Flickr photo by Christine Young

Happy Birthday to my blog!

That’s right, it’s been almost a year since I started this website. I have loved having it, and I feel that it’s been a tremendous help to my professional networking. However, as it seems that its benefits aren’t obvious to all, as evidenced by the questions about it I receive in job interviews, I wanted to share my thoughts and reasons with you here.

It shocks me how few job seekers set up a website for themselves, especially for those going for communications and marketing positions. I set this up last year, when I was in the early planning stages of a cross-country move. Knowing that I would have to largely start from scratch networking, I wanted to make sure that I used tools that would quickly show that I was a qualified nonprofit communications and technology professional.

Here are some of the key benefits that I gain from having this site:

  • It collects my writing samples and provides a venue for fresh articles. Many communications positions require submission of writing samples, and this site allows me to very easily submit articles on a variety of topics. I have collected blog posts and newsletter articles here that I wrote for previous employers, and I write new articles for this site to demonstrate my skills are kept current.
  • It helps me control internet searches on my name. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else with my name, and I’ve behaved myself pretty well online. However, it’s still great to dominate search results with intentionally placed content. A search of my name on all of the major engines not only brings up LinkedIn, but several posts from this site. If you do have embarassing pictures or information on the web, or if someone else with your name does, having your own site will do a lot to bury that content.
  • By writing on topics relevant to my career, I rank high on related web searches. While searches on my name will bring visitors here the quickest, I also rank well on searches related to nonprofit technology and communications, thanks to all of my blog posts.
  • By checking my web stats, I can see the effectiveness of my job search activities. Any communications manager will tell you that their analytics tool are key to assessing their web activities, and it’s no different for my job search. I check in regularly to see where my visitors are physically, and how they found my site. In addition to seeing which social networks drive the most traffic my way and which blog posts are the most popular, I can often see enough information to tell which hiring managers clicked through to my blog posts.

In addition to these benefits of just having a website by itself, this site also serves as the centerpiece of a communications campaign with the goal of finding me a job. All of the tasks associated with having this site – choosing a good website tool, consistently creating compelling content, integrating with social media, choosing good keywords for web searches, monitoring analytics – are key skills that should be important to any manager looking to hire a communications manager. This site also serves as the hub of my communications program with my blog posts radiating through the “spokes” of social media.

Even if you are not looking for communications positions, blogging is a great way to enhance your job search. While it does require a commitment to writing regularly, the benefits are too good to overlook. If you have questions about setting up a blog, let me know in the comments, or drop me a note. I can add new info here or in other blog posts, or I am also available as a consultant to help you set up your site.

As I move through my job search process, I plan to continue sharing the ideas and tactics that help me along. Let me know in the contents if there are other areas you’d like to see me cover, and check back here for posts related to my job search.

 

Do you have a personal website? Do you blog professionally? What has held you back from setting up a site for yourself?

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