Let me add my voice to those that strongly encourage blogging as a critical activity to establishing your personal brand. Blogging is simply the most effective tool you have to document and target the communication of your value to others that might need your help addressing an opportunity or solving a problem that matters to them.
Probably the most difficult part of the personal branding journey is just getting started. Most of you will struggle to identify your value and think that you could blog about that value. This is especially true for young folks who have yet to even start their first career.
If you find yourself in this boat, let me suggest that you consider doing a developmental blog. Think about where you want to be two years from now in your life and career. What skill, ability, knowledge, or behavioral habit do you need to develop in the next two years to help you accomplish your goal? Whatever you identify, take the initiative to go out and DO the self-development. Then come back to your blog and chronicle your journey.
For example, let’s say you think leadership development is important to you and that it would really help your brand. Give yourself permission to take the initiative to develop as a leader. Read books, do volunteer work, attend workshops, have coffee with local leaders, ask co-workers and peers for feedback, and participate in other activities that will help you develop as a leader. As you engage in these activities, share your experiences and learning with others by writing about it on your blog.
Don’t worry that you are not a leadership expert – no one expects you to be. Use your blog to document how you are learning and developing yourself as a young leader and I guarantee you that your authentic experiences and thoughts will resonate with the people who find your blog. And, for companies that are looking for someone like YOU, it will immediately differentiate you from the masses of other applicants.
Continual self-development is one of the most important life skills you can pursue. Blogging about your journey of improvement gives you the opportunity to leverage your development in ways that render a traditional resume almost irrelevant.
Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.