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Blogs: an effective job-hunting tool?

Reviews are mixed as to whether they give job seekers an edge.

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Tech pioneer: David Atkins, at home with his family in Westwood, Mass., hopes his blog will help him find a full-time job in the technology sector. His efforts have already led to a freelance gig.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff

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For two years David Atkins has been blogging about blending work and life. So when he learned that his job as a technology director was ending Dec. 31, he turned to his blog as a path to employment.

Under the heading "My job search begins," he wrote: "I need your help to find a new job." He outlined two areas of interest – one as a start-up technology leader, the other as a strategic consultant – and summarized his qualifications.

"Blogging and social media are the principal means I am using to find work," says Mr. Atkins, of Westwood, Mass. "I was already a blogger, but I have ramped up my efforts dramatically in a nonstop effort to brand, promote, and network myself."

Atkins's high-tech quest puts him among the growing ranks of job seekers who are going beyond traditional methods – answering classified ads, sending out a blizzard of paper résumés – to make connections in new ways. In a sign of changing times, 40 percent of respondents to the 2008 Spherion Emerging Workforce Study say they use online methods in their job search.

"In today's job market, you really have to do things that differentiate yourself from others," says Scott Testa, professor of marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "Having a blog allows you to communicate to the world your insight and your knowledge." Those who write about subjects related to their occupation are more likely to secure positions, he adds. Niche blogs in law, medicine, and marketing are especially popular.

Although Atkins has not yet found a full-time position, his blog has already yielded fruit. When he responded to a freelance job posting, the company was familiar with his local blogs on a town website. It hired him to do a project immediately. "I'm not only looking for a job, I am working to build consulting revenue too," he says.

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