This post is written by Emily Muscat, a final year English with Creative Writing student.
Many students aspiring for a career in writing, journalism, copywriting etc. have probably thought about starting a blog at one time or another, but very few actually get round to biting the bullet. In the last few years blogging has become far more than sites of diary-style updates – it is now an increasingly dominant force in the world of journalism, PR and the media. Though there is no point writing a blog if you’re not going to enjoy it, many people don’t realise that an added bonus of this hobby is what it could do for your career prospects. Below are just a few of the reasons why having a blog can be an advantage when it comes to applications, interviews and the big wide world of work:
Showing Enthusiasm and Self-motivation
If you’re going for a role that requires particularly strong written communication skills, it’s no use just telling them that you have a passion for writing or that you’re good at it – they’ll likely want some proof! Being able to say on your CV, application or at an interview that you consistently write content online, and that people take the time out of their day to read it, is good evidence that you’re serious about writing. As well as this, being committed to keeping up a blog can be hard work, so showing an employer that you use your spare time productively and can be dedicated to something purely based on your passion for it will go a long way.
Believe it or not, blogging is not a lonely hobby. The blogging world is one of community, both online and on a local level. There are events at which you can get to know other bloggers and people from the press on a professional level, which can lead to collaborations or further opportunities, such as getting your writing in print. Not only this, but blogging often involves working with companies or PR personnel, which provides great experience of building relationships in the world of work. Even if getting to know people doesn’t directly lead to tangible opportunities, becoming comfortable with networking in a professional environment will be incredibly valuable when it comes to your career.
No blog will grow in readership without a fair bit of promotion. The internet is a big place, and thinking you can start a website and people will just stumble across it would be a mistake. If you want people to read your blog, you need to promote it, both on social media, through people you know and when networking. You’re essentially saying to the world ‘I am good at writing, and I think you should read my blog’, which isn’t so far from effectively saying to an employer ‘I would be good at this job, and I think you should hire me’. Being able to promote yourself confidently when applying for jobs doesn’t come easily to everyone, but the experience of blog promotion can get you used to taking pride in your skills and feeling confident that you have something to offer.
More than a hobby
If your blog grows its following it can become something more than a hobby. A growing blog can be treated like a small business, even if it doesn’t earn you much! Like a business, a blog can be target-driven, by improving on your readership or social media following each week or month. Blogging can also lead to working with companies, in which case you may need to pitch, negotiate or even receive payment for posts. A ‘big’ blog can also have advertising on it, which will involve working with businesses and organising regular payment. Whatever stage your blog reaches, it’s not hard to see how treating your site like a business can prepare you for the professional world, and develop more skills than just writing.
So if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog there has never been a better time than your student years. The types of blog you could start are endless – from fitness to travel, music to fashion or food to finance – just choose something you are passionate about and get writing! Once you’ve set up your site on a platform such as Blogger or WordPress and have published your first post, get people to read it by promoting it over social media (it’s a good idea to set up a specific Facebook and Twitter account for your blog). If you put in the time and effort, however slow the start, people will find it, so don’t be discouraged at first– it will be worth it, for yourself and for your career.
Do you have a blog related to the career you’d like to pursue? If so, the CAL team would love to hear from you!