Lots of buzz going around about a recent Wall Street Journal article suggesting that creating a blog (like this site, but customized to whatever your professional brand is about) is a great way to boost your career prospects. Is that true? Should you create a blog? Can you be the Matt Drudge (pictured at right) of your functional area?
The answer is maybe. First up, to have a blog that helps your career, you'll need to focus the blog on whatever you determine your profession is. For functional area people (things that come to mind - Developers, Marketing Types, HR/Recruiters, etc.) a blog makes sense. You have a deep enough functional area that you could write a couple of times a week about issues related to your profession, or what you are experiencing in your work. That's a good idea if it is done well.
What if you are a prospect without a well defined functional area (customer service pro, administrative assistant, etc,)? That makes developing a blog a little tougher - ask yourself upfront what the theme of your blog is going to be. If you can't answer that question and develop a concept that gives you a professional brand, you may not have a good path to creating a blog focused on your profession/career. Another route you may want to consider is a Slash Blog (morphing your professional identity in 2-3 different angles) to find enough content to develop a meaningful blog.
Here's a good start if you are intrigued by the idea of having a blog - do a search at Google Blogs for your type of career and see what others are doing. It will give you good ideas and also let you know how much work is involved in getting blog together.
If you go through all those gates, here are some golden rules of career blogging. If you can't live to this code, move on and disregard trying to start a blog:
1. Be prepared to write at least once a week. If you can't commit to this, your career blog will look like an empty shell and probably be a negative to prospective employers.
2. Be prepared to struggle with writer's block. It doesn't always happen in 10 minutes.
3. You can use tongue in cheek humor to show your personality, but stay positive or instructional. No one wants to hire a negative blogger and suddenly expect they are going to be positive in the workplace.
4. Avoid TMI (Too Much Info) on your personal life. No one wants to hear you complaining about your significant other on your career-oriented blog.