Are you a college student about to dive into job hunting? Need something besides a student resume to catch the eye of potential employers? Sometimes it can seem like you’re fighting an uphill battle with the chicken-or-the-egg syndrome, especially if you’re shy on work experience in your field. But you can use your student experience to fill in some blanks—especially if you’ve been writing a lot of papers.
Start a Blog
An easy way to build your personal brand, get moving in your job search, and feature your writing skills is to repurpose all those papers you have written (or are in the process of writing) and post them to a blog. After all, you’ve invested a lot of money and time in your college career—why not use it?
A blog is a great way to give potential employers a place to view your work. It’s easy content (you’ve already written it), and the best part is those papers have been graded and corrected so you get to make what you’ve written better before posting.
Do a Little Research
Not sure how to start out? Take a look at some other blogs by visiting sites like University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where students blog about all sorts of things—some related to their field of study and some not. Take a look at several different styles and see which one appeals to you. Does your university offer a platform like this for blogging? If not, it’s easy to create your own with platforms like TypePad, Blogger or WordPress.
When you’re doing this research, be sure to take a look at how each blog is presented. Is the headline compelling? Do they use pictures? Is it easy to read? Does the blogger have a bio and a photo?
Spruce Up Your Work
After taking a look at those other blogs, think about what you could do with your reports to make them more reader friendly for potential employers. Keep your audience in mind—which means you will probably want to re-work your presentation a bit. Cutting and pasting your reports verbatim isn’t the best option. Employers are looking to see how well you communicate thought, and how well you explain complex ideas. Here are a few tips:
- Break up a long report into 2 or even 3 related posts—give each a slightly different slant.
- Re-think boring headlines—keep them short, punchy, and interesting.
- Graphics grab attention, so use photos for every post: insert a graph, a related photo, chart—even a short video clip.
- Break up large blocks of text with bold subheadings and bullet lists. Make it easy to scan the post and “pick up the gist” without having to wade through it.
Make it Easy to Find
Think about how you’ll be connecting to prospective employers. You’re resume is a given—so you’ll want to link to your blog there. But also put links to it in other places, such as your email signature and on business cards.
Another great way to get attention to your blog is to bring it into your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one immediately—many HR professionals and employers cruise that platform to research likely candidates. Make sure to use a business-like photo as well and flesh out your entire profile as completely as possible. Both TypePad and WordPress have apps for importing your blog to your LinkedIn profile.
Blogs Aren’t Just for Students
While blogging can be helpful for any college student looking for work, they’re certainly not limited to students. A blog can be a personal brand builder for anyone—a place to display your thinking, abilities, passions, and work you’ve already done. So whether you’re in college or already out there looking for employment, put what you’ve written to work for you in your job search, and in building your brand, by starting a blog. Do your research, spruce up your work so that it looks and reads well, make your blog link easy to find, and you could get a leg up in today’s competitive market.