Build your confidence
Confidence is a key prerequisite to thriving in today’s job market. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will, and writing a blog is what I would call a confidence catalyst. There is a body of literature that suggests blogs help you build a confident voice and think critically, and force you to stand by the things you say. And if you are one of the lucky people whose writing generates comments, learning how to deal with feedback—both positive and negative—is an added bonus to an already valuable exercise. Blogging is, in a way, a form of public speaking, but a form better attuned to students’ increasingly technological and web-centric lifestyles.
Improve your writing skills
The venerable Forbes magazine ran an article last November detailing the Must-Have Job Skills in 2013. It’s no surprise that “clear communications”—both verbal and written—topped the list. The majority of undergrads I meet have no trouble carrying on a conversation; however, in my experience, the ability to craft clear sentences and articulate ideas in writing is a surprisingly elusive skill for many students. Blogging regularly—or, in other words, practising your writing skills—will lead to better writing. That sounds pretty obvious, but the point I’m making goes further than that.
In The Icarus Deception, author Seth Godin points out that the reason the vast majority of us can communicate easily through speech is because we are always talking. When it comes to what we’re saying and how we’re saying it, all of us produce a constant flow of outputs that generate feedback. From this, we are always learning how we can improve our oral communications skills. To improve your writing skills, Godin would say, “Write like you talk. Often.” Practice does not always make perfect, but it does lead to improvement.
University is a lot of work—assignments pile up, you’re trying to balance social, familial and professional obligations, and when you’re on the job hunt, things can get stressful. Blogging can help here too.
Think about it: on those days when something exciting happens or goes wrong, you want to tell someone—a best friend, a partner, your parents or anybody! You want to vent because sharing your thoughts with others makes you feel better. When you have your own digital space accessible to everyone, you can share your thoughts with anyone at any time. The point I’m trying to make is not that you should use a blog to share complaints with the world. I am, however, agreeing with Australian business professor Joanne Jacobs: publishing your thoughts, whether they’re about life, learning or even job hunting, can be a cathartic and liberating experience. For such an endeavor, a blog is the ideal tool.
Tell your unique story
In a world where it seems as though everyone has an undergraduate degree, companies are anxious to identify people who stand out. So although many students I know are under the impression that being absent on the web is better than having a searchable profile, employers have said—and I have written about this before—that they like discovering information about job candidates online. Sometimes this information can even drive an employer to hire one candidate over another. In fact, a 2011 Reppler survey found that employers like being able to find content that suggests a candidate has a great personality, fits with the organization and is creative. Blogs enable you to take an extra step and showcase yourself, to tell the world who you are, and to add nuances to the bullet points in your resumé.
To get you started, I suggest considering one of the following three blog services. Use WordPress.com if you’re looking for an extensive database of unique themes and easy-to-read traffic statistics. I suggest Tumblr if you looking for a simple service with great design features. And last but not least, Blogger, which is owned by Google, is one of the oldest and therefore most reliable blog publishing tools available. I’d recommend that you explore all three platforms and pick whichever one feels right for you.