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How Blogging In College Got Me My First Job

Posted By Guest Blogger 16th of October 2014 General 18

This is a guest contribution from PR specialist Caitlin Dodds.

I remember sitting alone in the airport with three hours to kill before my flight to Madrid. Squirming on the hard plastic chairs at my boarding gate with my laptop perched on my knees, I typed my first post on my new study abroad blog.

You know the saying, “the rest is history”? Well, that cold January day is a big part of where I am today because my little study abroad blog helped determine my career and land my first job. Here’s how I did it.

Getting Started with my Travel Blog

All my friends that had spent time in Europe kept blogs that were updated every few weeks with a snapshot of their crazy jet-setter lifestyle. But as their semesters progressed, updates got shorter and less frequent. I loved writing, and I jumped at the chance to blog about something exciting.

I set up my WordPress blog, customized the layout, learned how to use widgets, set up category pages and everything else that mattered. I obsessed over themes, the tagline for the blog, and the ‘about me’ page.

I didn’t know how much time I would have to write but week after week while my friends’ updates became few and far between, I stayed up late writing detailed recaps of life in Spain, the trips I took, the people I met, the food I ate, etc. I was obsessed with editing, picking the perfect pictures, writing, rewriting, and editing posts to perfection. When I discovered WordPress built-in analytics, “stats,” I was hooked. I loved seeing where my readers were coming from (all over the world!) and what brought them to my blog.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 11.03.37 am

All these things got me thinking – I was studying for a marketing degree, but hadn’t figured out what to do yet. I had friends that worked in web development and SEO and I was sort of interested in Internet marketing. I loved managing my blog, so why shouldn’t I try to blog (or at least write) full time?

Turning My Blog Into a Resume Piece

When I returned to Grove City College for my senior year, my Content Marketing professor encouraged me to use my blog for the final project. He had me expand the blog and turn it into a travel resource for students trying to study abroad on the cheap. He challenged me to find ways to monetize what I loved and apply SEO strategies to it.

In the Spring I was taking a class in SEO and job searching for digital marketing jobs that would allow me to write for a living. Through a friend of a friend, I found a position in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at Web Talent Marketing, a digital marketing agency. I applied for the position and to prove my experience – I sent the hiring manager a link to my blog with a short snapshot of it’s stats, growth, and success. Within hours I had a voicemail asking me for a phone interview. When I went to visit the company and interview, I was able to use my blog for specific examples of things I had done, the knowledge I had of content marketing, and my writing ability. I was able to talk about the type of promotion I did for it, how I tweaked blog posts to perform better, and how I used analytics to determine the content my audience liked best. I had a job offer within three days.

If you’re blogging full-time, or maybe just part-time, and in the market for another job, don’t underestimate how you can leverage your blogging experience to land that job!

Here’s how my personal blog made me more marketable:

1. It helped me stand out in a competitive job market of college grads because I could market it as “real life experience.”
2. I could showcase my writing ability in a fun and engaging way.
3. I gained experience in the number one CMS platform, WordPress, and proved I could implement technical changes on a blog for SEO.
4. It demonstrated my ability to analyze content through statistics and use that data to improve my content for increased visits, dwell time, and engagement.

I’ve used my blogging experience to help my clients maintain better blogs and succeed in content marketing. I even became one of the first members of our PR team and have helped grow Web Talent’s SEO blog by being a top contributor every month.

I’m not blogging for myself on a regular basis anymore, and I’m nowhere near monetizing my efforts. Still, I know that having that blog during my time in Spain is the reason I have my job and career, and who knows? Maybe someday I’ll have the opportunity to monetize my personal blog.

Caitlin Dodds is an Online PR Specialist for Web Talent Marketing with a focus on content marketing and social media. She enjoys blogging in her spare time and tweeting at @caitlinjdodds

 

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
Comments
  1. It is nice to hear when someone can transition their online blog work into help with jobs. The skills we use online marketing our blog and so forth can be applied to a lot of different things. I’m going to have to add those four things that you listed to my resume. : D

    • One thing I learned about working online is that you have to keep the health of the heart with exercise, eating right, and consistently doing cardio. Why? Simply because we’re sitting down for long periods throughout the day creating “lots and lots of content.” What kinds of things do you like to blog about, Sebastian? :-)

  2. Well, this is one of the best inspiring story that I’ve read. Yes, if you do it blogging for money there are bright chances to earn money from it by giving their time or efforts. This post motivates every newbie blogger to start and writing blogs.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have something similar (a personal blog) that I’ve started where I pen down my opinions, travels and reviews. I haven’t monetized it yet, nor am I close to monetizing it. I attract just around 100 page views everyday; so you can imagine. This is an inspiration indeed.

    • Hi Salman, I had fewer than 100 page views on average when I was interviewing and got my job. Everyone starts there, but there are so many amazing resources on ProBlogger that can help you grow it and maybe monetize it someday. Glad you enjoyed my story!

  4. Awesome story! I hear a lot of buzz about how blogging can help you land a job, but few people actually tell their stories, so thank you for this!

    • Hi Alicia, thanks for commenting! I agree – I’ve read a lot of stories about people who’ve done this, but few have shared their stories or the actual details of how they did it, and that’s what inspired me to share mine!

  5. It’s very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. I love to build the blog and I enjoy the time I spent on building it.

  6. That’s wonderful to hear. And, it’s also amazing to read blogging and affiliate marketing success stories from everyday people like Darren and yourself how ya’ll turned a WordPress blog into a profitable business by generating income from affiliate programs. Keep doing what you do and remember blogs with 1,000 + words get more love from search engines. That said, blog your heart out. :-)

  7. This is really an interesting as well as inspiring one.Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us.Hope me too got my first job due to blogging.

  8. It is very inspiring to know that you have become successful at doing what you love. You never gave up on writing even if you’re going to college – wow. No wonder your determination to pursue your passion payed off.

  9. How to increase the facebook likes?

  10. I believe very few person get the opportunity to do what they really passionate about and you’re one such lucky person.interesting story indeed.

  11. Doing some project in my college life is my habit. But I always thinking about how to get some revenue or get me to some job. What should I write in my blog so that it can be monetized. Haha it’s stupid question, but nice post here. I like to visiting your website. Thanks

  12. Sad to hear you don’t blog regularly, maybe you change your mind. Nice share!

  13. Whoa this is impressive.. I have been blogging for such a long time in India and until now have not got any job here… will try to do what you did..

  14. wah that is nice tutorial how to good blogging..thanks you for this post…good job

  15. Of course blogging will become more marketable, everything that to be done with heart will bring the miracle.
    Hope to view more blog post of your !!!

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