Do you know what skills and abilities employers want from graduates? Problem-solving. Communication. Initiative. Team work. Awareness of the business. Professionalism.

Everyone can say that they have what it takes.  But without the evidence, the words in your CV are just—words.  To be convincing, you have to prove your skills.  How? Start a blog.

It’s a tough job search game out there…

We’ve all been there.

You finish your university degree and expect to walk smoothly into a decent graduate job. Unfortunately, however, the reality can often be quite different—and sometimes very frustrating, too.

Not least since the 2008 global financial crisis, university graduates have been faced with a very tough job market. On the whole, millennials have suffered much higher unemployment rates than the general population. At the same time, the number of university graduates worldwide is increasing.

This means that as a graduate applying for a job today, you’re having to overcome the challenges brought by struggling economies, as well as by fierce competition.

Employers often care more about your skills and abilities than about your degree …

One mistake that I often see graduates make in their CVs is they focus too much on their degrees and too little on the skills and abilities relevant for the job they’re applying for.

Of course, your degree is important.  If you don’t have a degree (or have a degree in the ‘wrong’ subject), your job application may go straight into the ‘no pile’.  But once that filter is out of the way, employers will be mostly interested in this:

Can you do the job and are you the right person to do it?

If you have relevant work experience, you will stand a good chance of being invited for a job interview—a golden opportunity to prove your talent and abilities.

But what if you don’t have work experience? Or you do, but so do the other candidates applying for the same position?  What could you do to stand out?

Give yourself a head start by starting a blog. 

This could be the smartest career planning move you will make this year and here’s why.

Done right, blogging can help your graduate career in at least 6 ways.

#1 Showcase your skills.

Remember this:

Good communication is one of the top skills employers say they want from graduates.

This is why job applicants will more often than not include “excellent communication skills” in their CVs and covering letters.

You’ll want to do this as well, but at the same time you don’t want to sound like everyone else. Importantly, you’ll want to provide the evidence that backs up what you say about your skills.

And this is where blogging comes in.  If you have your own blog or contribute as a guest blogger here or elsewhere, you can let your articles speak for you and thus lend credibility to what you say about your skills.

#2 Improve your skills.

Do you like the idea of blogging but are worried that your writing skills aren’t that special?  Let me assure that many bloggers become really good at writing over time. As they say, practice makes perfect!

So, if you’d like to improve your writing skills, start writing. If you want to become a pro blogger, start blogging. With every article you write, you will see progress and will move a step closer towards your goal.

#3 Prove your passion.

Matching your blog topic to the career field you want to enter, you can demonstrate that you’re interested, proactive and inquisitive.

Don’t worry if you’re not an expert and don’t have all the answers (yet). No one expects this of you, especially if you’re a recent graduate.

Instead, try to view your blogging activity as an effective way to express your passion and ambition to be a future expert and thought leader in the field.

Blogging about your favourite topic will also allow you to learn more about it and to grow your expertise over time.

#4 Show you’re a good fit.

Have you heard of cultural fit?

When employers hire staff, they don’t simply look for people who can do the job. They also carefully evaluate if you would fit into the company and the relevant team you will be part of.

This may start well before any interview. It is no secret that hiring managers tend to look up candidates online to get some idea of who they are and what they’re like—prior to deciding whether to invite them for an interview.

The good news is that you can actively shape a potential employer’s opinion of you by carefully managing your online presence, as explained in this post by our Graduate Blogger Marcella Hama.

If, in addition, you run your own or contribute to an existing blog, you can really let your personality shine through. Are you professional, analytical and smart? You’ll be able to demonstrate this. Are you creative, funny and energetic? Make this bounce off the page.

Apart from allowing a potential employer to get a glimpse of your personality, your blog will also prove that you are keen to learn and grow, and that you don’t hesitate to put yourself out there.

#5 Build your professional network.

People like to connect with like-minded individuals.

You can use your blog to attract the attention of professionals who work in your chosen field.

So, whilst other job candidates may resort to sending unsolicited emails or making cold calls (that are rarely answered or returned), you may find that people start asking you to connect. Or in the very least, if they are aware of your blogging activity, they may become more receptive to your connection requests.

Needless to say that the networks and connections that you create may lead to career opportunities.

For example, someone who is aware of your profile may forward to you details of a job they think may interest you. Or, if you have connections in a company and a job opportunity comes up there, this could increase your chances of securing an interview.

#6 Help the hiring manager hire you.

A hiring manager looking at your CV or interviewing you, may have doubts as to whether you’re suitable for the position. Your job is to help him or her overcome their concerns by addressing them.

With your blogging experience you can do just this.

How?

Take a look at these imaginary scenarios between you and a potential hiring manager.

You say you’re an excellent communicator. Can you give me some examples?

-Sure. In my blog posts, I always aim to communicate my ideas as clearly and succinctly as possible, making sure at the same time that my articles are engaging. In fact, my ability to do so is often commented on by my readers who tell me they enjoy my style and find my posts insightful, helpful and fun to read.

“How do I know that you’re really interested in what we do?”

-My interest in this field has motivated me to start a blog. You can see my articles, here, here and here. What I really love about blogging is that I can spend my time engaging with the topics I’m passionate about, whilst at the same time continuing to learn about them. For example, recently I was reading an article about … and thought it was fascinating that … .

“Can you give me an example of a problem you have solved?”

-In many ways, writing a blog post is like finding a solution to a problem.  I always start with the question: If I write this article, who will read it and why should they care? What problem can I help my audience solve with this article? Once I have identified a specific post topic, I then face the question of how to write this specific post, as the style and format can vary. I also always make sure to come up with specific recommendations or actions for my readers.

“Can you give me an example of your ability to work in a team?”

-Through my blog, I collaborate with other bloggers and we work together as a community. We exchange ideas, give feedback to one another, consider different points of view and promote each other’s work. It’s been great to collaborate in this way as I’ve learned a lot, and I am pleased I am able to help others with my insights and tips. I’ve also learned to reflect on the feedback I receive on my work, and to give feedback in a way that’s helpful and constructive.

“Can you give me an example of your ability to lead and convince others?”

-Every time I publish a blog post, I have to get readers to take action,  for example to comment, like or share. I’ve learned that you can only convince others to do something if they too benefit from it. So, you have to be able to involve people and to inspire them. I do this by inviting questions or suggestions at the end of each post. Also, it’s really important that you show you appreciate your audience, for example by replying to comments. I believe that my ability to show appreciation and to engage with my blog followers has played a big part in turning them into loyal fans.

Are you sold on the blogging idea?

Want to get started?

If this post has piqued your interest and you want to start your own blog, there is great news:  Starting a blog is easy.

Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can start one.  Cost? Zero. There are a number of free blogging sites out there, like Blogger.com, Tumblr, WordPress.com.  The only capital you have to put in is some energy, ideas, creativity and time.

Or you can become a guest contributor on this site. Simply enter your name and email address below and I will be in touch to provide you with further details.

So, don’t wait.  Because your dream job won’t.

Kick-start your graduate career by joining our community of bloggers today.

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