It’s rare to find a job straight out of college these days, and internships are becoming less and less easy to come by. Starting a blog while in college can help you further develop your skills, boost your resume during your job search, and lead to great employment opportunities after graduation.
It’s all about who you know, right? While college is a great place to start networking, many of your fellow students will be in the same boat as you post-graduation — no prospects, no experience, and no idea where to start.
When you start a blog, you become part of a larger network focused on the same area. As you reach out to professionals, recruiters, and industry experts for interviews and insight for your blog posts — or offer your own expertise as a guest blogger on an industry site — you gain valuable contacts that you can continue to nurture into networking prospects post-graduation.
Teaching to Learn
As a college student, the majority of your time is probably spent behind a desk learning from someone else. Blogging, on the other hand, is all about sharing information and teaching other people. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn something: by educating others on your subject, you’ll learn it more thoroughly yourself. It also looks great to an employer if you’re a capable teacher — being able to train others can be a great advantage in the workplace.
Consistent practice makes perfect. Maintaining a blog ensures that you’re writing often, which will boost your writing skills significantly. Written and verbal communication skills are important to employers looking for qualified candidates, no matter what industry you’re in.
In addition to writing skills, maintaining a blog can help you learn technical skills that can make you more marketable in an increasingly technical world. While they are not a requirement for running a great site, computer languages such as HTML, as well as design software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, come in handy when you’re fine-tuning your site — and when you’re touting your skills in a job interview.
According to Malcolm Gladwell, time invested in a skill — from computer programming to violin performance — is more important for developing that skill than anything else you do. When you’re blogging about your industry every week, that time adds up quickly. Many bloggers are seen as experts of their fields, and rightly so — they invest countless hours thinking about their subject and teaching others about it.
Boosting Your Resume
A successful blog looks great on your resume because it shows dedication, an ability to learn independently, and commitment to your field. Over time, you could also garner a large audience and widespread recognition for your blog, guest post on nationally recognized sites, or receive other awards, which would be a huge contribution to your resume.
It’s hard to get relevant work experience right out of college, so a blog that requires you to do regular research on your industry can help convince potential employers that you’re proactive about your work and can provide you with exposure to the realities of working in your field.
How do you make a blog?
Blogging may seem intimidating, but it isn’t too difficult — if you know your way around the Internet, have some interesting ideas, and can type an article, you’re already halfway there! Here are the first three steps to creating your own blog.
1. Brainstorm Ideas
Coming up with a marketable idea is perhaps the most important part of the blogging process. Successful blogs typically center around a theme or subject — your major, for instance. A good blog offers a fresh take on the subject and finds its own particular niche to fill.
Come up with five to ten ideas for topics you’d like to cover and do some preliminary research to see what is already out there. Find the one topic that has the least existing coverage but the most potential interest, and start your blog from there.
2. Pick a Hosting Service
There are plenty of available blogging platforms, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Do your research before deciding which platform to use. It can be a hassle to change services once you’re established on a site.
WordPress is a great all-purpose blogging platform, with excellent capability for text posts, video, and e-commerce (it’s my personal favorite). With several customizable themes to choose from, it’s easy to make your articles look professional and aesthetically pleasing. If you’re making a text-heavy blog, WordPress may be the best place to start. WordPress is also a very flexible platform, meaning there are plenty of free plugins to further customize your blog.
Google’s Blogger is one of the oldest blogging platforms, and as such has very few technical issues. The platform is easy to set up and quick to run, making it great for casual bloggers. Google’s AdSense is built in, which offers easy monetization options. However, if you’re looking to create a unique look for your blog, Blogger doesn’t offer the same level of customization as other platforms.
A relatively new offering, SquareSpace is a paid service that starts at $8 per month. It offers a simple and intuitive blogging system that is easy to set up and looks amazing. You don’t need any programming knowledge to build a great website, and you can easily include any kind of content. The major downside is the cost. SquareSpace is great for creatives looking to show off a portfolio, whereas bloggers looking to post more text-based content may have better luck elsewhere.
Consistency builds your blogging skills — and your readership — more than anything else. If you post just one article per week, you’ll be publishing 52 articles a year, a sure-fire way to develop a robust blog and steady audience. Determine how often you want to post and stick to a schedule. Write articles that offer a benefit to your readers: share your knowledge, expertise, and perspective with others and invite them to share their own experiences as well.
A blog is essentially a constant, living resume. It proves that you know your industry, that you understand the subject you’re writing about, and that you care about the things you cover. Oftentimes, a blog speaks to your abilities more than your resume can.
Now that you know how to make that killer blog, don’t forget about marketing it as well!
Story by Alice Williams
Check out her site here.