There is a cliché about looking for work that states, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While that saying doesn’t tell the whole story, there’s no denying that the connections you make in life can exert a huge influence in terms of determining your career path. However, acquiring the skill of ‘networking’ effectively can seem challenging at best, or perhaps even impossible.
If you are looking for work or even a completely new career, blogging may be the solution for getting your name and ‘personal brand’ out to your ideal employers. If you have an employment-focused blog, you’ll immediately stand out amongst other job seekers. Perhaps more importantly, your blog can help you to network effectively in your field before you apply for a new position.
In this post, we will take you through a four step process for using your blog to land your dream job. We’ll cover a lot of ground, including how to create a personal brand, and how to utilize your blog to gain authority in your field. By the time you’re done, you’ll be in a far better position to secure your dream job. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Define Your Blog’s Purpose
To ensure your blog’s effectiveness, you must brand it appropriately. With that in mind, your first step is to define the purpose of your blog.
With a defined purpose, you have a starting point for what type of content you will need to create. The goal is to provide your perspective on your industry in a voice that employers will take seriously.
When it comes to defining your blog’s purpose, we suggest you do a little homework. Start with the following three tasks:
- Identify your future dream job. Knowing specifically what you want to do in your dream career will help you to determine your target audience.
- Research prospective employers. Researching employers helps you to understand if they are the correct targets for your blogging efforts.
- Set your personal criteria for your dream job. With your criteria in place, you have a starting point for your content topics.
By the time you’re done, you should know what your dream job looks like, and which employers offer that job.
Step 2: Create Your Portfolio
An online portfolio can act as a calling card to prospective employers, and a great backlink for your blog content. Fortunately, creating one may be easier than you think with WordPress.
You should start by choosing a high-quality WordPress theme with a strong portfolio-focused design. Once you have that, you should draft up a list of your accomplishments that will make for good portfolio elements. If you do not have any (or many) items that you can use for your portfolio, try creating a sample or ‘pretend’ project to showcase your talent. Be sure that every item you list in your portfolio will align well with the employers you chose during your research in Step 1.
You can now add your portfolio elements to your WordPress website. (If you haven’t set your site up yet, now’s the time to do so!) Once you’re finished, we suggest that you ask trusted friends and/or family members to review your portfolio and give you honest, constructive feedback. Use this feedback to optimize your portfolio until you’re happy with it.
Remember that your portfolio is never finished. You should update it regularly so that it remains a showcase of your current abilities and experience.
Step 3: Use Your Blog to Increase Your Authority
Now that you have a portfolio in place, it’s time to turn your focus to your blog. You’ll want to use it to demonstrate your authoritativeness in your chosen field, which will increase your standing in the eyes of prospective employers. As such, every post you publish should build upon that image you are trying to build.
There are a myriad of directions you can take when it comes to ideas for blog posts, but here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Go into further detail and/or refer to projects in your portfolio. You should refer back to your portfolio whenever possible, and what better way to do so than via a blog post? Use a post to go into further detail on an aspect of your portfolio, or offer an alternative angle.
- Write opinion pieces. If you have something to say on the state of your industry, your blog should serve as a platform.
- Reveal your strengths. You no doubt have stories about positive achievements in the past (professional or otherwise); use your blog as a soapbox for showcasing past experiences that prospective employers would look favorably upon.
In a nutshell, whatever you discuss should demonstrate that you are experienced in your industry.
In terms of getting the word out, we recommend guest posting when you get the chance. This not only gets your name out there in the industry; guest posts also provide a wonderful opportunity to get a link back to your blog.
Step 4: Display Testimonials for Your Work
Having someone you’ve worked with praise the job you did does wonders for showcasing your skills and industry authority. The best way to leverage praise is to get it in a testimonial format that you can use on your blog and portfolio.
Getting testimonials can be tricky. Luckily, there are a few tips you can use to get great feedback without being annoying. The easiest way is to use a short survey that people can fill out at their convenience. Tools like Survey Monkey and these WordPress poll & survey plugins are perfect for gathering feedback to use as a testimonial for your work.
Once you receive your testimonials, you can add them to your website. The simplest way would be to create a page for your testimonials, but there are also plugins available that can do a more professional job. Fortunately, we’ve written a guide on the whole process!
Leveraging your WordPress blog as a job search tool enables you to take career networking to the next level. It allows you to reach out to others in your industry and create an authoritative presence that future employers will be attracted to.
Do you have any questions about how to use your blog to find your dream job? Let us know in the comments section below!