More often than not, skills and experience summaries are the most important focal points on a resume. Education matters, but recruiters and hiring managers are much more interested in what you’ve done in addition to your studies than they are in what your major and minors were in college.
This brings up an important question for aspiring writers: if a good portion of your writing experience comes from hosting your own blog—regardless of the subject—is it okay to put it on your resume?
Well, that depends on a few factors. If you’re already asking yourself this question, here are three more you can work through to help you find the answer that’s right for your particular circumstances.
What is your blog’s goal or mission?
Before you go any further, it’s a good idea to know exactly what your blog really stands for. Even a personal site with seemingly aimless post topics will usually have a general underlying theme tying them together. If you don’t know what that is, don’t panic. It’s not something every blogger thinks about right away.
Make it simple. Ask yourself why you bother to sit down and write new posts for your followers. Do you just enjoy writing? Do you feel you have important things to say? If so, what’s the message you hope to get across to your followers (even if you only have 2.5 of them)?
Imagine you’re pitching your blog to someone. What would you tell them it’s about? Sum it up in a few short sentences. It doesn’t have to be fancy. “I am a writer and my blog exists to encourage other writers to pursue their own goals.” Easy. Ish.
Which skills have you developed in hosting your blog?
Once you have a good handle on why you blog, start thinking about how it benefits you. This might seem a bit contradictory—after all, the purpose of your blog is to help others and focus on your audience, isn’t it? But keep in mind that a resume—and if you’re lucky, a physical job interview—isn’t about anyone else. It’s all about you.
Yes, you want to highlight how you have helped other organizations accomplish their own goals. But even in doing this you’re summarizing how your skills benefited someone else. Blogging can do wonders for your audience if you know what you’re doing, but it helps you, too. Over time blogging might help you improve your writing style, teach you a little about web development and design or even introduce you to the analytical side of social networking.
Believe it or not, these are all skills some hiring managers will love to see. This also depends on your intended field of expertise, or, if you’re updating your resume in search of a new job, the kinds of jobs you’re applying for. That brings us to the third question you can ask yourself along this professional journey of yours.
How do your above answers relate to the job(s) you’re applying for?
In answering the questions above, you might find that your blog is a great platform for you to develop your skills, but doesn’t relate directly to what you want to do. You might really enjoy blogging about food and recipes as a hobby, for example, but you’re more qualified for a job in public relations. You may discover your blog could make or break your next career change (or it’s launch, depending on your life stage).
If you’re a food blogger, and you’re applying for a position in the culinary, food service or health communications field, your blog can act as an entire portfolio of writing samples for recruiters and managers to sift through. They might or might not—but even mentioning you’ve wedged your way into the industry on your own time can be enough to spark their curiosity and prod them to look more into the results that come up when they Google you.
If you think your blog reflects the skills and experience recruiters in your field are looking for, go for it—add that link. But include the actual link text, instead of hyper-linking.
Finally, here are some helpful tips if your resume grants you access to a nerve-wracking “get-together” with an HR rep:
- Include a link to your blog at the top of your resume, underneath your contact information and links to professional social networking profiles (LinkedIn and sometimes Twitter, if you use it professionally).
- Always have a few sample post topics in mind for when you do get an interview and they ask you about what you post about (they will ask).
- Be confident. You don’t have to talk about your blog like it’s the greatest one out there, but don’t write it off as “no big deal,” either. Working on a new project or campaign? Talk about it. But always connect these experiences back to you and what you’ve learned, relative to the job in question.
Who knows? Even if you never get paid for blogging, your blog might still earn you a job that’s at least a few steps closer to your dream career.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.