My Posts

You Don’t Have To Blog To Rise Up

I know this is a crazy post.

I know my blog has certainly helped me rise up. Other’s blogs have helped them rise up. I am going to an unconference that is going to focus on HR people who are interested in blogging. Someone may ask me if they should start a blog.

In the past, my answer was an unhesitant yes. Of course you should. Why shouldn’t you? The real question is how do we get you going and exposed as quickly as possible.

Now? My answer depends on a number of factors. In some cases though, my answer is going to be no.

What gives?

I haven’t soured on blogging nor do I believe the space is crowded. On the contrary, I still think there is a lot of space out there for people to talk about business and talent. We’ve barely scratched the surface of possibilities. But I think there are also a lot of dead blogs out there and that sucks. It means someone put in a bunch of effort, got frustrated and left it behind.

That could have been prevented because while I don’t believe there is one way to blog, there are many ways to fail at blogging:

  1. You aren’t passionate about the subject — You want to use your new blog as a tool to rise up but you aren’t passionate about the subject. Reverse course matey! Go back and find your passion and then blog about that.
  2. You aren’t interested in improving your writing — Blogging has helped me improve my written communication skills immensely. Rarely do people come into blogging with that background. Are you willing to craft and recraft messages until you get used to it?
  3. You can’t write on a consistent schedule — This is a big one. I say writing once a week is the necessity. That’s 52 posts a year. I’ve averaged two posts a week for over three years. It honestly isn’t tough but if your schedule is rough and tumble, you’ll lose interest if you don’t post for a month.
  4. You can’t do the other things that make your blog great — Keeping up on what other people are doing in the context of what you write is as important as what you write. Making comments, networking with fellow bloggers, and pushing stuff out to your network? That’s part of successful blogging.

So If You Don’t Do Blogging…

You can rise up in different ways. People have this tendency to assume that the path they take is the best path for everyone but that simply isn’t the case. Even with blogging. Now I believe that if you have those four traits, anyone can learn how to blog and do it very well. Seriously. Anyone.

There are other ways to rise up though:

  • Through your company
  • Speaking and volunteering through local associations
  • Doing interesting things and getting press coverage
  • Doing guest blog posts
  • Using other social media tools effectively
  • Start consulting and advising (even pro bono)

I am just scratching the surface here. My biggest point: don’t let anyone tell you that you have to blog. Should you have a findable, online profile? Absolutely. You can build that through any number of resources though that doesn’t involve a blog.

My Posts

How Having A Blog Landed Me A New Job

If you’re a blogger, you know the feeling. You just sat down at your computer and you are a paragraph into a blog post when it suddenly hits you: apathy. “Why am I doing this?” you ask yourself. It may be the worst paying job in the world (most people do it for free or nearly free) and you question the real value of the people you end up making connections with. It can be a lonely existence if you make it that way and the blog is the ultimate one person company. If you don’t make it move, no one else will.

If you’re not a blogger and you’ve wondered why we do what we do, you’re not alone. My wife was in the same boat. She could often be found telling me to go to bed, to not spend as much time on it and thought it may be a nice hobby but that’s it. She was supportive of my “hobby” but we didn’t agree on the value of it.

What’s The Value Of Blogging?

The real value of blogging isn’t the content I create. That is nice and that gets my foot in the door. The real value are the connections I make and the things I learn and apply to make myself better.

We talk about what a game changer social networking and social media is all of the time. The only real game changer is where the conversations are happening and what limitations there are on who you can connect with. The principles that people use to get ahead are the same now as they have been for the last half century (if not longer). Sharing good ideas, helping people around you succeed, being a decent person and doing what you say you’ll do? That still works in social media and its impact is bigger than ever because the amount of people you can connect with is… well… a lot.

What Happened? How Did You Get A Job?

After my employment ended with my last company, I reached out to my network (both the one I built here locally and the one I built through blogging and other social media stuffs). I posted on my blog. I posted on Twitter. So did a ton of other people. I was flattered, humbled and feeling a little bit egotistical about the attention. What can I say, I am human! The conflicts of emotion were interesting.

I received many e-mails from people saying that if I was open for relocation, there would be several positions open. My wife and I talked about it already and we weren’t willing to leave Portland so those options were off the table.

Last week, I received a message from someone that wanted to talk about how I could work with their company. They were going to be launching a big time product upgrade and they were targeting the niche I have been working in for the past six years (HR pros). They commented on my blog in January (this is why longevity counts) and saw the overwhelming response after I was back on the market.

We talked by phone and sent e-mails back and forth (none of those e-mails or conversations included a resume or application or formal interview questions). It was truly a conversation. After we hammered out some details, I agreed to start immediately.

What About The Company? What Will You Do?

The company is MeritBuilder. I will help them reach out to you HR/Corporate types in a variety of ways.

So what does that mean, right? In the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking more about my role especially as we look to re-launch the platform in mid-August. What I will tell you is that this blog will not change. Maybe a few more posts but the tone and the content is going to be the same. They were adamant on that. Insistent even. They get it and that’s what made it so easy.

So If I Start A Blog, I Will Get A Job?

Not exactly. Especially if you plan on starting one when you start a job search.

Sure, you might strike on something and see success. But more likely, you’re going to be turning your wheels and getting frustrated. It will be disheartening in most cases.

If you think of blogging like you do networking, you need to start a blog, contribute and become a part of the community before you can leverage it to help you find a great job (either by your choice or the company’s).

I will say that after the thousands of hours I’ve spent blogging, when I told my wife this story, she felt a little bit differently about this whole blogging business.