"A philosopher once wrote you need three things to have a good life. One, a meaningful relationship, two, a decent job of work, and three, to make a difference." David Brent

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Turn your blog into a job!

When I started writing this blog I was unemployed. Over the past two weeks I have since managed to find employment, I work as an SEO consultant for an online marketing company. I started this blog in order to acquire new skills and also to act as an online portfolio for any prospective employer. I believe that this blog has played an integral part in me gaining employment and over this post I will share my experience in the hope that it may help somebody else.

I graduated unsure of what I wanted to do. After having a good think about both my strengths and what I enjoyed, I decided to pursue a career in digital marketing. After coming to this decision I decided to bolster my undeniably lacking CV by taking part in two free digital marketing courses I was fortunate enough to see advertised on my University’s jobsite. Through these courses I not only gained a good deal of knowledge but I also made some valuable contacts who I kept in touched with using Linkedin. Around the same time I also started my blog.

Initially I did not think anything would really come of the blog, I thought I would use it more as a motivational tool. I reasoned that having the blog would force me to be proactive to ensure I had something to write at the end of each week. Every time I made a post I uploaded it to twitter using the hashtags #jobs #careers. After two posts, graduate recruitment companies such as Milkround and TargetJobsUK began mentioning it in their tweets which directed more traffic towards my site. I must admit there is a certain thrill to watching your numbers of readers grow and your words being read in countries such as Lebanon, Russia and Bangladesh.  As for the recruitment companies, I can only imagine they found the blogs through the twitter hashtags. I would then DM the recruitment companies thanking them and would often get an email back. I was beginning to build a bit of a rapport with people who help others get graduates jobs.

Around this time I found a recruitment agency called Give AGrad A Go and registered having seen a few jobs I was interested in. In my covering letter I included a link to my blog, stating it as further evidence of my communication skills. Doing so must have caught the eye of one of their representatives, Ben, who then phoned me and discussed in detail what kind of jobs I was looking for. During this conversation he stated that in future if I saw a job I was interested in to email him directly. Building this kind of relationship is a big help, I believe that when you are applying for jobs through recruitment agencies, it helps that they see you as a real person rather than just another CV on the screen. I must say that even though I did not end up finding work through Give A Grad A Go, they were brilliant throughout my search and I really recommend them. In a bid to use the blog to develop a similar relationship with another graduate recruitment compay, I emailed Inspiringintern’s a link to my CV and asked if I could write a guest blog for them. Their employee Hannah was very obliging and even allowed me to use my guest post on their site to direct traffic back towards mine.

However, the biggest help in me gaining employment came through the blog bringing me into contact with TargetjobsUK. After TargetjobsUK retweeted one of my posts, I emailed thanking them and asked if they could help direct more traffic my way in the future. Their online marketing exec, Jackie, replied and said that she would be willing to place a link to my site on their website in exchange for reciprocal link. She also asked if it was ok for her to write a guest blog on my site, talking not only of her own experience but also what TargetjobsUK had to offer graduates. I was more than happy to oblige as I thought that any insider knowledge of the market could only help readers of my blog, if you find Jackie’s guest blog in the archive I am sure you will agree. Over the course of the week whilst Jackie wrote her guest blog we exchanged emails. I mentioned to Jackie that I had an upcoming interview for a junior SEO role. Jackie was unbelievably helpful and offered some of her knowledge of the field. During my interview I was really lucky. They asked what knowledge I had of SEO and the information Jackie had given me really came in handy. I was also asked whether I had any experience of blogging, luckily I did and I felt confident telling my prospective employers that I felt my recently started blog had been a success. I was asked to email a link of my blog over to the company for them to have a look at which I did. I must have done something right as a week later I was offered the job.

I hope that this post does not come across as me boasting in any way. I started this blog unemployed, hoping but not actually believing, it would help find me work. Looking back I believe that the blog most certainly helped me gain employment and I could not recommend writing a blog highly enough to any current job seeker. Keeping a blog not only allows you to demonstrate your communication skills to potential employers but also enables you to provide something extra that may help you stand out on your covering letter. As well as this, the blog was also a brilliant networking tool which allowed me to acquire knowledge that helped me land my current role. I also believe that even if I had not been successful in my interview, through the contacts I was starting to build with Give A Grad A Go and Inspiringinterns another interview would hopefully have not been too far away. Thank you for reading this post, hopefully I have demonstrated how keeping a blog can be an essential tool in finding employment, I hope you have found it useful.


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