I’ve read several articles recommending that all job seekers write a personal blog to help land their next jobs.
While it may be a good idea for some people, I disagree that it is a good idea for all — or even for most — job seekers. True, good communication skills are highly valued in both employees and job candidates. And a personal blog can be a good venue for demonstrating those skills.
However, there might be a better (and free!) option available: LinkedIn!
The Hazards of Writing a Personal Blog
Unless you enjoy writing and also write well, maintaining a personal blog may be a bad idea for you. Speaking from personal experience, regularly writing good blog posts isn’t easy.
To be visible, blogs need good SEO. That means focus on a single theme, attention to the important and relevant keywords for each post, plus inbound links from other blogs sending traffic to your blog and promotion on social media. Google needs to find your blog, and show it in search results relevant for you, to have your blog effectively support your job search or career. Good, clean SEO is critical, but not necessarily easy.
In addition, if you are employed, your boss may wonder what that blog is all about. Are you blogging to find a new job? Are you writing your blog when you are supposed to be earning your paycheck?
Blogs Are Hard Work
Consistently producing good, on-topic content every week — or more often — is necessary but not easy. I am passionate about the topic of helping people have a smart and safe job search and a great career, but that doesn’t always mean that I can easily write a brilliant post every week.
Stopping after a few months or writing only a few posts in a year will probably not impress a potential employer with your work ethic. While hundreds of millions of blogs exist, most blogs are abandoned within the first year.
Will Your Blog Impress Employers?
Writing well with good grammar and spelling in coherent and well-organized posts is required. Your writing demonstrates your communications skills and your reasoning and logic. How well you communicate and what opinions and information you share will be seen and evaluated.
Which Blog Platform Is Best for You?
In addition to the effort of writing good posts, a blog is a website with all of the associated issues (domain name, monthly hosting fee, software updates, SEO, responsive design, hackers, malware, etc.).
You can also blog on a free platform like Blogger.com (owned by Google), Tumblr, WordPress.com, Weebly, and many others which eliminates many of the costs. You also lose much control and identity. In addition, with a “free” blog, someone else owns that platform, and they can shut down or change it whenever they wish.
Better: Write LinkedIn Long-Form Posts
If you want to demonstrate your writing and communications skills publicly, leverage LinkedIn rather than starting your own blog. Write on-topic for your career on LinkedIn via LinkedIn Long-Form Posts (find the link on your LinkedIn Profile’s home page).
Excellent Visibility Where Recruiters “Shop” for Job Candidates
Assuming you can write well, LinkedIn offers you an excellent platform. Today, LinkedIn is where you want professional visibility. Long-Form Posts are much more visible within LinkedIn than posts on your own blog would likely be, particularly a new blog.
The benefits of good LinkedIn Posts:
- LinkedIn automatically links your Posts to your Profile, making them visible to anyone who visits your Profile. And, they are at the top of your Profile, easy for visitors to find with no effort on your part beyond writing the article and clicking the “Publish” button.
- LinkedIn Posts are searchable within LinkedIn, so your Posts can be found by someone who doesn’t know you, increasing your network and visibility.
- You can build an audience of “Followers” on LinkedIn — people who click the “Follow” button on your posts. LinkedIn sends them “updates” when you add a new post or make some other public contribution to LinkedIn.
- New Posts automatically become “updates” to your Profile, visible to your connections and to your followers.
- You don’t have a deadline. Write and publish when it works for you.
- Posts can be easily updated and even deleted if you choose.
- You own the copyright, so you can re-use your Posts. Consider publishing them in an Amazon Kindle ebook or perhaps on someone else’s blog.
Like other free blog platforms, LinkedIn could disappear or, more likely, change the rules or requirements for participation. So, save copies of your posts on your own computer, too.
The Hazards of LinkedIn Long-Form Posts
Anyone can write a LinkedIn Post, and thousands of people do every day, making it difficult to stand out in that crowd. Fortunately, since you are writing on LinkedIn, a big audience is not necessary. The good news is that the readers will be people who are relatively active on LinkedIn, probably the most appropriate group of readers you could find regardless of platform. So, more a quality vs. quantity situation.
No matter which direction you decide to go, personal blog or LinkedIn, be sure to write well. After all, poor writing can actually hurt your job search!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPost, AOL Jobs, and LinkedIn. Follow Susan on Twitter.