By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie
Two years ago, I started this blog and I’ve now used the skills and experience gained from running this blog to secure two jobs. In this article, I’m going to outline how I’ve used my blog to get a job that is not in the healthcare/ chronic illness sector.
When I first joined the chronic illness community, I found that many people were self-employed. At first, I thought, how great for them! After a while (through my unsuccessful job hunts), I realised they were self-employed out of necessity rather than by choice. Securing employment that doesn’t compromise your health is difficult and I will expand on this topic in later blog posts in this series.
Why I Chose Not to go freelance/ self-employed
My background is in Chemistry and Environmental Science. If you’ve been following my journey for a while, then you’ll know that I developed my long-term illness part-way through my first Master’s degree. Even though I currently cannot do lab-work, I still want to work in the environmental sector. There are many desk-based roles that I am able to do such as Government Policy Advisor, Environmental Assistant, Environmental Consultant and more! Currently, I work as a Community Liaison for a large UK company where my role is centred around restoring green spaces and the social aspects of sustainable development such as reducing poverty.
Read my full POTS journey here
I have a set career pathway in mind for myself that I am confident that I will achieve. Going freelance or being self-employed at this time will not serve my personal career goals. However, I understand why many people with chronic illness or disability choose this career pathway. Additionally, having a permanent job comes with many perks such as a pension scheme, career progression and most importantly, a set monthly income.
I undertook freelance work when I was a student as I did not need a set monthly income (I already had a set income in the form of my student loan) and found that quite often I was working for below minimum wage. At that time, I did not mind as I needed the work for my portfolio. However, I large proportion of my time was taken up by searching for opportunities, pitching and being ghosted by organisations which put me off from pursuing this as a career option.
If you are interested in using your blog to go freelance/ self-employed, check out The Bloglancer for tips on pitching, freelancing and working for yourself.
Using my Blog experience in Job applications and interviews
Job applications and interviews are centred around the skills that you currently have and your achievements from previous jobs. There are many skills that you can showcase and develop through your blog such as digital marketing, copywriting, teamwork and initiative.
Check out these top application tips from Faye at Bear Hugs here
My blog is centred around chronic illness/ disability lifestyle which is not the sector that I work in. The skills that I developed through my blog were more important during the interview that the topic of the content. It is important to note here that both jobs that I secured using my blog experience involved content creation and social media management.
Job Application Example:
“As a Chronic Illness and Disability Blogger, I work with a wide variety of people who live within and outside of the UK. Through my blog, I have been able to connect people who live around the world through their shared experience of living with a chronic illness or disability. To do this, I invite people to write guest blog posts for my blog and feature them on my social media which has allowed me to build a platform of diverse voices with over 3,000 followers to date.”
This is taken directly from the successful application I submitted for my current job. This was written to meet the job specification of ‘working with and connecting people with an inspirational communication style’.
The importance of Collaborative Work
All jobs require you to have experience of team working or working with stakeholders. Blogging by yourself will not help you to secure a job. Brand deals and leading collaborative projects through your blog are great achievements to showcase on your application form or during an interview.
Check out my Guide to Living with POTS here
During the interview for my most recent job, I was able to talk about my POTS eBook, which was a collaborative project with several other people who live with POTS. As this was a project that I designed and coordinated myself, it ticked a lot of boxes and meant that I scored highly during the interview. Brand deals including gifted posts and articles are also a great way to show that you are business-minded and have experience of communicating professionally.
Tailoring your blog to the job that you want
Recently, I have changed the topics that I blog about. I no longer write personal posts and have swapped to writing more generally about chronic illness and disability. I have also started writing about sustainable development issues and eco-ableism which are topics that I want to tackle during my career. This means that I will be able to share posts from my blog during the application process.
Check out my tips for starting a sustainable handmade business here
Something that I did before starting my job hunt was to look at the person specification for jobs that I wanted. I then used my blog to develop the skills or experience that I needed to secure that job. There were some areas where my skills were lacking including admin and teamworking. I then used my blog to create opportunities for myself to develop these skills. I led collaborative projects to improve my teamworking skills and started my letter writing service to improve my admin skills. In the future, I will be using my blog to host events and webinars as I need this experience for the next stage in my career plan.
Your blog is 100% you, so don’t be afraid to use it to advance your career! Be proud of the content that you create and use your blog to showcase your skills and develop new ones. You can use your blog to get a job in a number of sectors if you are creative enough!
Have you used your blog to get a job? Let me know in the comments!
The number of followers/ blog views you have is irrelevant, quite often employers just need someone with social media experience. You don’t need to share your content during the interview unless you want to! Even if digital content creation/ social media isn’t the job that you want to be in for life, securing one of these roles at a large company will get your ‘foot in the door’. This will allow for networking opportunities and career advancement to other roles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did you disclose your disability during the interview process?
Personally, I never discuss my illnesses or disability requirements during the interview process. I only disclose at the application stage in case I require any accommodations. I never disclose my actual illness, I just check ‘yes‘ to the ‘Do you have a disability?’ question. Even if you are offered an interview as part of the ‘Guaranteed Interview Scheme‘, the interview panel should not be aware of your disability status. If they start asking questions about your disability, then you should just walk out of the room. Companies who are pre-occupied by your disability are not supportive places to work. If they are truly interested in hiring you, then your disability status should not matter.
What is the best way to start a blog?
I started out with a free WordPress.com account and grew my following from there. If you are tight on funds and want to find out if blogging is for you, then a free platform is the best way to go. You can migrate your blog to self-hosted when you are ready. With regards to content, always write about the things that you are interested in. Don’t just write about things that are popular! Set up at least one social channel to go with the blog that is public to help you promote posts as well.
How do I get involved/ lead collaborative projects?
Social media is the best way to find other bloggers in your niche. I joined The Chronic Illness Bloggers Network to connect with other bloggers. I also do callouts on my socials whenever I am looking to work with others on a project such as my eBooks or digital magazine. With regards to topics for collaborative projects, it’s really up to you and what you are interested in. You can also tailor your projects to match your job aspirations and use them as networking opportunities to connect with people that you want to work with in the future.
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