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Blogging As an Online Student - How It Can Help (Or Hurt) Your Career

Apr 25, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 11 Comments

Blogging is a time-consuming activity. There are also significant pitfalls, particularly if you write on a controversial topic or have a particularly astringent tone. Blogging can be worth it to students nearing graduation, however—if you can manage your time well. There are many benefits to blogging that could lead to a job when you graduate. Here are just a few of the positive and negative aspects of blogging for online students.

Negatives

Blogging is time-consuming

There’s no question that blogging can take up a lot of your time. It’s not just writing a post every day that’s time-consuming. It’s responding to reader comments, checking your statistics, fiddling with your template or blogging platform, and cruising other blogs to leave comments and drum up traffic. Blogging can become a major task if you let it—and spending all that time on your blog could interfere with your grades.

Some blogging could reflect badly on you

Depending on how you write and manage your blog, keeping a blog can hurt you. If you write posts with a negative bent, rant against your school, certain classes or professors, or are rude to people who come to comment, you might get traffic—the Internet loves controversy. But it could also give you a bad reputation at your school—among students and professors alike.

Blogging could get you expelled

It’s rare—although not unheard of—for students to be expelled for their blogs. You’d have to write something really virulent—attacking the school, a particular professor or student, or a course or department. But some writers thrive on the controversy their blogs create—and leave themselves open for harsh consequences.

Positives

Male Blogger

If you’re going to blog as an online
student, do it right.

You start a positive online record—before you graduate

If you keep your blog professional and focused on your work interests, writing a blog could help you enormously in your post-graduate job search. One of the things it can do is help you establish a positive online reputation, counteracting anything about you that you wouldn’t want employers to know about—that comes up in a Google search.

You demonstrate your enthusiasm for an area

Most employers believe that post-graduate job applicants  are flighty. As a new graduate, it’s expected that you’ll want to try out many different jobs and possibly industries before “settling.” However, employers love dependable employees with a demonstrated interest in their field—it makes them look less likely to stray. Your blog can demonstrate a passion for the area you’re applying for work in. Then again, if you’re applying to jobs outside your blog topic, it could be a red flag to employers—indicating your interests and passions lie elsewhere.

You make connections

Blogging can help you make strong connections that could lead to a job someday. Other bloggers can become colleagues whom you correspond with—after you’ve built up a reputation in the blogosphere. In addition, you never know who’s reading and commenting on your blog. Someone in a position to hire could be impressed with your knowledge, passion and drive—and offer you a job.

You demonstrate good writing ability

If there’s one skill many employers agree recent graduates lack, it’s strong writing ability. The ability to communicate clearly in writing is valuable in almost every job—and bad writing doesn’t just reflect badly on you. It also reflects badly on the company if you’re writing as their representative. If you can show in your blog that you’re a strong writer, it will help you get hired when you’re done with class.

Of course, this could also work against you—if you’re not a good writer. Self-published blogs have no editing department, no Spell-Check program, and no proofreaders. You’ll need to be sure you write grammatically. Your more educated audience will notice—and bad writing won’t reflect well on you either in the classroom or in the job market. In addition, blogs have no fact-checkers—so you’ll have to make sure you’re saying things that are true. If you don’t, your audience will call you out—and how you handle the situation could make a big difference in how your audience perceives you.

Blogging can definitely help you get a job after graduation—if you write well and stick to a topic your employers will find interesting. However, blogging can also get you in trouble. It can take time away from studying; it can damage your online reputation; and it can even get you expelled in the most extreme cases. If you’re going to blog as an online student, do it right. Keep it positive and focused according to your interests; show off your strong writing ability; and avoid topics that are too offensive or controversial. If you do, your blog can serve as a strong example of your positive qualities when potential employers search online for information about you. And it’s more likely to help than hurt you—especially in the job market.

Comments:

steph (sweeper on FB) Over a year ago

I think it is important to note, as a plus or negative, that you can never really completely erase a blog! Between caches, copy/paste, etc. your writing, pictures, etc. are irrevocable - which is a difficult thing for any person, let alone a young college student, to process and handle.

Meg Bertapelle Over a year ago

I think this list of pros/cons is also applicable in the workplace, not just as a student. Thanks for the tips :)

Guest Over a year ago

Interesting perspective on blogging as a student. I do think the positives outweigh the negatives, as long as the student makes good judgments about the topics chosen.

bargainsmarts Over a year ago

I think your field of choice matters a great deal here. A journalism student might be able to use any blogging as a highlight of their writing style and ability to get a point made. This could be effective even if the information is controversial. Whereas someone entering a less relaxed field such as nursing might need to be more aware of the "paper trail" because the moral issues might be more relevant to future employers.

Danielle B. Over a year ago

Wow I never thought there could be negatives to writing a blog or that you could get in trouble with your school. sure it can be a time sucker if you fail at time management but i really never thought of it like that. thanks for the article!

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Stefmx Over a year ago

Really interesting post ! I agree with that. The most difficult is the frequency. You have to publish once à week or more to federate à community.

Elizabeth Over a year ago

I wish I would have thought about blogging as a college student, but at the same time, it probably would have been a distraction for my studies! Plus, it takes a lot of time to get to the point of actually making some money off of blogs-but something to think about for those students who are good writers and passionate about what they're blogging about! :) Thanks for the article!

Carole Over a year ago

Nice to see a balanced approach to this topic, rather than one that extols the benefits without acknowledging the downside.

Michelle S Over a year ago

I like this article as it gets to the point about the pros-cons of blogging and how it can help/hurt you. It can help you to release frustration about a situation that fellow students go through, perhaps about a same professor, etc., but it can harm them if the information falls into the wrong hands . It's good to practice your writing skills and captivate attention, but you have to be in it for the "right" kind of attention.

I would highly recommend blogging as a way to know yourself, and hence to establish an authentic online presence. When you blog, you can't help but write from the heart, and anyone who reads what you wrote has a chance to know the real you. If a prospective employer reads your blog, you know three things - that they are up-to-date enough to value blogs, they have had a glimpse of the real you, and they are interested. Everyone wins.

kimt Over a year ago

I wish I had written a blog in school, I think it would be a great thing to put on a resume. I do think care would need to be taken not to insult the school or your teachers.

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