim:
Even with a fractional budget, you can effectively advertise yourself to potential employers and build a personalized brand that creates an image of hard work, success, knowledge, expertise and potential.Ken Sundheim
CEO of KAS Placement Sales and Marketing Recruiters
(And if you work in Marketing, Sales, PR, Graphic Arts, Technology, Media, Communications, Social Media or anything creative, it is basically a must that you have your own blog. In fact, you should already have one.)
Here are 10 reasons why you need a blog today:
- Build Your Network: Not only does having a blog allow you to connect with like-minded individuals in your industry that you wouldn’t normally have access to, but being in a blog community can also lead to job opportunities not otherwise available (both in your industry and even in a completely different line of work).
- Increase Your Visibility: It’s no secret that Hiring Managers Google applicants after receiving their applications. Having a blog helps ensure that you show up in searches but also diversifies the offering you provide outside of your LinkedIn page.
- Be Different: Despite how important it is for a job seeker to have a personal blog, many still don’t. Having a blog will ensure that you stand out amongst these individuals and also demonstrate that you have additional skills including being a content creator and entrepreneur.
- Stay Sharp: If you are going to blog about the industry you work in, it will help to keep abreast of everything that is happening. Nothing will force you to stay on top of your industry’s current events and trends like having a blog.
- Engage Hiring Managers: Think about what happens when a Hiring Manager reads your resume and cover letter. The same thing as everyone else’s. Read… read again… next. The content is not interesting enough to hold their attention. But with a blog, you can keep them engaged longer with interesting stories and other thoughtful content.
- Show Them Who You Really Are: Have you ever submitted a resume and cover letter feeling like there was something missing? Well there was. You! It’s impossible for you to show who you really are in the traditional resume/cover letter format. You’re restricted by the dimensions of the page. A blog allows you to show off your personality through design and unique content.
- Demonstrate Your Expertise: This might be the most obvious benefit. It’s kind of like answering half the interview questions before you even enter the interview. Because with your blog, you can clearly show that you are an expert in your field that really knows her/his stuff.
- Take Control of Their Experience: During the job interview you’re on the Hiring Manager’s turf. You have to play by their rules. On your blog, however, you get to control and customize the experience however you want. This ensures that the massaging that you want to get across comes through in a clear and concise fashion. Pretty cool, right?
- Transform Yourself Into a “Business”: At the moment, you’re just a name and a couple pieces of paper (your resume and cover letter). Instead of your business offering a product or service, you are offering your skills and experience to hiring managers. A blog allows you to show how serious you are about your industry and presents it in a professional and advanced package.
- Extend the Interview: This is the big one. Have you ever walked out of an interview thinking that you left something on the table? That you didn’t get to really show your stuff? Well having a blog makes sure you leave no stone unturned, because it allows for the Hiring Manager to continue learning about you even after the interview is over
- Reduce Your Nerves: Blogging has a way of building confidence. This is mainly because you accumulate skills and knowledge while building the blog. However, it can also help in the interview room, because it allows you to share so much without having to say anything.
- Keep Yourself Busy While You Wait: There is nothing worse than waiting by the phone for the phone call that sometimes never comes. I know it always stressed me out. Having a blog allows you to keep your mind busy in between interviews and reduces the amount of stress you feel during this anxious time. Not only that, why not do an activity that will increase your chances of getting a job while you wait for the next opportunity.
- Get More Interviews: The very act of including a link to your blog when submitting your applications will increase the amount of interviews you actually get. Why? Because by being more interesting and engaging hiring managers longer, you’ll make yourself that much more attractive. They’ll be dying to meet you!
- Make a Little Money on the Side: Many people are able to turn their blogs into money-makers, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that! Having your own web presence unlocks opportunities for advertising, marketing and selling, as well as developing business relationships.
- It’s Fun!: Take it from me… once you get the hang of blogging, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It feels great to check in on your site and see like-minded individuals leaving comments, sharing your articles via there social accounts, and believe me… the day you get an email through your site about someone interested in interviewing you for a vacant position… you’ll be over the moon.
Can you start to see the power of having your own blog as part of your job search?
Still not convinced?
What if I told you that 61% of people surveyed who have a blog as part of their personal brand received a job offer BECAUSE OF THE BLOG?
A Recent Case Study From Victoria Michelson On How Having A Blog Helped Get Her Multiple Job Offers
“As an experiment, I started to include an invitation to visit my website anytime I sent out a job application. I’d expected to generate a bit of traffic by doing this, and to show more of my personality than I could communicate in a brief cover letter, but I did not anticipate the overwhelming, positive response I got from prospective employers who took the time to check out my blog.
They would send emails complimenting my writing style and leave thoughtful comments on my posts. This led to real, personal conversations about mutually important issues that laid common ground when it came time for my interview. And I was told more than once that I was being offered the job because my blog and the discussions it generated gave the hiring committee confidence in both my skills and my character.”
Victoria Michelson relaying her story over on IdealistCareer.com
Amazing right!? But it makes sense don’t you think…?
Put yourself in the Hiring Manager’s shoes. You have two applications sitting in front of you. One application contains a cover letter, resume and a LinkedIn profile.
The second application has those three things but also includes a link to a personal blog that has work samples, blog articles, testimonials, videos and other multimedia.
Who would you be more impressed by?
This isn’t even the future of job searching. The future is now.
It’s really a no-brainer.
Jeff's Note: Do You Own www.yourname.com?
Do you own the “yourname.com” domain name?
In the new world, this is something that everyone should have. Now, more than ever, it's essential to have a place (that you control) where you can share who you are and what you have done. It's really a huge part of maximizing your personal branding opportunities.
But it's also important to protect your personal brand against any other parties that might look to capitalize on your name.
You should really take a look to see if "yourname.com" (or .me, .net or others) is available and snap it up if you can, even if you're not ready to start a blog today!
(We show you how to do this in the video below even if: "yourname.com" isn't available).
“But I CAN’T Make A Blog Because…”
Nearly everybody thinks that making a blog is hard, but it really couldn’t be any easier (which I will show you in my step-by-step video below).
You might be thinking:
“I’m not good with computers.”
You found this article, didn’t you? The skills you need to create your blog are no more advanced than the skills you already have.
“I’m not a good writer.”
Don’t get trapped into thinking that your blog has to just be about writing. There are a lot of creative ways to use a blog, including photos, videos, slideshows. Or, simply focus on turning your blog into an extension of your business card. And when the need comes to expand the articles you post, there is no shortage of helpful resources for writers all over the internet.
“I don’t have time to write on my blog.”
I mean, really? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if you don’t have a job you probably have a few minutes to spare. How do you want to spend that time? Emailing off resumes and cover letters or contributing to the one thing that sets you apart from everyone else and will help you get a job offer? (Plus you don't have to write a bunch of content if you don't want to anyway, as you saw from example website #1 above...)
“I don’t have the money to spend on a blog.”
You can literally get started for a