How to Market Yourself Effectively With a Blog

job searchA survey on employers' use of social networking sites showed that 45 percent used them to research job candidates, and one-third did NOT make the hire based on something they read. Take advantage of the fact that recruiters and hiring managers will look online to find additional information about you, and do what you can to stack the deck in your favor. An easy way to do that is to start a blog.

When blogs first became popular, they were mainly a tool for self-expression. Early adopters used them for creative writing, journaling and capturing their thoughts on personal topics of interest to no one but themselves.

But both blogs and bloggers have evolved. Today, a blog can serve as an important marketing tool if you're looking for a job or hoping to advance your career. To get the most from your blogging efforts and ensure your blog works FOR you rather than AGAINST you, it's important to keep these key principles in mind:

1. Make the subject of your blog relevant to the work you do and the industry you're in, or want to be in. It's great that you're passionate about hockey, and perhaps a recruiter with the same passion might take an initial interest in you; but your primary blog should be one that showcases your professional expertise and knowledge.

2. Post at least once a week to keep content fresh and show that you are actively involved. You don't have to write a 5,000-word dissertation. A short post with a link to a relevant news article and one or two sentences of commentary is just fine.

3. Write in full, grammatically-correct sentences. This isn't a text to your best friend. You want your blog to show you in your best light and help you make a good impression on people who don't know you.

4. Remember that blogs never die. That means, whatever you write can be read by anyone and is online forever. What might seem funny or clever late at night when you're alone in front of your computer, may not go over well with a general audience in the light of day. Think twice before you press "publish."

5. Leverage popular blogs in your industry. Link to and comment about them from your blog and leave comments on the posts that resonate with you. Make sure to include your blog URL in your signature.

6. Include a link to your blog from your social networking profiles. When recruiters do find you there, they can easily click over to your blog and learn even more about you.

7. Add your blog address to your resume. Almost universally, it's your resume that will be distributed to everyone who will interview you, and you want them to know about your blog and have easy access to it.

While having a well-written blog is no guarantee you'll improve your career prospects, without it you may find yourself struggling to stand out in an increasingly competitive professional environment.

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