Has it crossed your mind to wonder why contemporary legends David Bowie and Madonna are still holding their own quite nicely against their much younger, hipper musical counterparts? Hint: both the Thin White Duke and the Material Girl are savvy business people as well as artists. To retain their competitive edge in an industry that has suffered tumultuous change, they have continually reinvented themselves. Both have taken serious risks in keeping their material and stage personas if not completely fresh, then at least a bit off-kilter, out of the norm, using approaches that keep audiences coming back for more. Thirty-five years after his glam-rock Scary Spiders from Mars days, Bowie is still a crafty, talented songwriter and a consummate performer with a very respectable following. Madonna recently came off a tour touted to be the highest grossing ever by a single artist. Not bad for a rocker in his ’60’s and a punk ballerina past the half-century mark.
If the music industry was a shriveling job market in which Bowie and Madonna scrambled for jobs, both artists would be blogging, and both would, no doubt, be getting lucrative offers. I’m not talking about the type of blog that equates to those mind-numbing “Look what I’ve been doing all year!” letters that accompany Christmas cards from people you wish had never sent them. What I’m referring to is a professional blog, in which many employers are genuinely interested.
From an employer’s point of view, your resume is a synopsis of your prior experiences and achievements. Those with the power to hire always want to know about the activities and projects in which you are presently engaged. While we don’t suggest that you deep-six your resume in favor of a blog, we do want you to understand that a well-written blog can enhance and strengthen the information that appears on your resume. It can give you the edge over job seekers unwilling to take a risk by way of this new, quickly widening route.
Now, you’re wondering what on earth you might include in that blog. If you have just completed a course or a seminar relevant to your job function and/or industry, a thoughtful discussion of the highlights would be pertinent. Should you be involved in a project on your job, the lessons you have learned or strategies you have applied might make an excellent blog topic. Obviously, the exact nature of the project and sensitive, confidential proprietary information would need to be culled from your discussion.
What if neither of these scenarios fits your circumstances? What if your full-time job right now is finding a job? What if you’re employed, simply slugging it out day after day, carrying the burden of three other people who were downsized? With a little elbow grease (research), you can link your industry or job function to what is happening globally, nationally, or locally in the job market. If that doesn’t work for you, a brief perusal of any Internet news or business Website, on any given day, will provide you with fodder concerning the economy, employment trends, and demographic trends to which you can speak. Even if this data does not relate directly to your position or the position you seek, you can still demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about current events, and that you have opinions about them. If this information does relate to your career, it will serve to build your authority within your industry.
And if you do blog, blog regularly, meaning, at least once a week. This will keep your data, your perspective, and quite possibly your motivation, fresh.
So, there’s no need to don a silver jumpsuit or transform religious iconography into jewelry in order to stand out from the crowd of job seekers; just be cutting edge. Use technology to your advantage in increasing your relevancy, and by inference, your value to potential employers.