Thursday, June 17, 2010

From Blog To Job

Melanie Wanzek

CTW Features

When Adriana Willsie, 24, began blogging in October 2008, it was more to escape a job than to find one.

"My best friend and I were living 1,000 miles apart and working in uninspiring jobs," Willsie says. "Since we were both avid cooks and aspiring writers, we thought co-writing a food blog would be a fun way to stay in touch."

The blog, "Thin Crust, Deep Dish," quickly grew from a forum to share recipes to a launching pad for Willsie's culinary career. The blog led to Willsie's first professional writing job: ghost-writing introductory sections of a new cookbook for a prominent Chicago chef after the book's producer read her work online.

"The hours I spent cooking, photographing and writing what I was eating began to transform my career goals," Willsie says. "I began to take seriously the idea that I could work with food on a professional level."

Blogs give jobseekers an important opportunity to share their knowledge while keeping their minds sharp and fresh. They also give current workers the chance to show off expertise in an industry they hope to enter. Veteran marketing executive David Dirks benefited professionally from his blog, "Dirks on Strategy," when a newspaper editor saw his work. Now, Dirks is a weekly business columnist for The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., runs his own weekly online "talk radio" show on job searching and has published a new book, "Job Search Marketing: Finding Job Opportunities in Any Economy" (BookSurge, 2009).

Using a blog to find an ideal career comes down to two things: positioning well to benefit a company and differentiating oneself from other job seekers.

Starting a blog takes mere minutes, thanks to sites like WordPress and Blogger. And the forum reaches large numbers: WordPress alone hosted 9.2 million blogs as of November 2009, with 220 million people visiting at least one blog on the site per month. But making your blog effective takes time and advertisement.

"By itself, a blog will not do much for a job search," Dirks says. "The key is to promote the blog as much as possible to get noticed."

A strategic blog requires a defined focus, quality content, consistent updates and active networking..

"Find other bloggers who are further along the career you're hoping to establish and ask to interview them for your blog," she says.

Dirks recommends writing often. Over time, search engines will find a blog and search its content, which increases odds of people finding bloggers through keyword searches.

"Many people start blogs but few stick with it long enough to see results," he says. "If you blog, be sure to blog regularly. You don't have to write a lot, just enough to get your point across clearly."

Dirks reminds job seekers that blogging is just one of several strategies of self-promotion. He recommends using additional tactics, such as consistent networking or even creating a free newsletter on a topic in your field and promoting it during your job search.

Don't rule out the unexpected.

Says Willsie: "We didn't start the blog with the idea it would help us professionally, but it has had a deeper impact on my own career than I could have ever imagined."

Original Article

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