If you’ve got a blog to show off your expertise and help you land a job, make sure it doesn’t misrepresent you — and cost you a job offer.
You’re probably aware how your social media activity can hurt your chances of landing a job. Since a blog is similar to social media, the same problems befall employees who mismanage their blogs and carelessly publish content (e.g., stories, images, videos) that may potentially damage their professional careers.
If you have a public blog and want to safeguard your career, be sure to follow these five tips below. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Have a clear objective with your blog
When learning how to blog, you’ll find yourself writing just about anything, either as a means of getting traffic or releasing your frustration with the world. As a result, your blog may come off as unfocused and confusing. If and when employers or recruiters come across your blog, they may not see the side of you that demonstrates you’re the ideal candidate for their job opening.
If you want to maintain a personal blog, have a clear objective and address why you want to set up a blog in the first place. Whether that objective is to build an online portfolio, become a better writer, share your personal experiences or positively influence others, this exercise will enable you to determine what you write on your blog.
2. Write blog posts related to your niche or industry
As an extension of the first point, if you choose to blog to further your professional career, focus your website on the industry or job opportunity you’re interested in. This is especially critical for recent graduates or young professionals eager to get work in a specific industry unintentionally sending mixed messages by publishing content not in tune with expectations.
By highlighting your knowledge base in the niche or industry you’re interested in, you can demonstrate a higher level understanding of the dynamics within your intended career. Similarly, an experienced individual can be promoted to expert status, leading to greater recruitment and job opportunities.
It also doesn’t hurt if you know how to write killer posts that people will read and build a brand through your blog.
3. Avoid ranting about your current job
It’s normal to feel overworked, unappreciated and undercompensated. Consistently feeling this way about your employer can result in deep resentment, causing you to vent and relieve your pent up frustration from the workday. While expressing yourself is a completely natural reaction, these negative emotions can be damaging if they end up on your blog.
If this happens, do everything possible to delete or hide these specific posts from the public. Once potential clients or employers see those posts on your blog, they may see them as a sign of instability and how you can’t handle stressful situations in the workplace.
Don’t wait for a job interview to remind you (if you remember) to go back and delete past posts. Be proactive, not reactive, because you never know when someone may be viewing your blog to scout you as a candidate.
4. Optimize your content for search engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays an important role in driving traffic to your blog. Without observing the best SEO practices, you lose out on visitors that may be potential clients. Even if you have been producing high-quality blog content for six months, it doesn’t guarantee people will find and read it.
Aside from learning how to share your blog posts on social media, learn how to do SEO the right way. Otherwise, what’s the point of investing time sharing great information if there isn’t anyone to appreciate it?
5. Get a good layout and design
Layout and design are fundamental. Just as humans judge each other on how we dress, your blog’s design is a reflection of you. If your blog loads slowly or makes use of hideous colors, fonts or other design elements, expect visitors to leave the page immediately, regardless of whether or not the blog provides good information.
Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer and content marketer who loves listening to shoegaze music, is a die-hard fan of the Orlando Magic and believes that CM Punk signing to UFC is a mistake.