By Michael Sean Gallagher in the BAU Writer Series.
Michael Gallagher is an Advisory Council Member and Research Lead at BAU Research and Development
Picking up from an earlier post on creating your own PLE (Personal Learning Environment), I wanted to briefly discuss the role of writing and blogging on your academic and professional career. Consider this scenario. I am a hiring manager for an organization that you want to work for. I have hundreds of resumes and CVs on my desk and have little to no way of differentiating among them. All have good grades, a university degree, perhaps some professional experience in the field or even an internship. So how do I choose the perfect candidate? I look online for the answers. I check their social media. I check their LinkedIn profile. I check their site or blog.
Candidates who write and reflect often about what they have learned, what interests them, and what they hope to achieve in the future differentiate themselves in a very crowded marketplace. So, most importantly perhaps for job seekers, a blog is a big advertisement for the brand of you. It is, more or less, your online resume. So consider getting started with a site of your own.
- Blogs don’t have to be elaborate affairs with lengthy posts and detailed analysis. They just have to demonstrate that you are thinking, learning, and sharing what you have learned. They can be set up quickly, can be personalized to reflect your interests, and added to painlessly. Here are a few tips to get started.
- Choose a platform that reflects your needs or interests or even technological restrictions. WordPress is the most powerful of the group. Blogger is easy to use and get started. Tumblr is perfect for those who want to post short bits of text, quotes, audio messages, or other media. For those with non smart-phones, Blogger supports SMS blogging. Tumblr and WordPress (and Blogger) all support posting by email, which is easier for some in commutes or without access to a desktop. Consider Twitter an extension of blogging; you can stream your tweets into any of these blogs to demonstrate to potential employers the scope of your participation.
- Don’t worry too much over the tone or messaging; you will find your voice. Remember, that if what you are sharing provided value to you, it will more than likely provide value to others. Start with things you have learned, questions that resulted from that learning, points you want to learn more about, and how you want to use that learning in your future career. All of this signals to employers that you are engaged and thinking about your place in the profession.
- Post regularly. Like any plant or animal, feed the blog to keep it alive. I suggest a minimum of one short post a week. It is good practice for you and good for your blog (and the webcrawlers that search your blog). It demonstrates consistent activity and an engaged professional. It sets you apart.
- Find your community. Find other Beni American University bloggers; link them to your site. Share and repost their work; comment whenever possible. You can stream this activity into your site as well. A social engagement helps keep you motivated to write and demonstrates to employers that you are a team player.
That is enough to get us started with blogging. In the future, I will discuss more on how you can measure the impact of your writing and design your site for optimal exposure.
Editors Note This Article can also be seen on Michael Sean Gallagher’s personal blog.