Start Your Week Off Write: How Applying for a Job Taught Me About Blogging

image, U.S. National Archives

I was a bit of a slacker last week as far as blogging is concerned. I offer apologies for missing two scheduled posts. Since my writing career so far has not materialized my lottery winner-sized salary, current economic circumstances require me to get a paying job. This has been cutting into my daydreaming writing. How dare real life horn in on my writing time? But I do enjoy a roof over my head and food in my belly, so a day job is priority at the moment.

I had an interesting experience on one job-hunting foray. The classified ad looked promising enough: (I am not listing it verbatim for obvious reasons but it is very close.)

Receptionist/vet assistant looking for dependable person for vet hospital. Computer knowledge a plus. Apply in person, no phone calls

I met the qualifications so I went to apply. When I walked into the office and informed them I was there about the job, I was given an application to fill out, no questions asked. I dutifully filled it out and offered my resume as well. The gatekeeper behind the desk scanned my resume and asked “What veterinary experience do you have?” I smiled and said, ‘None’. Her demeanor made a 180 degree turn. “Do you have ANY medical experience?” She didn’t try to hide her annoyance. “No m’aam” I replied, as my hope for a job deflated. She proceeded to give me a five-minute lecture about how I needed certification in this office’s specialty that takes three years to obtain, know very specific surgical procedures and be able to discuss medical terminology with the customers. “This is much more than just a receptionist job. You need to have years of experience doing this sort of thing.” Then she plastered on a smile and added “We’ll keep your application on file in case anything comes up.”

If the classified ad in my situation had been written listing the specific skills needed, it would have easily eliminated many possible candidates, myself included, before they got in the door. A second qualifier would have been in place with a contact number. By the office manager’s response to me, she had given this speech several times that day. With a clearly worded ad her time as well as the time of many job seekers would not have been wasted.

How does this relate to blogging?

When you write a blog post have these points in mind when writing so your readers aren’t wasting their time trying to figure out what they are going to get out of your post.

  • Have a clear goal in mind – What are you trying to say? State what your goal is, either in the headline or at the beginning of the post.
  • Assume your reader is not an insider or expert on your subject – Cover the bases so they can understand what you are talking about without getting too wordy or talking over readers’ heads.
  • Be concise – Say it in as clear a way as possible – think bullet points.
  • Don’t assume people can read your mind – Sometimes as writers we have such a vivid picture in our minds of what we want to write, we think everyone else can see it, too. They can’t. Be thorough.
  • Be real – Readers want to connect with you and your writing and can spot insincerity and fakery. “We’ll keep your application on file in case anything comes up.”
  • Have a conduit for questions and clarification – Make commenting on a post as easy as possible. Have an email address on your blog in an easy-to-find place. Follow up when people comment or have questions – you should be your biggest commenter.
  • Don’t take things personally – When people don’t agree with your point of view or make snarky comments have confidence in your own ability. A thick skin will ward off many a pity party.

On the job front I’m hopeful I will find the right fit. But I learned a good lesson about communicating effectively. You can find the positives in any experience if you look for them. Follow these steps when blogging and your readers will have a positive experience. When they don’t feel like they are wasting their time, they will come back for more.

Question: What’s the most unusual job you ever had/applied for?

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9 thoughts on “Start Your Week Off Write: How Applying for a Job Taught Me About Blogging

  1. Sara Grambusch

    This is really good advice. I find blogging is a useful experience for all sorts of things I never considered.

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Thanks, Sara! More and more I find myself thinking in analogies when it comes to blogging and writing. It’s also helped me keep an open mind about what the universe can teach me at any given minute. Plus I get to meet all kinds of cool people ;)

      Reply
  2. sllynn

    I would be tempted to critique their job listing in red pen and then send it back to them, lol! They could have saved themselves a lot of time and hassle if they had listed out the experience required.

    Good advice all around. Hope the job search goes swimmingly! :)

    Reply
  3. kristin nador Post author

    I was definitely a little peeved after the experience but the more I thought about it, the more I felt sorry for that office manager. She was going to have to do a lot of work and get no return on her effort. Whoever was in charge of writing the ad didn’t have their head in the game at the time. I’m sure they’ll have to place another one to get the kind of candidate they want. I’ll take a red pen to the next job I apply for just in case LOL

    Reply
  4. Missy Baker

    Hey, Kristin. Loved your blog this week. Not only will the office manager go through the same speech several times but she probably will not have the appropriate candidate fill out an application because of the way her ad is worded. Your experience is truly why I believe nothing is a coincidence, everything has a reason. Even though it was a bad experience for you, you turned it into something useful. Furthermore, I get to benefit from your experience and the spin you put to it. Thank you for sharing. Good luck with the job hunting.

    Reply
  5. kristin nador Post author

    Thanks Missy for stopping by and the encouraging words! Sometimes it’s hard to find the positive in an experience, but allowing the negative to overtake your attitude is never helpful to anyone. After many years as a staunch pessimist, I am slowly recovering, one day at a time. :)

    Reply
  6. Kate MacNicol

    It’s great you turned this around into a learning experience, often it’s very difficult to do and look how many people here on your blog are benefiting.
    I sometimes feel that I haven’t boiled posts down to the nitty gritty. Thanks for the good tips on how to do it better.

    Reply
  7. kristin nador Post author

    You’re welcome, Kate! I have the same issue with getting posts down to their basics. What am I trying to say? Sometimes I enjoy telling a story for the story’s sake. My hubby particularly gets the brunt of my meandering tales. Words are fun and the more the better, right? :) Not necessarily, so I’m working on it. Thanks for stopping by.

    Reply
  8. Christy Farmer

    I’m sorry that you didn’t get the job Kristin, but Kudos to you for remaining graceful during the gatekeeper’s comments and then treating it as a learning experience. (Love the red pen comments above too!) Great post! :-)

    Reply

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