Let’s Social-ize! Part I

by Rachel on May 18, 2010

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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carissa @ Fit To Indulge May 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for the insightful post! Ironically I just sent out my resume this morning. I have been in a stable job for 4+ years, but its time to move on and move into the nutrition field as I come close to completing my degree. I contemplated adding my blog in my personal info, and then I though, “Why not? This is the real me!” So this post really spoke to me. Thank you :)

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2 Rachel May 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Carissa, that’s awesome!! I love “This is the real me!” LOVE!

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3 Skyler Meine May 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Great article. It is definitely time to bust out of our shells and get passionate about what we are doing with our lives. A blog is a great way to find yourself again and way to invest in yourself and what you are passionate about.

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4 Kevin - @lunchboxsix May 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm

1. No child left behind is crazy. Kids are not getting an appropriate education. I am pretty much a super liberal and I disagree with this issue. Why Teddy, why did you push that one????
2. I would love to start a blog. I have passion (see, I said it) about music, radio, exercising, pop culture, curing breast cancer (keepabreast.com), did I say music??, healthy living and having fun. Having fun is the best thing for your soul.
I am thinking about starting a blog this weekend. We will see how it works out. My writing & grammar is not Harvard like or not even Ohio St. like… I missed that week in Jr high and through out high school English class we just spent time reading B.S. books like Moby Dick and To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh well. We shall see where the weekend takes me with my blogging endeavors.

Back to the grind in the cube, but just a side note. Rachel, when I take a mental break at work I tend to go straight to your site to read your stuff. I get a chuckle and then get back to whatever I may be doing at the time. Your blogging/tweets are like a slice of Chicago style pizza. Awesome.

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5 Manon May 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

TOTALLY with Kevin…..some days my favorite blogs (and yours is at the top of my list) are the few things keeping me from beating my head into my cube wall daily…..in fact, today after I got frustrated to the point I used inappropriate language (prob similar to what you used when you contacted Maranatha getting you removed from their page ) that probably sent some of the nuns around here straight to confession, I went to your blog, giggled, and low and behold I got my god damn macro to work after cussing at it for at least 2 hours. Now I sit here wondering when I’m going to get the call from HR telling me I can’t say mother f’er or cocksucker in the work place…..when your stand up career takes off, please consider me for your trusty sidekick and save me from corporate hell…..mmmmmkay? :)
.-= Manon´s last blog ..It’s Date Night!!! Woot Woot!!! =-.

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6 Rachel May 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Awww, Kevin and Manon, I love comments like those!!! Seriously!!! And yes indeed Manon, you are on board as my trusty sidekick!

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7 Anna May 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

This blog was really inspiring, thanks!

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8 Melissa (It's a Veggieful Life) May 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Great post! I have very little time to blog lately, plus I try to post stuff I think is interesting & fun which I don’t always have on a daily basis! And what’s the deal with your website name? Trying to lose us “stalkers” are ya? :)
.-= Melissa (It’s a Veggieful Life)´s last blog ..Peanut Butter Giveaway! =-.

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9 Diana May 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Haha, I’ve accepted the fact that now, with what comes up when you google my name, I can never have a conventional office job. I do a lot of photography, especially self portraits, which means that employers would probably worry about what image their company will have if clients and associates know one of their employees makes it a hobby to expose her naked back and transform herself into a crazy woman for thousands of people. Imagine if I can ever be hired to teach youngsters when in two clicks they can see me half-naked or covered in fake blood! Hell, my own dad worries that I will bring shame to the family! But I suppose that’s alright, I don’t see myself in an office job anyway. Dlogs are fun, it’s nice to put your thoughts out there. For some reason it’s easier to be fun and honest with strangers.
.-= Diana´s last blog ..49/365 =-.

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10 Lindsay May 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm

That’s a good point about blogging. I’d never thought about it that way. The thing about bosses Facebooking applicants is definitely true, though. I work at a newspaper, and my boss looked up all the applicants on Facebook (granted, she’s young, so she’s already on Facebook a lot). This one guy had a good resume, except his Facebook said that he’ll never work at a newspaper again, complete with expletives. Uhh, yeah, so why’d you apply then? That’s what I’d call being ridiculous about it. :)

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11 rachael May 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I love this post! Being findable on Google is super important these days…. I’d love to read what you have to say about refining a messy, sprawling social media presence. In my case – I’m fairly findable with a web search, but my social media presence is very unfocused. Twitter and Tumblr are especially victim to my stream of consciousness style of micro/blogging; on any given day I might seem like I’m on drugs with my random tweets or I might sound really intelligent and grounded with a solid essay about Facebook or social media on my blog. I know there’s a need for consistency in my blog and Twitter feed, but sometimes I just have to tell the world that I’m listening to The Cranberries and use an obnoxious #zombie-ay-ay-ay tag.

In any case, I’m excited to see the second part of this post! Loving the rebranding move. :)

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12 Carla Aldaco May 19, 2010 at 1:02 am

Shoot! Now I kinda want a blog . . . Not sure I’m tech-savy enough, I havent even figured out twitter yet :\

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13 Jenn May 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Awesome post, and so insprirational. As I’m preparing to slo-o-o-o-wly transition back to a career, I should probably begin with some baby steps like this. Thanks for the ideas.

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14 Emma September 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I’ve recently decided I need to step up the blog. Now that I’m fairly committed to it, have had the realization (gasp!) that I can write about whatever I want, and realize that I *can* fit it in with work (particularly as long as I’m not trying to post meals, and pictures of said meals, three times a day), I want to make it just a little bit *better*. And the first place I went to was your “Talk Nerdy to Me” section and re-read all your “(Why and) How to Start a Blog” posts. Adam looked over my shoulder as I was doing this, and said, “Oh, Rachel! Your girl!” He was, of course, teasing me…and revealing the fact that we both talk about you (on a first-name basis), and your blog, often enough for him to recognize your logo when he walks up behind me.

Thanks for being awesome! :)

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15 Emma September 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

P.S. That comment *should* have ended with, “And look – I got a gravatar!”

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16 Rachel September 6, 2011 at 8:45 am

Woo! Welcome to the Gravatar club!

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17 Siyam September 11, 2011 at 1:44 am

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but I’m nervous that I won’t have much to say. I’m currently a junior-level college student, so I figured that before I graduate I ought to have a blog for future employers to look at, and future colleagues to reference. My passions are all over the place ( food, fashion, travel, self-development, beauty, philanthropy…the list of the list needs an ellipses). How do you narrow it down? :)

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