Everyone on the Planet Should Have a Blog

That is an outrageous and absurd idea, right?

Yet, countless career related experts continue to suggest that to job seekers. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read and heard that exact piece of advice, but it is a prevalent theme amongst the rapidly reproducing “build your brand” and “brand yourself as an expert” contingent.

They may not be saying it quite like the title above, but essentially when they advise anyone who is looking for a job to start a blog, that IS what they are implying. At any given time, any and all of us could be considered job seekers. Often we find debates about the superiority of passive candidates versus active candidates, but of course that spontaneous change in status is a moving target prompted by assorted factors.

There is no such thing as job security and even if someone is an independent consultant, freelancer or business owner, they are constantly pursuing work as well. So, in essence that expands the job seeker pool to practically anyone - of working age - that has a need or desire to exchange labor, knowledge or expertise for payment.

That being the case, whether they realize it or not, the career experts are really pimping the blog idea to a much wider percentage of the workforce.  Ironically, I don’t recall ever encountering anyone that said, “What the world needs is more blogs.” Frankly, based on the underwhelming quality of many blogs, the opposite is more likely to be expressed.

Here are the primary problems I see with the incessant insistence that job seekers produce a blog. The career experts conveniently gloss over the fact that there are plenty of people that are incapable of writing well.  Another issue that doesn’t seem to be prioritized in their suggestion is the need for actual subject-matter expertise as opposed to wishfully promoting that method as a way to convey credibility.

From their superficial blogging advice, one might get the impression that having an interest in something and then writing about that topic guarantees and confirms abundant awareness.  Of course, these career experts almost never include instruction to produce original, thought-provoking content with a unique point of view or different take on the material.

Nope. Details, schmetails! “Just start writing a blog to build your brand” is where they typically leave it…

Finally, the worst aspect of this trend is when the career experts promote the blogging concept as a way to attract attention from recruiters, hiring managers and others who might be trolling LinkedIn and other sites when they source talent. While I don’t doubt the impact of a high quality blog attracting a target audience, I don’t believe this to be a wide-spread situation warranting that level of participation by the bulk of the population.

Thoughts? Have you found and hired anyone based on their blog? How many people do you know that have been recruited specifically due to their blog? 

Views: 519

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 5, 2012 at 1:06am
No, but I have eliminated candidates after looking at their painful attempts at journalism.

The question of the ages is why a majority of people who attempt to write blogs do not know that "your" is a possessive pronoun as in your blog makes me embarrassed for you. You are (you're) making yourself appear ignorant when your grammar totally negates what you're attempting to accomplish with your blog.

There is a reason why the larger career consulting firms pay their consultants minimum wage and their sales reps six figures.

And please don't set up a twitter account where you tweet daily that unemployment sucks, employers are unfair, you're broke and your vehicle is about to be repossessed,the economy has ruined your life. That's where a lot of those career consultants got their start and why they are giving you all this goofy advice about personal branding and blogging.
Comment by Maisha Cannon on April 5, 2012 at 2:29am

Thanks for the post, Kelly. I wasn't aware that some counselors were giving such bad advise! It's crazy that candidates are being told that. I agree with you, not everyone needs a blog. Since it only adds to your digital footprint, it could actually do way more harm than good. I came across this article today, it's a few months old, but still relevant: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/science_tech/ftc-gives-go-ahe....

I agree with Sandra that Twitter can also be more detrimental than helpful when candidates start posting trite, random and offensive updates. I've even seen some Tweets from HR Professionals that could be viewed as borderline discriminatory against certain ages, backgrounds, and genders. Actually, some years ago, I stumbled upon my supervisor's personal blog and saw he was bashing myself and a peer on a daily basis. I never mentioned it to him, but of course, it changed our working dynamic a bit. I started logging on daily just to see what he would write about us! Haha.

Comment by Alasdair Murray on April 5, 2012 at 9:46am

I think far too many people have been given a voice. I'd vote for fewer blogs rather than more. I only blog, or comment, when I feel passionately about something or that I can add something to the debate, yet many set themselves a target of 3 or 4 blogs a week just to keep the traffic ticking over The result? A web full of dull, uninteresting opinions and stating the obvious tips about stuff that my 9 year old could write better. The only good thing about it is that because it's online you don;t have to hear it. Imagine if you will that when you stepped out the door, all the content that had been written and published online by the people you pass was shouted at you in the street or a bar. Perish the thought. My rule is, have something informative or intelligently provocative to say, otherwise don't say anything at all. Or as Steve Martin once said http://www.hark.com/clips/wrpyzssclq-have-a-point-it-makes-is-so-mu...

Comment by Stephen ODonnell on April 5, 2012 at 10:17am

The default setting should be no blog at all.  Never force a blog, when you have little to say, and have no interest in any responses.  In short, only ever blog, when you feel you absolutely need to.

Here's a tip; if no one is actually asking for your valued and expert opinion in real life, it's unlikely they will want to read about it online.  By all means write and post articles, if you enjoy doing so, but please don't feel compelled to set yourself up as an expert, if it doesn't feel right.

My blog is a mixture of smash and trash, and yes the most common topic is the recruitment sector.  I'm happy to share my experience and opinions, but frankly don't expect any regular readership.  My opinions, such as they are, do tend to get shot down quicker than a light aircraft approaching the White House.  However, if it makes me seem a little more approachable, then it will have served its purpose.

Comment by Stephen ODonnell on April 5, 2012 at 10:19am

I forgot to say, it is often of far more value to contribute and respond to other people's blogs.

Its much easier to do too, when the topic has already been established.

Comment by Todd Lempicke on April 5, 2012 at 10:54am

We work with career counselors extensively and I've heard them recommend portfolios but only blogs if relevant to the industry or discipline. Seen many cases where portfolios made a huge difference but like Sandra said, the blog can work against you more than for you in most cases. One I saw recently included a political rant that was inappropriate so they got an 86. Another had cat lover content that was weird. Who cares about your love for cats? Probably not even the cat.

Comment by Suresh on April 5, 2012 at 12:57pm

Blog is so last century..they should be in Social Media (just kidding)

Its not a bad idea to have a website (which you own). Having a free profile on other websites (linkedin, twitter, facebook are all good) but essentially what they are doing is selling you space to boost their own web traffic.

Do all jobseekers, need do this, I don't think so. Many small and medium businesses still don't have websites themselves..

 

Comment by Eric Smith on April 5, 2012 at 2:14pm

I agree with you Kelly. Blogs are not for everyone and it should not be just a means to find a job.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 5, 2012 at 2:34pm

I started blogging for therapy. I keep blogging because it's fun and I meet cool people like all my RBC friends. If it ever becomes "work" - I don't think I'll do it anymore.

Comment by Alasdair Murray on April 5, 2012 at 2:36pm

I used to be prolific-ish on here but ran out of subject I'm passionate about.

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