There are two types of personal websites you can set up to help advance your career and employment prospects. The first, simpler version is relatively easy to set up and its main purpose is to provide additional information to support your job application. I have already written about this here. The second type is an expert blog which is great deal more complex, but allows you to differentiate yourself much better – by positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
With this kind of website you have to be prepared to really delve deep into the subject area you are involved in – or want to get into. The objective is to make a name for yourself and become recognized within your industry.
This is a project that will take some time. So, ideally, you should start developing it with a long-term goal in mind – perhaps while you’re still at university or working at your old job. Setting up a resource like this is no mean feat! However, if implemented well, it will put you miles ahead of the competition.
Is setting up an “expert” blog or website right for me?
How useful or relevant an expert blog or website would be in your area of work only you can judge. If your subject is in a media-related field, such as marketing or web design, the benefits from having a prominent online presence are obvious. After all, you are likely to be working on website or social media content in your job too. But, in principle, you can set up a useful website on any kind of topic, whether we are talking about technology, academic subjects or the world of business.
What’s more, this kind of site also offers an opportunity to steer your career into a completely new direction. Perhaps you’ve realized that you’d much rather be a photographer or travel writer? Then a dedicated expert blog or website is your chance to really immerse yourself in the subject and gradually build up your expertise. Do make sure, however, that you feel truly passionate about your chosen subject – or you might get fed up writing about it in a few months’ time. If you want to make this work you must be absolutely committed to it.
What content should I use?
There are two types of content you should consider:
- Static information and resources (website)
- News and social media links (blog).
If you are already working in your chosen field, or have a degree in the subject, you can use the background information and knowledge you already have to create the static content of your site.
In your blog, meanwhile, you can write about your everyday experiences and challenges, such as encounters with clients, customers or other service providers. You can share tips about software or online tools that you are using. In almost any line of work, tips on improving productivity and time management are relevant and will be appreciated. As a general rule, try to focus on providing useful content that will help your readers. The more helpful your blog and website are as a resource, the more readers you will get.
Of course, you must never divulge confidential information about your employer. Keep information anonymous, or, if you need to mention company names, make sure you have cleared this with your employer first.
Use social media to leverage your content
Your next step is to use social media networks. Set up a Twitter profile if you haven’t got one already, and follow people who are influential in your field. And, of course, you can also use Twitter to let the world know about your own website and blog. Equally, you can use Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for the same purpose. Read other people’s blogs too, and leave useful comments, making sure you link your comments back to your own website or blog. This way people will notice you and find out about your work.
Another good way to make yourself known to your peers is by writing guest posts for other relevant blogs. This not only allows you to attract new readers to your own blog, you also build up a relationship with the person you are guest-blogging for, and increase your search engine ranking.
Use your blog to connect
Once your website is established and you have made something of a name for yourself, you can go a step further and interview people who are well-respected in your field. You could, for example, interview someone from a company you would love to work for. But also ask one or two of their competitors to be interviewed – the more people in your chosen industry have heard of you the better. This is your chance to make the contacts that can really help you with your next job application!
This all may seem like a lot of effort. But it’s worth it for the chance of landing your dream job with a top employer. And, if you’re thinking even more long-term, many bloggers have successfully set up their own business through a project like this.
Would you consider setting up an expert blog?
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