The launch of my freelance career can be definitively marked by the publishing of my first blog post. I've always had opinions about advertising and marketing, but for the longest time I was sure nobody would be interested in them. It wasn't until my company went under and I had way too much free time on my hands that (without any intention of becoming a freelancer) I decided to give blogging a shot. Literally days after that first post, I started getting e-mails and phone calls from people who wanted more.
In addition to being a great tool for getting noticed in the saturated world of freelance marketing, a professional blog is a very useful addition to a job application. Here's why.
1. A blog gives you something to show along with your resume. If you're like me, your internships didn't leave you with a whole lot of concrete work to show off to prospective employers (unless they're interested in a demonstration of your copy-making skills), so a blog gives them something other than class projects to look at.
2. It demonstrates your writing ability and serves as a supplemental writing sample.
3. Just the word "blog" looks good on a job application. It implies that you're tech-savvy, well-connected and confident in your own ideas.
4. A good blog gives employers a unique understanding of your thoughts and ideas.
5. Blogging is good networking. Think of other bloggers as allies. Run a search of topics similar to yours, "follow" them and comment on their posts, and the next thing you know, you'll be connected with an engaged network of people in your field.
I blog because I'm comfortable with my writing abilities, but there are online outlets for every kind of skill set. If you produce videos, get them up on Vimeo or YouTube. If you're an illustrator or graphic designer, for heaven's sake design a website, or at least put your designs on a free portfolio site like Carbonmade.
If you choose to blog, write about whatever it is you're passionate about, no matter how odd you think it is. Your enthusiasm (or lack thereof, if you try to fake it) will come through in your writing—and you might be surprised to find out how many people share your passion.
When I graduated from college about a year ago, professors and career counselors were still spouting traditional resumes and portfolios. In my experience, that won't be enough to get you noticed in this job market. If you want to differentiate yourself, blog.