THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Blogosphere: Your next big career destination
Blogging is a great on-ramp into the work world. For anyone who wants to change careers or start a new career– blogging can make things easier.
What are blogs?
A blog is about a writer's ideas, and the page usually includes links to information that influenced that person's thinking. The layout of a blog is simple– blogging is not about design and flashiness, but about ideas.
This is why people at the very top of the work world are blogging– such as Fortune 500 chief executives. And people who used to charge for their writing are blogging, like the veteran journalists involved in the Boston-based blog, Xconomy, about technology and business.
Today people realize that an important exchange of ideas is going on online, and if you want to lead that exchange, you need to be blogging.
Most people think of blogging as the domain of young kids. In fact, the goal of the best blogs is summarized on the Xconomy blog: "To better connect people and ideas."
Coming up with fresh ideas and commenting intelligently on other people's ideas is time consuming. So the people most likely to engage in blogs are people serious about their careers and about making them align with their lives. These are the arenas of our lives where we're willing to spend the kind of mental energy blogging demands.
What's blogging good for?
* Networking: The best way to build a network is by exchanging ideas with interesting people. And that's a blog's purpose: read someone's ideas and then comment. The conversation forges relationships and soon you have a much stronger network from blogging than you could from more conventional, non-idea-based networking moments, like the exchange of business cards at a convention.
* Job hunting: The best part of blogging is the high quality people and the engaged thinking that drives the people who participate.
You can reach almost anyone in corporate life through a blog. Do you want a job at Microsoft? There are 6,000 bloggers there. Surely someone is blogging in the department you're interested in. So rather than sending a resume to the human resources department, you can engage one of the Microsoft bloggers in conversation over the course of a few weeks, and then maybe ask for help getting a job.
* Staying ahead of the curve: Trade publications used to be the standard way to find out about an industry. Today, small groups of bloggers in a given industry lead the way on trends and events.
To keep up with what's going on in your field, read a few blogs about your arena daily.
Each industry has hotshots blogging. For example, the largest public relations firms all have bloggers (try Steve Rubel, from Edelman), and most big consulting firms have bloggers.
There are coal mining bloggers and land use bloggers (try Torbjorn Rive at Variable Interest). Find the people who blog on topics that matter to your career, and follow their ideas.
"More and more of the conversation in almost any field is going on inside blogs. So if you're not plugged into blogs, you're probably missing out on a lot of that," says Wade Roush, the chief correspondent for Xconomy.
Where do you find the blogs?
The worst part of blogging is that there are millions of them. Great ones can be hard to fine.
Fortunately, Guy Kawasaki just launched Alltop, an index of the most popular blogs in the most frequently read categories.
The range of topics covered is breathtaking– fashion, investing, education, sports, science– because the range of blogging interests is so large. But Alltop organizes information into manageable and inviting categories.
Blogging can change your life- the doors that blogging opens are doors that most of us had no access to just five years ago.
To start using blogs, go to Alltop.com and click on a category. Alltop is the on-ramp to the blogosphere. So use it.