Using a blog to launch your career is one of the best things you can do. Of course this does depend on what your career is. This blog actually started as a way to expand my portfolio and to put practical skills to work. I had been working towards my career in marketing for a couple several years but was having trouble figuring out what direction it was I wanted to take. I knew though, starting a blog, building a ‘brand’ and finding ways to gain an audience would help me no matter what.
Along the way, I realized that a career in digital, content and social media marketing was what I preferred. Creating, managing and maintaining a blog fits well into all of these categories.
When it comes to non-professional degrees there’s only so much that school can teach you. Don’t get me wrong, it was super important to get my University degree and I learned a lot of things that I could take forward with me in my career. However, things like, what social media management tools are the best to use or basic coding skills weren’t taught. With technology being such an integral part of business – in basically anything you do now, it’s important to learn skills like this.
Of all the things I’ve done in career journey, starting a blog was the best and here’s why:
Improved my writing
They say practice makes perfect. While my writing still has a ways to go, I have found that my writing has vastly improved since I started writing my blog. Sitting down everyday and writing 800-1200 words definitely helps. It’s like that 10,000 hour rule from Malcolm Gladwell. In his book The Outliers, he talks about having to do something for 10,000 hours before you become good at it. Although I’m not sure I want to count how many hours I’ve spent blogging in the past year and a half, it’s got to be close enough to that number!
When it comes to writing blog posts you are always forced to think; who am I writing for? If you’re writing for yourself than great who cares what or how you’re writing as long as you’re happy. If on the other hand you’re writing for a specific audience you always have to think in their shoes. This is a great skill to learn for your career because in almost every job you have to write. Whether it’s reports, articles, ad copy or synopses, you’re always writing for an intended audience.
Learned coding and SEO
It’s hard to do anything online these days if you don’t know basic coding and SEO. It doesn’t matter what what business you’re in or what you’re doing, you must have an online presence. If you are running your business on your own, you’re going to have to learn to do things like this. It doesn’t take much to learn basic coding but once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite useful.
I’m still trying to figure out SEO and how that looks for me and my blog but even knowing as much as I know now just through trying to promote my blog has helped me immensely. It has forced me to sit back and think; why am I doing this? Or, will this help my blog overall? Having a career in content marketing and social media it’s really important for me to understand the SEO basics. Knowing how to write with keywords in mind, or build a linking system as best as I can are both things that have helped me in my career.
Taught me time management and analytical skills
Running a blog part-time is no easy feat. There are days when I work a full, often long day at work and come home only to sit down again at my computer and ‘work’ for another 4-5 hours. It sucks, sometimes I sit there wondering why I do this to myself but at the end of the day I love it. It’s about balance. I set time aside for myself to get things done on the blog that need doing while still being present and involved in my full-time job.
One thing is for sure, trying to get my work outs in, having a career, maintaining a blog, having a social life and trying to have enough time to do things for myself is not easy but I do it and it’s taught me a lot about time management.
On the other hand, my analytical skills have improved by using this blog as well. I now try to spend time every month looking at Google Analytics to see what you, the reader, is interesting in knowing more of. For example; I saw how well my How to spend 10 days in Iceland trip was doing so I wrote more posts about Iceland. Turns out, those have done pretty well themselves.
In your career, there’s always going to be moments were you have to look at something and analyze it. Whether it’s a problem, a situation or a plan. Knowing how to digest information and come up with logical suggestions is incredibly valuable for a company.
Improved resourcefulness and problem-solving skills
I don’t know everything. Duh. I already knew that but when it came to blogging I realized there is so much more to learn on a daily basis than I probably have time for. The blessing and curse of our digital world is that it’s always changing and things don’t always go your way.
When I wanted to move my blog to being self-hosted, I poured and poured over blog post after blog post. I read everything I possibly could on the subject. Being resourceful has helped me get the blog to where it is now. For better or worse everything you see on this blog I’ve done myself.
Got me noticed
Above all else, this blog has got me noticed. Not on an international scale, or any large scale by any means but if you Google my name of the blog – at least it shows up. This gives me credit. When applying for new jobs, it’s no secret that you’re going to get Googled. If you haven’t Googled yourself already to figure out what your ‘brand’ looks like online, do it and do it now.
You’ll hear it again and again, but having a personal brand for any career is very important. First impressions matter. Having a personal brand that stands out against the crowd is a good way to get the career of your dreams. Creating a blog and having a following could be just the ticket you need. You never know, a future employer might just find you and decide that you’re the perfect person for the position they were looking to fill!
Do you have a blog? I’d love to hear how it helped you to land or get you started with your career.