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Can blogging help you land your dream job?

A copy of my CV (address and phone number removed, obvs) with my blog mentioned under 'other projects'.

Back while I was still in university I decided to start writing about career advice. Because, you know, who doesn't want career advice from someone who is still in full-time education and hasn't yet been through the tribulations of a full-time job? Granted, I was working in the Career Development Centre so I was ever-so-slightly qualified to hand out advice but not as much someone who actually had a career. But alas, we all go through stages when we give out advice that we are not qualified to speak on. 

Anyway, fast forward a few years and I have now been graduated for four and a half years, have a job I genuinely enjoy, have lived through another full-time job that did actually test my sanity, been through countless interviewers and have now progressed far enough that I have actually sat in on interviews from the employer's side (I have however never been a decision maker, just an influencer, in an interview). It's safe to say I am a bit more qualified to discuss this than I was back then. 

So I am going to start using my new found qualification by answering that age old question that has been circling the blogosphere for a while: can blogging help you get a job? 

My short answer is yes...and no. Which doesn't really help anybody, so I'm going to elaborate. And before I do, I just want to add a disclaimer that I do not represent the views of every employer ever. Just the ones I've been interviewed by and my own views on what I look for when I'm asking the questions. Also, this is aimed at graduates who haven't yet had their first full-time job. 

1. If you're looking for a social media job, your blog needs to be spectacular
Your own blog is fantastic work experience if you're looking for a digital marketing job. However, in this circumstance your blog will need to be a serious blog. One that is updated regularly, has a nice layout, is typo-free, good photography, polished social media, dusted with the odd PR partnership here and there and has an impressive reader count. 

It's easy for anyone with an interest in social media to fashion their own work experience (I mean, anyone can start a Twitter chat or blog) so you'll need to stand out. A blog you update once a month and have 20 followers on isn't going to count. Start hustlin'! 

2. If you're looking for a non-marketing role, it shows you're well-rounded
Extra curricular activities of any kind are important to a job application (y'all know how much I preach about needing more than just a degree). It shows that you are well-rounded and didn't spend all of university with your head in the book and know how to interact with the outside world. 

However, how relevant blogging is will depend on the job you are going for, and that's a question I cannot answer for you. I only know what is looked for in my own industry so you might want to ask an experienced scientist/nutritionist/lawyer/nurse if a blog is more helpful than being Vice-President of the football team or volunteering (both are also great experience!). 

3. Some employers don't care about blogs, sorry!
I have come up against interviewers who don't care about my blogging history - in interviews for marketing roles of all things! But typically these were for more traditional marketing positions and the interviewers were a bit older (but remember, your typical hiring manager is not in their 20s and might not truly realise how big blogging is). Tbh, you probably don't want to be employed by a company who doesn't understand the power of blogging but I'm warning you anyway. 

4. Official work experience still wins
While not all employers are like those mentioned above - and many will 100% care about your blog - I'm going to be honest and say I think an internship in social media (or related subject) is still worth more. While blogging does improve your skills in creativity, online awareness, photography, being down with the kids and communication, an internship will bring that and more. And by more I mean professionalism in an office environment, online marketing for a brand that is not your own personal brand, working within the constraints that your boss sets for you, experience doing the boring parts of a marketing job (ROI reports be beastin', yo), having meetings with managers where you have to explain what bounce rate means AGAIN and - arguably the most important - providing a reference that we can phone and ask a few questions. 

I am not trying to say that blogging is not good experience for a digital marketing job (it is good experience!). But if I was presented with two people who both have the same degree, same grade, similar personalities but one had official work experience with a brand and someone else had a personal, but successful, blog - I'd be more inclined to go with the former. Someone with both types of experience would be brilliant, but I realise not everyone is Hermoine Granger armed with a time turner.

5. BUT, you still need to be active online
While I know there's recruiters out there who would hire someone who didn't use social media in their own personal life, I would 100% not consider it.

But your online activity doesn't necessarily have to be a blog: it could just be a stylish Instagram with several hundred followers, an active Twitter with hilarious tweets, a regularly updated YouTube channel, or maybe you love posting in forums! Just as long as you love all things online and internet.

6. There's some roles where you might not want to mention it
There's some industries - that somewhat rightly - don't want their employees blogging and will probably keep a tight eye on those that do. Such as teaching, nursing, the police or anything care related. Almost everyone I know who works in these kinds of roles uses a fake name on Facebook and works hard to keep their professional and online life separate. If you want to work in one of these professions, play it safe and consider keeping your blog off your CV. 

And anything else? 

There's many factors that go into deciding who gets a job and who doesn't, and there's no hard science behind it. From experience, to degree choice, to how well they would fit in, right through to how well written their CV was and what your gut instinct tells you. I am not trying to scare anyone with this post, I've just seen a lot of these blogs going around and it was truthfully beginning to irk me that some people were treating blogging as some kind of golden ticket to career success. It's good experience - and definitely should be on your CV! - but please don't put all your eggs in one basket. 

But if you're looking for a future in digital marketing my inbox is always open and I am more than happy to provide honest advice. 

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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