How Blogging Can Get You Hired
Work Smart Nigeria (formerly The Versatile Nigerian) blog is two! To celebrate two years of blogging, I'd like to shed light on how writing on this platform has helped my professional life. If you are wondering if starting a blog can get you a job, the answer is a resounding yes! Here's how this worked out for me.
I started blogging at a low point in my life. I had just made the decision to transition from academia (teaching) to industry (non academic jobs) and was having a hard time finding a job. In order to keep myself relevant and engaged, I did two things:
- I started a blog. The goal was to improve on my writing, while at the same time passing on what I had learnt during my time teaching at the University level.
- I researched volunteer opportunities in my area and decided to join the Philly Nigerian Professionals team as the Communications Director.
These two somewhat unrelated activities were instrumental to my professional development and employment in the following ways:
1. | I learnt about blogging platforms:
Blogging presents an opportunity to learn new skills that may translate into your next employment or entrepreneurial pursuits. Blogging forced me to learn how to use WordPress, Squarespace and dabble with basic html and CSS coding. On the surface, this doesn't seem like much. However, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would get a job that requires the knowledge of WordPress (company website management), nor did I think that learning to use Squarespace would get me a paid gig to design a website for an entrepreneur (side hustle). If I hadn't started blogging, none of this would have been possible.
2. | Tools and more tools:
Canva, MailChimp, SumoMe, PicMonkey, Trello, the list goes on. Blogging opened up new vistas in terms of design and content delivery. Knowledge of these tools have helped me tremendously in my work. For instance, learning MailChimp introduced me to the world of email marketing, which also happens to be a skill needed for my current job. I have also used Canva and pic monkey to edit pictures, create ads and other small design projects at work. #winning!
3. | Writing:
Remember the saying: practice makes perfect? Blogging helps you improve on your writing skills through constant articulation of your ideas, storytelling and offering information that resonates with your readers. With blogging, there really isn't any pressure to be perfect beyond the pressure you put on yourself. I recently did a blog audit and it is interesting to see how my writing has improved since my first post on the blog. Let's just say my initial blog posts left a lot to be desired. Just like any other activity, the more you write, the better you become at writing.
4. | Social Media Management:
Before blogging, I stayed off social media. As a Communications professional, I see and understand the value of social media to a business, organization, institution etc. On a personal level, I think it gives people access to you in ways that aren't necessary. Owning a blog brought me out of my comfort zone and into the world of social media and introduced me to tools such as Hootsuite, Bitly, Coschedule, Buffer etc. And yes, these are tools that I now use at work for social media management.
To summarize this section, blogging increased my skills and knowledge base, and also introduced me to platforms and tools that acted as selling points during my job search/interviews and now serve me on a daily basis.
When I was searching for a job, my blog served as an extension of my resume. When interested employers Googled me, my blog was one of the first things that came up and they were able to get a glimpse of my work and what I could bring to the table. This is especially true of my current employment.
Volunteering at Philly Nigerian Professionals (PNP)
When I initially set out to volunteer at PNP, I used my understanding of WordPress as a pitching point. I knew that PNP needed a website and I needed to have an ongoing work experience on my resume. I met with the Founder of PNP - Chioma Azi and we talked about how a collaboration would be mutually beneficial to both of us. The rest as they say is history.
My volunteer work with PNP went on my resume, which in turn made me a more attractive candidate on the job market. I also learnt a lot about networking, community development and event planning, which has helped me in my present employment. Best of all, I gained a friend and a colleague who has served as a reference for me in numerous pursuits.
I am sure this all sounds groovy and you are just about ready to sign up for a WordPress, Blogger or Squarespace account. By all means do! I think that the best blogs are those that inform, educate and entertain (within good reason - no gossip). In all things, remember to keep it original, classy and avoid copying and pasting from other blogs.
Here's a little something to get you started: Five (5) Things That Make Your Blog Awesome.