by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Editor's note: This article is the second of two parts. Part I discusses the pros and cons of using a blog as a resume.
If you've decided you'd like to experiment with using a blog as a resume, consider these tips:
Include elements you can't include in a traditional paper resume.
Linked from his blog, The Bryper Blog, social media blogger Bryan Person offers what he has coined his Social Media Resume and notes that the resume include items not found in a conventional resume, such as:
- a link to Person's portfolio on del.icio.us (a social bookmarking website), which in turn links to Person's blog posts, podcast episodes, and conference presentations
- a pointer to his profile on LinkedIn, a business networking site
- a photo of Person
- an embedded episode of a podcast, a link to his shared items in Google Reader (another social bookmarking site)
- a link to his photos on Flickr (a photo-sharing site)
- a link to messages on Twitter (which enables friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to the question: What are you doing?)
- a link to his profile on the social-networking site Facebook
A commenter to Person's blog further suggested an audio or video interview with one of your references as a valuable Social Media Resume component. Others have suggested case studies, links to must-read blogs, and links to buzz and testimonials about the blogger.
Tell the world who you are and what you want to do.
"Once you have a clear idea of who you are and what you want to do, you can start to tell the universe and attract the people who you would like to work with, talk their language and sell your future," writes Blogging for Beginners author Margaret Stead, who has been advising clients to blog their resumes since 2002. Consider including such elements as a bio page and/or an About Me page in your blog. Rich Page has both (see bio), and his About Me page particularly conveys a sense of who he is.
Establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Be purposeful and specific in choosing what you will blog about. Projecting confident expertise and current commentary about emerging trends can get you noticed by employers in your field. "When I started my blog, I knew I loved marketing but it helped me evolve towards specific topics I closely identify with (such as customer evangelism and community marketing)..." writes Mario Sundar on his blog Marketing Nirvana. "Blogging, I realized was a great way to effectively share thoughts, energize, and converse..." Sundar assures readers that blogging with purpose will deliver your "circle of interest," the audience for your blog to you. Interviewing leading experts in your field and blogging about them will also raise your profile, notes Lorelle VanFossen on her blog, Lorelle on WordPress.
Tell specific employers how much you want to work for them, as Carolynn Duncan did in her blog when she had her heart set on working for Provo Labs and blogged her way into a job with Why Provo Labs Is Hiring Carolynn Duncan. She blogged about why the company excited her so much and what kinds of problems she could solve for them. (She got the job but now works elsewhere). Consider using your blog to express your passion for working for your dream employer.
Tell interesting stories about projects you're working on.
A blog gives you far more latitude than a resume to tell a compelling and detailed story about the kinds of projects you would normally list on your resume. Writers are consistently exhorted, "Show, don't tell." Resumes are about telling, while blogs are about showing, and here's an awesome (and successful) example, posted by Matt Coddington on his now-defunct blog:
Because of my age and lack of formal experience in the industry, I would like to present you with a case study of my work rather than a conventional resume. This case study will be of my most recent website. It is a blog in the online business niche that is only 4 months old yet has already become an authority in the field and gained widespread recognition.
Bob Sutton, a commenter on one of the blogs discussed in Part I of this article, suggests the kinds of questions readers have in mind and to which a blogger can provide answers by detailing professional accomplishments: "What can I conclude about the writer's critical faculties? Are his judgment or perspective distinctive or valuable to me? Does he wield influence? What does his use of language or other cultural tools say about him? How does he handle spontaneity?" Adds Henry Copeland on BlogAds: "Other important factors get recorded: do we play well with the other children in our class? do we share credit? do we collaborate? listen? articulate? admit mistakes? grow?"
Be careful about blogging while employed.
While your blog is a great medium to describe your work and accomplishments, some employers have policies that prohibit employees from revealing anything that goes on in the organization. Be sure you know your employer's rules before blogging about inner workings of the firm.
Yes, you can have more freedom of expression in a blog and write more conversationally than in a resume, but be sure to represent yourself in your blog the way you would truly like to be seen by employers. As Joshua Porter writes in his blog, Bokardo (referenced in Part I of this article), "Your blog is serious business. It has the power to completely sway someone's opinion about you." Echoes VanFossen, "Your blog shows the world what kind of employee or consultant you are."
If your writing is not engaging or if faulty grammar, spelling, and punctuation make your blog entries hard to read, your blog may do more harm than good in your effort to get yourself employed. Porter notes that blog readers care more about ideas than perfect writing. I see many flaws in the writing of those who've succeeded in getting jobs through their blogs, so I suspect Porter is correct. But it's also quite possible to cross a line into writing that is simply unreadable.
Make your blog archive a living archive.
Past entries in your blog don't have to remain static. You can go back and make revisions, as well as update previous material to keep it fresh. Just as it's advisable to keep your resume updated, keeping your blog current propels you to the cutting edge.
Syndicate your blog.
Syndicating your blog is only indirectly a way to use it as a resume and relates more to distribution than content. (See an explanation of RSS, a software commonly used to syndicate blog content.) Syndication ensures that more people have access to your blog than if you didn't syndicate. The better known you and your blog become, the more likely you might be sought out for a job opportunity. Syndicating your blog is a bit analogous to using a resume-blasting service to disseminate your resume, except that syndicating is much less annoying to recipients, who can choose whether to subscribe to your content. A variation on syndicating is providing a feature on your blog in which readers can receive an email notification of a new posting. Also include the Web address of your blog on your business cards and emails and spread the word about it in networking situations.
Take advantage of the networking benefits of blogging.
Popular blogs attract many comments, and your blog can become a community, a continuing conversation. Visitors to your blog can become valuable members of your network and can very quickly discover more about you than the average in-person network contact, as Jason Kottke notes on BlogAds: "Anyone who meets me online -- including possible friends, fellow Web design enthusiasts, or potential employers -- has access to 4+ years of my thoughts before they even have to strike up a conversation. That's damn powerful stuff."
Continuing to engage your fans with content and converse with them through comments is a bit like handing out your resume in a social situation. While not every commenter will agree with you, many comments to your blog serve as endorsements and testimonials. Employers will notice that you are talked about. (Be sure to comment on the blogs of others to enhance this effect.)
Final Thoughts on Blogs as Resumes
It's likely that job-seekers are just beginning to scratch the surface of the resumes-as-blogs concept. With some blogger care and creativity, this emerging form of job-search communication will continue to evolve.
Examples of Blogs-as-Resumes and Resumes-as-Blogs
Blogging for Jobs Resources
- Blog Article: 5 steps to let your dream job find you
Blog article: Leveraging Your Site to Land That Dream Job
Blog article: Blogging Yourself Into a Job: Is Your Blog Your Resume?
Blog article: Blogging to a Job
Blog for Jobs: A showcase for those who blog for jobs.
Read Part I of this article for tips on how to create a blog with resume-like elements, along with examples of blogs that function like resumes.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
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