It’s not what you know — it’s who you know (from your blog)

We’ve all heard this cliche, but it’s true.

Connections matter and networking is the name of the game. It’s not that unfair either. Think about it from the position of a prospective employer: Would you rather hire someone you are familiar with and know a bit about their work or take a chance on a total stranger?

When in doubt, people will go with the people they know. Also consider this: News organizations in particular are being inundated with resumes. After awhile they all begin to look the same, and it’s not very easy to stand out on paper.

Plus, people embellish and even outright lie on their resumes. Against this backdrop, it’s easy to see why knowing people is important. Hiring managers want to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible (I’m not talking about the nepotism kind of knowing people, however).

That’s why you need a blog and to own your name on the Web. Even without ads, blogging can make you a lot of money, because it’s a great way to get to know people. Dave Winer says he has made more than $2 million from his blog:

If I had any advice to offer it’s this — get in the habit of communicating directly with the people you want to influence. Don’t charge them to read it and don’t let others interfere with your communication. Talk through your blog as you would talk face to face. You’d never stop mid-sentence and say “But first a word from my sponsor!” — so don’t do that on your blog either.

Blogging is also a great way for people to get to know you, your work and your thoughts. Forbes advises people to get a blog to look knowledgeable in their field:

It’s a small amount of work that will likely impress recruiters and hiring managers, because it shows you to be enthusiastic and engaged with your industry. It also makes you look like an expert in your field.

I’ve advised for awhile that journalists should build a digital resume online and start a blog. Tony Pierce, the head of blogging at The Los Angeles Times, says that his blogging is the reason he is working for the Times right now. I wouldn’t be the editor of BeatBlogging.Org without this blog either.

Can you imagine someone without blogging experience running BeatBlogging.Org? And how would Jay Rosen have known if my skills and ideas about journalism would have been a good fit for BeatBlogging.Org without my blog and personal site? Osmosis?

Don’t tell, show people. Having a blog with your thoughts, work and contact info is a great way to show people your skills. That’s a great way to eliminate uncertainty in the minds of potential employers.

Plus, having a blog proves to potential employers that you get the Web, especially if you’re good at it. More and more employers and industries are looking for employees with blogging and social media skills. If people are looking for those skills, you need to demonstrate that you have them.

Employers are searching Google, Yahoo! and other search engines to dig up information about you. You want to own the top search results for your name. It’s impressive to have the top spot on Google (it shows you get SEO), but it’s also a great way to prevent people from getting you confused with other people with the same name.

Now remember, being a good blogger is more than just about your blog. It means getting out into the blogosphere and connecting with other bloggers on similar topics. It means posting comments on their blogs and being a part of a larger community.

There is a large journalism blogging community. It’s made up of some of the best minds and talent in the business. Want to connect with that community? Get a blog.

Listen, not all of us have rich parents or powerful connections and we can’t always network in person, but that’s the beauty of blogging and social media. Any one can form connections with blogging and social media. So, get out there and start making connections.

  • A blog is the ultimate community-builder. That’s why so many bloggers are successful on Twitter. A personal blog is the first place you can really build and cultivate your own community. Heck, twitter is the reason my book about online communities is publishing in May. This stuff opens doors. You just have to be genuine, persistent and committed.

  • I started my blog at first as a hobby, but then realized the importance blogging is in my marketing strategy when I go out for job opportunities. It is also a great way to help improve my writing skills, and, most importantly, I get to write about subjects I care about. I have gotten writing assignments simply because the editor came upon my blog and asked me to write a more formal article about it. So I am proof that blogging is a net positive these days for getting journalism jobs.

  • Great post. This is why I tell my students they need blogs… 🙂