A big chunk of web working has to do with managing your online presence. That means staying on top of social media trends, managing Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other profiles, and making sure all these communities are working to your advantage. A well-managed online presence could mean a Digg front-page one day, and a well-placed link another, generating a lot of traffic and interest in whatever service/product you may be selling.
It’s surprising, then that people so often overlook the value of a personal blog in the social media web.
Not Just a (Live)Journal
Once you’re making your living online its time to say goodbye to the “Dear Diary” mode of blogging. Yes, you’ll miss it, but there are less risky ways to exorcise the exhibitionist in you.
Bidding farewell to the confessional style will benefit you in a number of ways. First, you’ll open up your potential audience beyond your immediate circle of friends/family members. You can keep a private blog for that purpose, but any publicly accessible site should have wider appeal, if only slightly. Second, you’ll avoid embarrassment. We’ve all heard the horror stories of potential employers shying away from employees with questionable content on their Facebook profiles. That sort of thing isn’t limited to banks or traditional employers. Even the most casual web-based employer or client will raise an eyebrow at your four paragraph-long expletive-filled condemnation of your neighbor who has loud parties.
Tend to Your Garden
Dead plants do not increase your curb appeal. Likewise, stale posts do not give off the impression that you care about your blog. A well-kept and current personal blog will show prospective employers and clients that you are a consistent, self-motivated producer who can see a project through to completion. And depending on your content, and the job you’re aiming for, a personal blog could be the perfect place to prove you’re a subject matter expert. Plus its a ready made portfolio of clips if you’re angling for a writing job. Make sure though, that if you’re reprinting material you’ve posted elsewhere, you have permission to do so.
Link (It is Social Media, After All)
A blog is a space for conversation, and with a personal blog, you’re lucky enough to be able to open up dialogues about pretty much anything you want to. Using your blog as a jumping off point for discussion will open doors, grow your network and result in contacts that will only add to the resources at your disposal in your professional life.
Linking (and source linking) also show that you know what you’re doing, if you’re looking for blogging work, and that you can communicate, research, and connect effectively. All skills, you’ll notice, that employers prize.
Personal blogs, in the end, are not so personal after all. If they’re publicly accessible, they’re part and parcel of your web worker resume, which is far more than a piece of paper in the context of today’s social media and online communities. Whether your blog is a practical enactment of the qualities you want to show employers, or a glaring reason not to hire you, is up to you.