Blogging: the new career boost

Blogging: the new career boost

A couple days ago, a headline in my IEEE Job Site newsletter caught my attention: How a Personal Blog Can Boost Your Career.  (Being a blogger, things like that do catch my eye.)  The article mentioned several ways in which a blog can help you, a couple of which I believe are more relevant for engineers than others.

Let’s start with where I disagree with the post.  I am not sure that I buy into the whole “personal brand” idea, but I also take issue with one of the final comments: that your blog probably isn’t going to replace your resume.  The first is a matter of opinion, and in engineering, I’m going to guess that more manager-types are going to be interested in results and not your marketing je nes sais quoi.  (I could very well be wrong on this, however, which is why I’m an engineer and not an HR person.)  On the second point, however, I recently found an article in the Wall Street Journal discussing how many companies, particularly in tech, are moving away from resumes and want to see your online presence instead.  Hence, I do think blogging is definitely a step in the right direction.  On the other hand, blogging strictly as a marketing strategy doesn’t tend to go over well, as many companies have found out and thus dropped their blogs.  So keeping your blog real and not just using it to market yourself is probably a good way to keep readership.

With that out of the way, what things might be relevant for engineers?  The last three points of discussion were the most relevant: knowledge advancement, relationship building, and demonstration of skill.  Knowledge advancement is really what it sounds like: learning new things to make sure you sound sufficiently knowledgeable about your topic area.  I can vouch for the fact that, on the rare occasion I decide to put a technically meaty post on my personal blog, I spend a lot of time learning and thinking about things in a very deep way.  Relationship building is probably just a different way of saying “networking”, except you’re using an electronic signature rather than the good old-fashioned business card.  Not only can you network with people who read and comment on your blog, you can also network by leaving comments on other people’s blogs.  (In fact, that’s how I ‘met’ a good number of my fellow EngineerBlogs bloggers.)  Finally, demonstration of skill is just that: showing off your work.  However, it can also show off your communication skills, your ideas, and even your general demeanor.

My observation is that all technical bloggers seem to use their blogs for relationship building (or maybe ‘networking’).  However, it seems like the academics are a bit more focused on that than many of the ‘practicing engineers’ who blog.  Many of the best engineering blogs feature technical know-how.

So would you consider starting a blog to improve your employment and networking opportunities?  Do you think the benefits outweigh the potential problems with blogging? If you have done so already, do you think it’s been beneficial?


Interesting article. The initial blog post to which you were referring to was not my cup of tea really.

This blog post must be what you refer to as ‘networking’? How is that going for you?

I find reading technical blog material laborious and tedious. In fact most of them are kind of preachy. Give me a published technical guide any day. I think that most engineers think that way too. UNLESS you publish great material for your industry already….. inportant to note that.

Therefore, should you decide to write technical blog material, are you not just reducing the numbers of people who will eventually read your material?

Then you must surely be asking yourself…. why am I bothering in writing this material at all?

Bloggers can engage more readers by writing not only what’s on their minds, but what is concerning their kind [be it everybody, or just us engineers].

Bloggers can help others find interesting material, which may have stayed hidden to those who don’t have the motivation to go look for it.

Bloggers are internet and life experience filters with a personality.

I’m still trying to find that sweet spot, and currently going through a spell where some readers are suggesting that blogging is just some sort of marketing tool. This is part correct. Not completely fair for some of us though.

I will go off and write my own piece on this subject… I invite you to read it When I’m finished 😉

I think the benefits do outweigh the potential problems with blogging. (yet, even as I type this, I’m a psued…). I think it can keep technical people more in tune with the social aspects of their field.

For example, reading a lot of bio-med blogs by PhD students and postdocs gives me tons of things to consider about how I mentor my students, how I want to treat my students, and what our working relationships should be. Also, it makes me want to avoid NIH like the plague but that’s another story.

I think if you’re into your blogging community, it can open your eyes to things that you may not consider otherwise. Plus, it can be an avenue for seeking external advice which I have done with bloggers on this site and others in the STEM blogosphere

I have a blog excelunusual d o t c o m in which I create and teach the creation of animated engineering and scientific models in MS Excel. I am a consultant on the side and I can tell you the blog is not helping me. People at all levels (managers, colleagues etc) just feel intimidated if you actually prove by some demo that know anything more than them. You can write it in a resume and that’s OK since they all think, yeah he’s probably good but not better than me. Every year I am more and more confirmed the fact that compliance and brown nosing are the most important qualities for true career advancement. There are proven good design engineers in any company however, but those are stuck in the back room in front of a monitor whereas the mediocre is promoted and gets to talk to the customers.

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