Looking for a cleared career?  Be a writer in the process

If you’re browsing for contacts and building your professional network online as part of your search for a cleared career, you may want to try more than reading.  Sharing your own perspectives and experiences in a published article can serve as a powerful tool to boost your online presence from cleared job candidate to thought leader.

You don’t have to be a novelist or even a great writer.  The goal is to use the forum to interact with others, demonstrate your knowledge and engage more readers than those in your own network.

Recruiters and hiring managers spend huge amounts of time looking for online profiles that match the positions they’re trying to fill.  If they come up with a few dozen resumes for any given job, they have to pare that list down to a reasonable number with the best chance of filling the bill.  This is where your professional posts and thought leadership can put you at the top of the resume pile.

Some things to consider when sharing posts with your byline:

Write what you know

What expertise do you have regarding your background that might be helpful for recruiters to know about you?  This opens up your specific knowledge way beyond the resume.  It makes your knowledge real.   Consider starting with an anecdote about a particular job experience during your military service.  Or a particular experience during your search for a cleared job.  Use this paragraph to explain why you are sharing the story and how it demonstrates your abilities and responses.  Close the article with a paragraph or two that explains why this is information is important to know and how it can serve others.

Present a spin on a current topic

Did you read an article or see a news story that prompted an opinion?  Start a short article about it that provides another viewpoint.  First, credit the news source accurately.  Then recap briefly, what the story involved for those readers who might not be aware of it.  Finally, put your own spin on it.  This highlights your ability to see the big picture.  It also provides readers with another angle or new insights regarding why the story is important and the specific take-aways you’re recommending.  In journalism, this is called commentary.  When you’re looking for a job, it is thought leadership.

Who is your audience? Talk to those guys

If your field is IT, what are some current trends – and can you add your own thoughts to those trends?  What are others in your field saying, and do you agree or disagree?  Can you speak to the value of a security clearance in a way that is not generally presented?  Putting your own spin in a relevant article establishes you as a thinker and an expert in your field.

If you do plan to publish, here are a few more tips:

  • Use key words that pop up in searches and weave them throughout the article. Don’t overdo it.  If your story is 400 words, use your key words at least 4 times.
  • Edit the article. No misspelled words, no typos.
  • Use short sentences. Web readers tend to scan rather than read word for word. Keep your articles concise and to the point. Ramblings lose readers.
  • Consider the structure. If bulleted points or lists make sense, use them.  Readers like to think they are coming away from a story with information that’s easy to take in and easy to remember.
  • Use a catchy title. Be provocative enough that the reader just has to look at the story.

Writing leads to better speaking abilities.  It also brands the writer as someone with something to contribute.  These are both assets in the job search.

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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: Tranette@Ledfordllc.com.