As a young soon-to-be graduate, there are fun and creative ways in which you can boost your CV and learn about your industry. Blogging is one of the most visual and immediate ways in which you can showcase your passion, knowledge and development outside of school. It will impress employers, keep you up-to-date with your field of interest, connect you with people with similar interests as well as help you become a better writer and researcher. And it is fun! It is your online platform and you can shape and design it entirely to your tastes!
We started the Internship Programme to help young students like yourself learn and develop. You are guaranteed a work placement with our programme, but the level of that placement will still be determined by your CV, i.e. your education and previous experience. So when we tell you that a blog or online portfolio will put your forward on the job market, we speak from our own experience. In other words: if you have an impressive CV or portfolio, you are more likely to be matched with a challenging internship. So let's get started. Here are eight steps to creating your own blog.
1. What do you want to write about?
A blog is time consuming and if you are going to keep it up you need to write about a subject that interests you. Are you a business student with an interest in vegan food? Then a vegan food blog with an entrepreneurial focus might be a good idea. Or if you are a hairdressing student who is also interested in fashion, why not start a fashion blog that focuses on hairstyle trends and how to employ them? It is a good idea to research other blogs on the same theme to get an idea of what people are doing and how they are doing it. Think about what works and doesn't work and how you would like to build your blog differently from what is already out there.
2. Choosing a platform and professional design
The next thing you need to do is choosing a hosting platform for your blog. There are lots of options out there; Wordpress, Tumblr, Squarespace (which is what we are using), Blogger. Some are free, some cost money. One option is to try a platform for a month and then, if you are enjoying it and would like take your blog to the next level, you can always start paying for a domain name. So rather than writing for www.veganfoodforall.wordpress.com you will have your own website; www.veganfoodforall.com. Wordpress is generally suitable for blogs that feature longer articles, whereas Tumblr suits shorter and image-heavy posts. On Squarespace you can build a whole website with different pages. Have a look around and see what platform suits your needs.
One of the most difficult yet important things about blogging is to keep writing and publishing articles. One post a week is a good minimum. There are going to be times when you lack drive and don't feel like writing anything. What more is there to say about vegan food and hairstyles anyway? Well, lots of course! You just need a boost of inspiration. Create a mood board, on Pinterest or at home, where you pin pictures, quotes and ideas that inspire you. Or go for a walk, have a cup of coffee and write down what comes to your mind. Or read books and articles on the subject. Your ideas and thoughts will soon start to flow naturally. Another tip is to write down your thoughts and ideas in a small pocket-sized notebook or in your phone - somewhere you can turn to when you feel uninspired and just need an idea to get started.
4. Be professional
A sloppy blog will not impress readers or employers. That is why researching and planning your articles ahead will make a huge difference. Do you want to write something on the new vegan meat-like ingredient oumph? Do research. See what other people have written about oumph and what your angle should be. It could be a short, informative article called 'What is oumph and how do I use it?' or a more in-depth opinion piece on our obsession with meat substitutes and how it could harm the vegan cause. When you have chosen your angle, write down the overall structure of your article in a document; 1. What's your intro? I.e what are you arguing? 2. What questions will you be discussing and how will you answer them? 3. What is your conclusion? Once you have laid down the ground work, writing will be much easier and your article - well written and with a succinct point - will stand out in the blogosphere. And remember to spell check! Typos or grammar errors look unprofessional and will steal attention away from your content.
5. Quotes and pictures
A blog without pictures is like a book without a cover. You need pictures to illustrate the content and entice people to read your posts. Have you ever seen a magazine article without pictures, stand firsts, quotes and captions? Any editor or journalist will tell you that people are naturally put off by a long block of text without any breaks. Quotes and pictures are a great way to draw people in and read your work. Just make sure you are on the right side of copyright law. The best thing is to take your own pictures – it means you are showing something original – but Flickr Commons or Wikimedia Commons are good alternatives, free of charge.
6. Connecting with readers and people in the industry
The blog community can seem a little overwhelming as there are so many voices out there. But there are tools to help you focus on the blogs you find most interesting – for example Bloglovin' or Feedly. Read other blogs regularly and comment on the posts you find interesting. Soon, those bloggers will start to check out your blog and hopefully become regular readers. Make sure you always read the comments and answer any questions your readers might have, otherwise they might lose interest. And don't spend to much energy stressing about trolls or mean comments – they are a minority. Remember, it is your blog and you dictate the rules. Soon you will find you have a whole network of online contacts you can go to for industry questions, or perhaps even projects and job offers.
7. Social media
Sharing your articles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram is an effective way to spread the word and gain more readers. But your main focus should be to get your blog up and running and create immersive and well-researched content. Social media is a great tool, but it is secondary. Great content comes first, sharing after.
8. Using your blog for career purposes
Now that you have created a platform, don’t forget to use it! Put it on your CV, in your email signature, on LinkedIn and your Facebook page. Make sure you mention it in every email you send to prospective employers as well as in your cover letter and job interviews. Explain how the experience has helped you develop, what skills you have learnt and how they can be applied in a work environment. Presenting your blog in this manner will impress your employer (as well as ADC College in case you are embarking on the Internship Programme). It will make all the difference!
Do you happen to be an opinionated blogger? Don't hesitate to share your story below or any talking points we might have overlooked.
ADC College organises Internship and Teacher Development programmes in London and Dublin that are eligible for Erasmus+ sponsorship. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to apply for funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.