Today’s savvy job-seekers are blogging their way to success using their online space to show off their skills, ability and passion for an industry. You’ve no doubt been told at some point in the last few months that starting up a blog could help your job search, and it could, but only if you do it properly.
The end of National Blog Posting Month - officially called NaBloPoMo, but we’re not big fans of that name – is near, so to celebrate these ‘web logs’ (did you know that’s where the name came from?), we’re obviously going to show you how blogging could help you get the career you want.
And no, we’re not making this up: a study we found said 70% of entrepreneurs blog to gain professional recognition. But before you log straight on to WordPress to start posting, check out these tips on getting one up and running and read these stories to help give you some inspiration.
Chris Fynes started We The Food Snobs in Gloucestershire in 2012. He’d left uni, was claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance, and was searching for a job. But the London food scene soon offered him loads more opportunities off the back of his blog.
“When I started the site I had no intention of it helping me find a job. It was created out of a lack of creative output, a love of food and boredom whilst hunting for jobs. I made sure I was at the newest openings of restaurants and I identified the problem with most blogs at the time: there was a distinct lack of imagery. The main post that initially got the site in front of people was a review of Whole Foods in Cheltenham. I headed down on the opening morning, snapping as many shots as I could, and almost two hours after the doors opened, I had already published the review and 20-30 shots of the inside and people were coming to the site to get the exclusive look. Being voted as one of the Evening Standard’s Top 20 Best Blogs and being included in Cosmopolitan’s ‘Rise Of The Male Blogger‘ had a really positive effect on gaining recognition.
The site has provided me with a number of skills including photography, writing, videography and website design, but then there are other ones such as organisation and hitting deadlines. I also have built up a team of writers too due to high demands for reviews. I have my finger on the pulse of the London food scene, an area that is extremely important for my role in marketing and digital PR.
Through reviewing restaurants I met a number of PR people and got offered a job to join W Communications as part of the Digital Team. I now work across a diverse range of clients and their social strategies. Ultimately, food reviewing introduced me to my employer and if it wasn’t for that, I would’ve never secured the job I have today.”
Christopher Laverty started Clothes on Film after losing his job as a film editor. He hoped it would lead to work, so decided to take a niche angle that nobody else seemed to be talking about. And now? He has a book due out in 2015.
“I hoped it would lead to work, but I had no idea of the type. It was more about keeping my brain active whilst I searched for other jobs. I didn’t think it would make me less employable. All my drive went into creating the best content I possibly could that nobody else had written. I hoped somebody would see my work and like it, but I was spending so much time just writing the thing, I didn’t have that much opportunity to think about where it was going.
There wasn’t one specific person that picked up on my blog or an outlet, but a flurry over several months that became several years. Lauren Laverne had me as a guest on her radio show, The New York Times quoted me on my piece about Black Swan, some huge American websites picked up on my Inception interview, so really I’d just have to say I was lucky.
My current role now is writing my book which will be published late next year. The book is all new content but without writing the blog first, I wouldn’t have a clue of how to structure an article. I was always very tough on myself with deadlines on the website for when I would like certain pieces published, and that mindset is absolutely essential for anything you may move onto after writing a blog. It’s very important to keep your voice as a writer; don’t try to write in a way in which you think others want. Most of all though, don’t ever think that blogging will make you rich. To this day, I have never made a penny out of Clothes on Film, but it has led me to other more lucrative and exciting projects, and continues to.”
Greta Larkins began creating fashion GIFs as a hobby, and is now a freelance GIF designer with her blog and huge brands like Tiffany & Co use her work.
“It began purely as a hobby. Every GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) animation I make uses Photoshop so my skill-set has naturally evolved overtime so in that sense, I’m definitely more employable when it comes to using that programme! I’ve always had a keen interest in fashion but FashGIF has definitely helped me focus this interest and aided me in trend forecasting roles I’ve had previously. I never even considered that it would get me a job, but once the collaborations started to become more common I saw the potential. I was previously working in wholesale jewellery production and trend forecasting.
To get noticed, I sent my URL to a few sites that regularly promoted Tumblr websites like Fashion Copious and Urban Outfitters Blog, to name a few. This helped me gain more followers and with more followers comes more reblogs on the Tumblr platform. Ultimately the Tumblr ‘Fashion Evangelist‘ Valentine Uhovski discovered my site and I was featured on the Tumblr Spotlight category for fashion. This allowed me to gain followers at a rapid rate and opened more doors for collaboration opportunities.
With the help of tweets and reblogs from some high-profile brands (Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino), steadily news spreads about what I do and the kind of content I can create. I’m currently freelancing at GIF making – so I rely solely on my blog!”
After failing at job interviews, Stuart Heritage took to his blog to showcase his writing skills, and it worked. The Guardian picked him up as a full-time freelancer, as did NME, Vice, Cosmopolitan, Radio Times, and a few more.
“I sort of stumbled into journalism after getting disillusioned with writing jokes for TV and I desperately wanted my blog to make me more employable. HecklerSpray was founded specifically to showcase my writing skills. I’m a control freak from a small town, so this meant that a) getting a proper job in the media seemed genuinely unthinkable, and b) I liked the idea of having something of my own.
The plan was for people to employ my writing, and not me. I’m also VERY bad at job interviews. I cannot overstate this. In my attempts to get a job in the media, I applied for a job as a runner on a home shopping channel. It was basically 13 hours a day in a jazzed-up Argos in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t even get that. The alternative was starting out on my own and building something from scratch.
Before anyone offered me paid work, I was updating HecklerSpray five or six times a day like a robot. I funded my blog initially through savings I’d tucked away, but I was constantly broke. I moved back in with my parents and never went out. The first Christmas I blogged, I had a tantrum because a building society wouldn’t let me have the £20 I put into savings account as a kid, and it was the only money I could buy anyone presents with. Soon after, though, the advertising on my blog started to trickle in and I was just about able to keep my head above water.
Fortunately, for a time, HecklerSpray was the UK’s most-read celebrity blog, which got me listed on a few Most Influential lists and won me a couple of awards. Mark Beaumont from the NME read a post of mine and invited me to review singles. Then The Guardian included the site on a list of the world’s 50 most influential blogs, which helped when I started to whine at them about letting me write for them…”
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