Blogging as a Career Development Tool

Last Friday, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center hosted a “blog party” for undergraduate club members and MBA students interested in contributing to warsaw.sportsblog.com. There’s only so much of a “party” you can bring to the blogging world, but it was a really cool event, and I was glad I was able to help out somewhat. And I wanted to share the message that I gave to the folks in attendance the other day.

Whitney Wagoner, the center director, started the event with some wisdom as to the blog’s role in the long-term strategy of Warsaw. It can help with thought leadership and helping to establish the strengths of the program. And the three new blog editors — first-year MBAs Rob Cella, Nick Hudson, and Lauren Sokol — explained how to get started with the SportsBlog platform and some types of articles that individuals could contribute.

My role in the event: Give a little bit of inspiration for blogging and help with our goal to “demystify” the blogging process. Last year, I helped with Jeff Angus and Kurian Manavalan to edit the site. This year, I’m taking more of a backseat role as just a contributor because of my responsibilities as a Career Services graduate teaching fellow. But with my long history of blogging — I estimated I’ve contributed 2,000 posts to Flyer News, my WordPress site, my Tumblr site, WaitingForNextYear.com,¬†NylonCalculus.com, etc. — I had some additional perspective on the values of blogging.

Previously, I urged all young sports business professionals to blog. But within the context of the short talk I gave on Friday, here are my top three reasons why everyone should blog:

1) You’ll improve as a writer. When I was a freshman in high school, my history teacher said I was one of the worst writers in the class. That’s a very true story. And it really burned inside me. I was determined to just write and write and write in an effort to get better. And it’s certainly helped over the years with my communication skills in anything I’ve done. Many over the years have suggested that writing everyday about something, anything, can be a great way to practice.

In any job you’ll have in the future, you’ll need to have the ability to make a convincing argument to your colleagues and to your bosses. Effective communication skills are essential and a difference maker in today’s age of Internet slang, emojis and constant connectivity. If you can prove that you’re an experienced writer and communicator, you’ll have a leg up on any competitor during an interview process.

2) You’ll improve as a critical thinker. Typically, introverts desire time to sit back and reflect on their experiences. Extroverts seek interactivity and want to get things off their chest immediately. For either type of person, the process of writing about your feelings and working through the sentences can be a very powerful internal tool.

In terms of professional development, this can take the form of writing more frequently about the things you’re passionate about. For business majors, whether you want to work in social media, finance, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, or anything, you can’t merely just be a passive fan of that subject. You should practice your pitch at rationalizing why you want to work in that industry and what intrigues you about it.

3) You’ll have more self-confidence. For me, blogging has been¬†instrumental in my career. A February blog post that I wrote about what I wanted to do in the sports business industry made its way into the hands of the Charlotte Hornets business office. A few weeks later, they emailed me about an internship opportunity and invited me to apply. I ended up accepting the offer and had a blast in Charlotte this past summer.

Blogging is a tremendous personal branding tool. It’s a great way to get your name out there and improve your digital footprint. Recently, the Warsaw Center brought in Dr. Marc Williams as a guest speaker. His main line was “It’s not about who you know, but who knows you.” Blogging will enable you to tell your story and your passions more effectively, so that others will be able to serve as your career advocates.

To summarize, anyone can blog. You’re only going to improve as a writer and a thinker if you commit to writing (and reading) every single day. Learn about what you enjoy from other writers and see how you can incorporate that into your work. Link generously back to other blog posts or articles that you enjoyed. And if you’re kind to others with your blogging activity, then you’ll have created a brand new platform for advancing your career into the future.

Written by Jacob Rosen

Jacob Rosen is a second-year MBA student in the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His goal is to work in business or sponsorship analytics for a professional sports team. Jacob interned in business analytics for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets this past summer. He can be followed on Twitter @WFNYJacob.