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Blog your way to a better career

By Penelope Trunk, Special to CNN
November 18, 2011 -- Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)
A successful blog can help you transition to a new career.
A successful blog can help you transition to a new career.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Using your blog as a career tool can help you advance
  • Changing your career, skipping entry-level positions can be easier if you have a blog
  • A blog is a great platform for networking, Penelope Trunk says

Editor's note: Penelope Trunk is the co-founder of Brazen Careerist, a career management tool for next-generation professionals, and writes a blog at penelopetrunk.com.

(CNN) -- Do you know why you should have a blog?

Because people who use their blog as a career tool do better in their careers than people who don't.

The evidence for this is strong.

Pew Research was one of the first mainstream think tanks to study bloggers as a whole, in 2005, and Pew found that people who blog are generally higher earners. Jobvite shows that people who use social media to find a job end up finding jobs that are a better fit. And LinkedIn is so convinced that bloggers do better in their careers than nonbloggers that it has added features to enable people to simulate blogging right on its site.

To be clear, I'm not recommending that you become a professional blogger. You should not try to get a lot of traffic on your blog. And really, trying to earn money from your blog is a lost cause.

What you should do is think of your blog as a better form of a resume.

An old-school resume is static, and it focuses on what you have done in the past, rather than what you can do now.

A blog focuses on your ideas -- how you think and what you are thinking about. You need to spend very little time on your blog in order to get the advantage that bloggers have in the workforce.

Besides earning you more money, here are some other ways that blogging can help your career.

1. Career change is easier with a blog.

Most people have trouble with career change because they know what they want to do but they can't get a job doing it. A blog allows you to show people your ideas and your investigations in a given field. Make your blog an exploration of the field you want to be in, and sooner than you realize, you will be qualified to be hired in that field.

This is not rare. It happens all the time, in a very wide range of fields.

2. You can skip over entry-level job tracks with a blog.

Because a blog focuses on your ideas, rather than your experience, you are more likely to be able to persuade someone to let you skip the bottom rung.

Also, as you are linking and responding to other bloggers in your field, you are building a network of people who know you as someone with a reputation in the field, and they can help you land a job above entry-level.

3. Part-time work is easier to get if you have a blog.

Pew Research reports that most moms would rather work part-time than have a full-time job or be a stay-at-home mom. This means that almost every mom is the U.S. is competing for the jobs that are engaging, well-paying and part-time. How do you stand out in this crowd?

A blog is a differentiator when the competition to get the job you want is fierce. You don't need a lot of readers; you just need one reader who is able to hire you and is impressed with what you post.

4. Long-term unemployment can be overcome by blogging.

If you've been out of work for a while, your resume probably has a hole in it, and your network is waning. A blog can solve both problems by showing you as intellectually vibrant and engaged in your field. Your blog is a better calling card than a resume if you have been out of the workforce.

5. Blogging builds a network super fast.

LinkedIn is a great way to display the people in your network. But how do you build that network?

By making real connections with people based on ideas and passions. A blog is the perfect way to meet other people who think like you do and who are in your field. Blogging also allows you to focus your connections on other top performers, since blogging about career topics self-selects for engaged, motivated, ambitious people.

If you want a stable career, and if you want to take charge of where you're going, then you should be blogging. If you already have a blog, here's how to make it better. And if you do not have one, here's a good place to start.

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