Part of what I do now as a social media coach is encourage all people to use social media and then teach them how to do it. But for many people, the “Why you should” might more important than the “How you should,” and I wanted to talk about that.
It’s a pretty big topic, so I’m going to cover it over the course of a few days. But today, let’s get into the topic of having a blog!
A couple months ago I got a call from a friend who had been laid off. She was about to start looking for jobs. “So, what, do I like..need a blog now?”
My response was, “Uh, yes.”
Then she said, “But I don’t have anything to talk about.”
Well, my response to that is, “Then why on earth should I hire you?”
I love the line in Julie & Julia when she says, “I could start a blog! I have thoughts!”
We all have thoughts! And if you have chosen a major or a career path, then you do, in fact, have something to talk about. It applies to every industry because no matter what field you’re in, when you are looking for jobs, you want to show employers how passionate you are.
They always say not to use the word “passion” in a cover letter or resume. (I struggle with that. I mean…it’s hard for me to not use the word “passion,” like…500 times a day.) But I’ll bet if you are applying for a job or internship you really want, you’ll be fighting the urge to use that word too. And by having a blog, you can avoid it. Because then you can show them you’re passionate instead of telling them you’re passionate.
Let’s say your field is education and you want to teach third grade. You can try to gush a lot during your 10-minute interview about how much it means to you. You can say, “I LOVE kids! I have wanted to be a teacher my entire life!!! I think that the No Child Left Behind Act is CRAZY!!!! I did a really great project in the classroom where I student-taught last year about how to make paper and the kids LOVED IT!!!!” and on and on and on.
There’s nothing wrong with being passionate — but emoting all over your future boss and hoping you remember to express everything important about yourself in five minutes is a little intense. She’s shoving you out the door and you’re still saying, “…and I organized our weekly staff breakfasts…and I coached T-ball…!!!”
But you could do that. Or you could include your blog’s URL on your resume. And if the employer checked it out, which she very likely would, she would see several well-written, detailed posts where your passion comes to life. Pictures of how you made paper with your students and an explanation of how other teachers can do the same. A link to a news article on No Child Left Behind and your thoughtful response. How passionate are you about teaching? Well obviously you’re passionate enough to write about it once or twice a week.
So I sell this idea and then come the negative responses…
“Be careful what you put out there! Potential employers are going to Google you!” Ugh, I’ve heard this a million times. Yeah, they sure as shit are going to Google you. So how about you make the first things that come up really, really good?
“People don’t get hired because of things they put on Facebook!” There’s a huge difference between an employer finding a blog where you talk about your industry and an employer seeing pictures of you doing keg stands. My basic rule of life is “Don’t be ridiculous,” and it’s a good one to apply here.
“But what if they don’t like what I have to say?” It’s so hard to convince people of this, but having something to say — even if people don’t always agree — is better than having nothing to say.
When I worked at ELLE, I had to hire the interns. And I’d always ask, “Who is your favorite designer and why?” I didn’t care who they chose; I just wanted to know that they had an opinion. If the future intern said, “I don’t really know…” then no, they were not going to make a good intern at a fashion magazine. I wanted passionate interns. (Non-passionate ones always just quit.)
And the awesome thing abut blogging is that it’s free and easy. Even if you can’t get a top internship, you can create a great blog. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to reveal anything about your personal life. You don’t even have to have readers. But you need a place where you can post, even if it’s just once a week, on those things that you’re passionate about. The projects you take on at work that you’re super proud of. Your response to industry news. Tips for handling problems associated with your job. The back story of how you got into your given field. If you’re a student, you can talk about what you’re learning in your classes and whether or not you agree.
And before you know it, you’ll be the teacher or engineer or doctor that everyone wants to hire because she’s the one who is all over it. You clearly love what you do. Suddenly, your resume becomes less important and you have a huge advantage in your interview because your work speaks for itself.