Training and Certification
Why Blogging Gives You an Edge in the Job Hunt
September 22, 2015
After earning certifications, many of our students seek help as they start the job hunt. When they ask me about different ways to make their LinkedIn profiles and resumes stand out, there’s only so much advice I can give them.
Work experience and examples of successful projects carry a ton of weight, but blogging has the power to display your skills for all the world to see.
Why Blog – Increase Knowledge Retention and Showcase Your Skills
Start a blog to document learning experiences. I have yet to witness this suggestion taken seriously. This is not a critique on students who sought out advice. In the present day where blogs matter more than ever, you rarely come across IT professionals blogging about their learning experiences.
The media devices at your disposal (smartphones) empower you with the ability to document projects and experiments with photos and videos. Now this endeavor, if invested in, could revolutionize the way you market yourself online. This differentiates you from the millions of similar professionals with attractive head shots, sly Twitter accounts, fantastic resumes, years of work experience, and whatever they believe makes them an unbelievable candidate.
What they may not have is a living and breathing documentation of their abilities and knowledge applied on daily, weekly, or a monthly basis. Why limit your skills/job role description to bullet points when you can blow away Hiring Managers with a library of blog posts?
The 3 Main Demonstrated Skills Evident in a Blog
1. Attention to Detail
Everyone, no matter what industry or experience level, says they have this skill. Saying it and demonstrating it is a huge difference. By actively blogging about ways you learned to build a server, host a Ghost blog on that server, and the comprehensive process described in a clear format with pictures and a video explanation screams “Attention to Detail.”
Managers at all levels in every profession love “processes” as well. The clear format and description demonstrates your communication, documentation skills, the fact you understand how to detail a process for later reference.
2. Active Learner
The blog about your learning experiences says you are not stuck in the past. You’re not the professional waiting for their employer to pay for continuing education. You’re not refusing to learn about Windows 10 (or enterprise Linux options) because your employer still runs on Windows XP. Hiring Managers want the brightest, the innovators, those who are willing to learn.
3. Retain Knowledge Better
Do you take written notes? How do you learn best? For me, reading about a concept is the first step of the process. I need to read, reread, write about it, and practice the skill over and over again.
When you take time to write a blog post, you are more likely to remember the content. It’s one thing to look up a new word or concept and read the definition. It’s another thing entirely to put the new world into practice. You may not feel as comfortable using it, but comfort and confidence develop over time. By writing about your experiences, they resonate more with you.
I find this to be true when blogging or any type of writing. The practice of writing is an exercise of self-reflection where you repeatedly review and think about how to clearly express an idea. When you learn to express learned material in your own words, you evolve into an impromptu teacher.
Not only do you have an extra opportunity to practice and write about learned concepts, but you improve personal communication skills. I believe this to be true and undeniable. Blogging does not have to solely include writing. You can speak through images with simple and short descriptions. Why not video blog? The options should leave no excuses for procrastination.
Critiques You Should Forget About…
1. No One Has Time for Blogging
The way to win is to go above and beyond (not just in the workplace) to become successful. This is especially true in information technology where nothing and nobody waits for you to catch up.
Advice – set up an editorial calendar, have an attentive friend check-in and hold you accountable or follow the good advice of Jane McGonigal and turn it into a game. Reward yourself when beating the monthly goals for blogging with a six pack of that fancy IPA or a trip to BLT Steakhouse in DC. Time is intended for you to manipulate, not live according to.
2. I can’t write, I can’t speak, I don’t know the first thing about blogging
Starting something new is intimidating. You don’t need to be an SEO expert. Remember this task is for you and you alone, except for referencing to Hiring Managers and Employers. If you end up building a solid following and earn a place in countless Feedly streams out there, then congratulations.
My first suggestion is to find the one blog or website you enjoy reading the most. Observe the layout, common formats, use of images and videos, and go from there.
3. Due to security reasons, I can’t blog about work experiences
Then find a way to blog about current or potential home technical projects. There are ways to sidestep these security/privacy/whatever road blocks and not compromise yourself or employer. Think about it. You’re smart enough. Talk to Human Resources if it’s required. How will you describe the top secret work done for the current employer to a potential new employer? You can’t necessarily speak in general terms. Hiring Managers love specifics. You can make this work.
Start Blogging with Us
Last week I wrote a blog post titled “How to Renew a CompTIA Network+ Certification” and Ashley Wheeler discussed “What are the CE Requirements for CompTIA Security+“. These posts point out the fact that you can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to renew the Network+ and Security+ certifications. We encourage CompTIA certification holders to submit blog posts to earn those CEs.
We encourage allow IT professionals to submit blog posts to potentially be featured on the TechRoots blog. This experience could help you learn more about the basic editorial process and get you started blogging before establishing your own blog. Please feel free to submit your blog post below.