My blog is the main reason I managed to break into the marketing industry and today I’m here to help you do the same! Back in school, if you’d have told me that I’d spend my weekdays working on creative campaigns, analysing social media trends and writing, I’d have thought myself pretty damn lucky – aside from being totally confused about how social media could ever relate to a job obviously. I mean, Instagram didn’t even exist back then and we all still wrote cryptic Facebook posts in the third person.
The online world has transformed since then and many of our dream jobs look pretty different now. Freelancing is a real possibility now that desk jobs are less secure (and harder to bag!) than ever before and thousands of people make a living from ‘influencing’ others. But honesty, as much as the idea of working from the middle of a rainforest in Bali appeals to me, I also really enjoy having colleagues to laugh with every day and a regular salary – okay, definitely the regular salary bit.
We’re told that life is all about the side hustle in 2019 but what about those of us who don’t necessarily want to turn their passion into a full time business? Creating and maintaining a blog takes a huge amount of effort so, as well as keeping it as a creative outlet, I wanted to share my thoughts on how I think blogging can seriously boost your career game too.
I genuinely think my blog was the only reason I landed my first Marketing Assistant role and ever since, I’ve always made sure to mention it in interviews. Since then, I’ve worked on marketing campaigns at a luxury hotel, managed the social media strategy for two travel brands and progressed to a Marketing Executive role for a travel brand where I got to visit British Airways headquarters for a showcase event!
How you can use your blog to create career opportunities
Your blog is a place to showcase the very best of what you have to offer. Whether it’s amazing writing, stunning photography or just bucketloads of absolute sass, you’ve got a space on the internet to show off what a great, well-rounded person you are. And without sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet (because there’s about a million blogs out there that are WAY better than mine), I honestly think that my blog has made me stand out in vitually every Marketing job interview I’ve ever had.
Unlike projects you work on in your day job, blogging is a great opportunity to show what you can do totally on your own. When you write a blog post, you’re coming up with a creative concept, creating copy, images and optimising for SEO, you’re acting as a social media manager – the list goes on. Plus, if you’re looking to take your first steps into work, a blog can get you noticed when you don’t have much relevant work experience.
So, if you’ve decided to go for it and allow your blog help you to get a career in digital marketing, what do you need to do next? I’ll talk you through a few things to consider.
What skills have you gained from blogging?
First, determine the most valuable skills that you’ve gained from blogging. When I started blogging, this site was mainly a place to showcase my writing skills but as my posts began ranking on Google, I realised that I could also add writing for SEO onto my skills list. Similarly, the vast majority of us bloggers use social media to grow our followings and if that’s something you’ve done really well, it could be a great aspect to add to your CV. Still stuck for ideas? There’s also photography, using WordPress, email marketing for your mailing list, having a knowledge of Google analytics, even web design if you create your own theme!
I’m writing this with the assumption that you’re wanting to go into a similar field to me but perhaps not. Maybe you’re applying for something completely unrelated but still want to show off your work. I think that your blog can still be a really valuable asset: just think about all those interview questions you get asked like “tell us about a time you’ve seen a project through from start to finish”. “Name a time you’ve demonstrated self motivation”. You can use your blog as an example in situations like this as spending your free time doing something that’s productive and improves your skills looks really good.
Put it on your CV
I know it sounds obvious but if it ain’t on there, it’s unlikely that employers will go looking. And don’t just tuck it away at the bottom either: if you want your blog to lead to a career in marketing, give it the credit that it deserves and list it along with your previous jobs. Having it in this section, rather than within a completely unnecessary ‘hobbies’ paragraph (I’m never convinced anyone reads that bit) means that it’s more likely to be seen and also that the skills you’ve gained are more likely to be taken seriously.
To give you an idea, I dug out my CV to find exactly how I’ve presented my blog:
Through creating and running my established travel and lifestyle blog, I’ve gained a huge number of valuable transferable skills and experience. This includes honing my writing and photography skills to create a recognisable style and tone, building an engaged audience through social media and contacting brands to set up collaborations including Dorsett Hotels, Visit Berlin, New Look and Bills Restaurants.
Before I had much marketing experience, this was more detailed but as I’ve gained experience in different areas throughout my career, I’ve scaled back to only include the key areas I use blogging for. You’ll notice how I’ve name dropped brand collaborations too: this may not be for everyone because it’s a little cringe but I feel that, by including recognisable names of national brands, it helps me to be taken that little bit more seriously.
Keep it professional
Staying true to yourself and sharing what feels right to you is one of the most important aspects of creating a blog. However, this does come with a caveat if you’re hoping to use your blog to get a job. One interviewer in the past even brought up my blog on his laptop and asked me to talk through a few of the posts which was terrifying! Yes, having your blog on your CV means that potential employers will actually read it so you may need to sit with yourself and figure out what parts of your life you’re happy sharing with your boss. Over the years, I’ve written a lot of personal posts about life, anxiety and relationships and while the idea of people I know reading them makes me want to curl up in a corner out of sheer embarrassment, they’re at a level I’m happy with putting out there.
As a general rule of thumb, I’d use common sense. If you’re trying to showcase your amazing writing style, littering your posts with f-bombs might not present you in the best light; just as you wouldn’t swear in a job interview. It may have worked for Martine McCutcheon in Love Actually but for the most part, it’s not likely to do you any favours. Making a habit of arguing with people on social media is another one: sure, things can get a bit heated when people start talking fake followers or Brexit but if you’re fighting on social media, it might give the impression that you’re difficult to get along with in an office environment too.
Show off your personality
Now that I’ve got the boring cautious bit out of the way, I want to make one thing super clear. Keeping your blog looking more professional doesn’t mean that it has to be completely devoid of character – nobody will want to read that and you’ll get bored of writing it pretty quickly. Instead, showing off who you are will give your potential employers an impression of what you’re like and whether you’ll fit into the culture, something that’s becoming more and more important for recruiters I’ve spoken to in the past.
If your blog relates to the industry you’re trying to break into, congratulations because you’ve hit the real sweet spot! I started writing about travel because I’m well and truly obsessed with exploring new places and sharing the best deals, rather than being motivated by the idea of finding a job. But when I saw a marketing position come up within the travel industry, I realised that I had something to help me prove a genuine knowledge and passion for the subject that might help me to stand out from the crowd. And so far, I think it’s worked and hopefully it will continue to do!
I hope this post has been reasonably helpful to anybody looking for advice on how they can use blogging to grab their dream job, whether it’s taking that first leap into work or changing field to something you’re way more interested in. If there’s anything I haven’t covered or if you’ve got any questions, give me a nudge in the comments and I’ll make sure to get them answered ASAP!