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Start an External Blog – It’s good for your career

(Note: This is a repost of something I just posted to my internal Intel blog, but I want to share it here, as well)

Worried about your job? Hoping to make a career leap (who isn’t)? Want to show the world what you know, what you’re passionate about, and what you can do?

Start an external blog. It’s easy, and free – there are tons of great services to do it. I highly recommend WordPress.com. Do it under your real name. It’s your place to show off.

Why?

Any prospective employer who has any degree of web savviness is going to Google you before they hire you. You want to control or influence what comes up when they do that, and a blog is the best way to do that. Don’t fall for “search engine optimization” tips – you can’t cheat. Write great content, link to interesting stuff, and keep at it.

Want some great examples? Here are a couple from your fellow Intel employees. Brent Schlenker writes about corporate eLearning on his blog. Read a few of his posts, and ask yourself if he knows what he’s talking about, and is excited about the subject. Would you want him to work on your team? Dawn Foster looks at the world of open source software and culture, and Web 2.0 on her blog. Again, read a few posts, and ask yourself what your opinion of Dawn would be if you were a prospective employer. Does she know her stuff?

Got questions? Scared? Need a push? Let me know what I can do to help (post a comment or email me).

But please, if you care about your career, just do it. Starting and writing an external blog could be the most important thing you do for your career in the next decade. I know that if I were hiring someone, I would care much less about their resume, and much more about what they’ve contributed and shared to the good of the world via the internet. Lots of employers are starting to feel that way, and it’s only going to increase. Don’t get left behind.

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5 thoughts on “Start an External Blog – It’s good for your career

  1. I suppose this all depends on what your career aspirations are. For example what about the person who writes http://unofficialintelblog.blogspot.com ? Is she going to be the successor to Paul O?

    I’m on the fence about what MY blog has/will do as far as my career. For example I think no one from PMI will ever hire me:
    http://zo-d.com/blog/archives/pmi-and-pmp.html

    on the other hand I could get a future career as a sushi prep guy:
    http://zo-d.com/stuff/food/abalone-sashimi.html

    I have met more people (virtual ones…) through it, and it has been a lot of fun, but I don’t know of any solid career benefit I’ve derived from it.

    Feel free to cross-post my comments internally if you like.

    -Jack

  2. I’m at least partly with Jack here. I think it depends on your work, your willingness and opportunity to blog about it and if it makes any sense to write about it in a blog.

    Sure, if you’re a techie and unless what you are working on is confidential then you should be able to have an interesting blog about it. If you have a web related job (and therefore topic) you can do that as well. If you’re a journalist or a writer blogging is great to make your work known.

    But there are a lot of jobs where you can’t really do this. When I was still at Intel I didn’t feel I could blog about my job, to a very large extent because of the nature of my job:
    http://www.ministryofpropaganda.co.uk/2006propaganda/20060102-intel.shtml

    The same views/attitudes I wrote back in January will most likely apply to my next employer, obviously depending on the exact position and company.

    Therefore I unfortunately doubt that my blogs will help me that much in finding a new job. Sure, somebody might stumble over one or both of my blogs and think that I’m a nice guy (or they might help me with some networking), but ultimately they will care about what I’ve done in my job, and there’s next to nothing about that on my blogs.

    I’d love someone to prove me wrong though 😉

  3. I’m all for Josh on this one. While I take it as a matter of faith that staking an online presence is a Good Thing in its own right – whether or not it will help your current or future job – I also agree it is relevant to the job thing.

    How it is relevant depends on a lot of factors, not least among them whether you yourself are a worthwhile employee (a jerk remains a jerk whether or not they go online). But if you are good, and have something to say that’s worth hearing, and are passionate about it, and know how to write and create, then publishing your mind’s output online can do a good deal in the “win friends and influence people” department, prospective employers included. At a minimum it will tell them that you can read and write, eloquently, that you are motivated, that you are at least minimally web savvy (sadly rare, even in the Hi-Tech sector…)

    Note that I don’t really care whether you write about your job, or about your employer, or about the industry. Write about Chess for all I care, but do it well. All the above comments will still hold. And if you do write about your employer, do it responsibly and respect the obvious legal and ethical requirements – but then, we already assumed you aren’t a jerk, right?

    Incidentally, I don’t yet have a blog – I have yet to convince myself I can afford the time for such frequent updating – but I do have a personal site, and I religiously expand it on a regular basis. Maybe a blog will come next.

  4. After one year of blogging I can tell you all that without a doubt blogging will not only help your career but it will help you personally as well. There’s a ton of research out there on how writing is therapeutic. The greatest thing about it I heard from Robert Scoble…”you can simiply google your name and a topic and your blog post shows up”. So now my blog, along with Google, is my personal live notebook. I don’t remember the last time I used a bookmark to find something. I simply search my blog. I have a small group of regular readers (~100/day) but the eLearning community is pretty small compared to say Microsoft users reading Scobleizer. BUT, I’ve been able to contact many of the top names in elearning and engage in conversation and learning. I’ve learned more in the last 12 months than in all of my higher ed combined.
    I am not afraid to leave Intel. Blogging has given me a level of comfort with my career that no company can offer. My network continues to increase daily at an amazing rate…its hard to keep up with everyone, but I try. I guess that kind of sounds arrogant, but I just think its fun. I have connected with people from all over the world that I never would have known existed before my blog.
    I could go on for ever. But Josh is right. Just start. Write about your favorite passion and you will be pleasantly surprised.

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