Career Prescription #2: Start a Blog
This week I continue my series of Career Prescriptions in hopes of moving you forward on some very important work that can help you to define and improve your career. Last week, I prescribed getting an account on LinkedIn. Today, I expect that there might be even a bit more push back when I tell you to start a blog, if you don’t have one already. If you already have a blog, start updating it more often.
How to start a blog
If you don’t have a blog already, point your web browser at either WordPress.com or Blogger.com. Set up a free account (your existing Google account can be used for Blogger, if you have one). Pick from their standard list of templates. Don’t worry about making the perfect decision now, you can easily change style choices later. Now, take an idea or thought you have and make it your first blog post. It can be about anything or anyone. It doesn’t matter what it is about, it only matters that you actually make the post. That’s it. Rinse and repeat.
As an exercise for the next couple of weeks, actively seek out items for your blog. They may be short pieces that you write yourself, photos that you take, or other items you find on the Internet that you find interesting to share with others. In the last case, though, if you post something from another source, you must take the time to add a few words about where you found it, why you found the content interesting and why you decided to share it with others. Don’t just post information without some personal background. You have to remember that the reason people read your blog, or any blog, is that they want to hear your unique viewpoint on the material. Why did you find it so special?
While some of you might have seen the usefulness of being a member of LinkedIn due to its business-like demeanor, you might be looking at me a bit oddly right now. You might be thinking that blogs are only for writers or photographers or other, narcissistic people only interested in talking about themselves. Sure, blogs can be any of these, but they also open up the opportunity to be much, much more. For you, as part of this prescription, your blog is going to become a “place for your stuff” as George Carlin once said. Too often we lose, or in most cases, throw away, great ideas, great thoughts, great stories because we don’t have a place to put them — immediately.
In the same way, and for the same reason, I carry around a paper journal to capture my ideas, I also keep a blog — several blogs in fact. Each of them is a home for thoughts, ideas, words, pictures and more about a particular topic. While my paper journal is designed to be seen only by me, my blogs are designed to explore ideas in public and hopefully, engage others in my thought process, as well. Sharing your ideas, and the information you find in your Internet travels, is a great way to engage with new people all over the world. It establishes your interests, your goals and also provides a way to show the very important “what you do and how well you do it” to the world. Discovering a new idea might benefit yourself and a few of your close friends and relatives, but sharing these new ideas via a blog can help hundreds, thousands and, in some dramatic cases, millions of people all over the world. Why would you want to keep things to yourself, when you have such power.
I think that once you have a place to put your thoughts and finds, you will start to see more information to put there. Instead of just letting great ideas wander by, you will capture them, as well as share them with your friends, your family — your network. The more you do this, the more it grows, in a virtuous cycle. Before long, you will have people looking to your blog for the their inspiration and information.
I know you might be thinking, “I have nothing to say that people want to hear. Why would they read my blog?” That fact is, we all have something unique to contribute. You have no idea who your audience is until you put something out there. Once that happens an audience will find you. In some cases, this can be a sizable audience, too. Like prescription #1, I am going to ask you to trust me on this and give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
The career conversation continues 24/7 at the Career Opportunities Community Site. I would love to hear your comments and questions about these prescriptions and more. Tell me why it worked, or why it didn’t? Just let me know you tried them. Add a new discussion on the Forums area of the Community site and share your experiences with other Career Opportunities readers and listeners.
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