How Starting a Blog Can Help You Land a New Job
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The English Major's Dilemma

In 2010, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English, and no clue what I really wanted to do with it. When people asked what I wanted to do "when I grew up", I would say "Oh, something in editing." Whatever that means. 

Luckily, I found inspiration in a marketing internship, of all things! I only landed the internship because they wanted someone who could write, not necessarily someone graduating with an English degree. The internship itself ended up being ridiculously boring (imagine days filled with spreadsheets and mining websites for cold call information). However, the company needed a new website, and I was able to attend the meeting with the web desgin and SEO specialist that came in.

For those who don't know what SEO is, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's a practice done by businesses and professionals to make their websites rank at the top of search engine pages such as Google, so they're more visible to potential customers. For instance, if you were a Chiropractor in Seattle, you would want to rank for the term "Chiropractor in Seattle" so that your site can be seen. Make sense? If you're one of the first few sites listed on page 1 for a specific search term that has competition, then you're doing a good job.

He explained SEO in layman's terms to us, and I was hooked. I thought, "Hallelujah, the perfect thing for me! Web plus words equals yessssss!"

There was just one problem...I didn't have a marketing degree and had no knowledge or experience in SEO.

Just 6 months later, though, I was hired at a web design agency in marketing, learning SEO on the job - and I owed a lot of my luck to my blog. 

Blogging to Set Yourself Apart from the Competition

When I decided to learn SEO, I found a bunch of resources online. In 2010, there weren't even college programs for web marketing and SEO, and pratcially everyone in the industry was mentored or self-taught, after getting a marketing degree. 

What set me apart from the pack was this: I started a blog about how I was teaching myself SEO. I wrote about all the new things I was learning, and added some of my own insights to them. I made sure to include links to the resources I was using, which were on really reputable sites, such as moz.com and Search Engine Journal. I laso started tweeting a bunch of SEO and web-marketing related articles, and followed everyone I could find in the industry.

So, when I applied to the agency that hired me, they were impressed by my go-getter attitude, my writing abilities, and my overall interest in SEO. They could tell I lived and breathed SEO, and that really stood out to them and made me a unique applicant.

Now, this was back in 2010. Today, no matter what industry you're in, creating an online footprint that's relevant to your focus could really help get you hired. In some industries, it's even expected that you have an online portfolio, at least! If you don't have any sort of professional online presence, I'd start with a portfolio site and blog. Just start writing about what you know, news in your industry, and anything else that might look great to potential employers.

Showing initiative will put you those few precious steps ahead of the other applicants.

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Jolissa Skow
Minnesota lover, book blogger, work-from-home-er, mom.
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