Just my Thoughts

How Does Life Experience Translate into Job Skills?

I have been a freelancer for over 13 years now. After leaving a good job for what I thought, and was sold in the interview, was a better job with more flexibility, my family came first and I turned to freelancing to make a living. Sometimes, I miss the constant weekday interaction of a go to the workplace job. To that end, I have selectively applied for positions in areas that I have experience.

I just finished applying online in a new way. It was like the initial process was a pre-interview. It basically asked yes or no questions surround the qualifications needed for the position in the online ad. One item, the only question I answered no to, had been listed as a “should” in the qualifications. In my mind, that does not mean I HAVE to have that item. It means it would be good if I do but not a necessity. Worse than that, if I thought about it, I could cobble together, from actual jobs, the experience that item called for or could I have used life experience.

The particular skill in question was agency (as in advertising) or brand experience. I worked in advertising for a while but not in the agency, on the side of selling radio ads to agencies. This was not work I enjoyed and, consequently, I put it out of my mind. But, have I not been building a brand here on my blog since 2006? Isn’t what I do daily, weekly, monthly brand building?

Have you ever tried to utilize your personal blog as an experiential item when applying for a position? If so, did that work? If you do not have a blog but are an employer, would you accept such experience?

4 thoughts on “How Does Life Experience Translate into Job Skills?

  1. Hi Nicki! I really liked your post today. I view my blog as a small business. I am producing a product (content); I am marketing my product; and interacting with my “customers.” I conduct business development activities with other organizations to promote their brands (like you do with #runchat and the Blue Ridge Marathon).

    As far as would an employer accept this, it depends on the employer and how you position it on your resume/application. You may have to educate the employer on why this should be considered a business. I recommend positioning yourself as the “author” of your blog, rather than a “blogger.”

    Employers are always interested in “what can you do for me.” So, you’ll want to quantify what you’ve accomplished with your blog. You’ve developed an email following of over 2,000 readers – that’s very significant. What kind of results have you produced for the organizations with whom you partner? Etc.

    Despite this, some people have a preformed opinion that blogs are silly (they are not likely blog readers). If that is the case, they may not really accept a blog as experience due to their personal bias.

    In my view, it all depends on how you present yourself as the author of a blog/owner of a small business. If you confidently present it as a business, and explain to them why it is a business, then your chances of success are greater. If you are self-deprecating, and say that you “just have a little blog on the side,” then you will be less successful with it.

    Good luck! Keep us posted!

    1. Wendy – By reading your comments, I realize I was the one who limited myself in this particular case, not the potential employer. I should have been looking, prior to the screening application, at my life experience, at my blog from a different perspective. Thank you!

  2. As long as you’ve never bad-mouthed previous employers, I think a personal blog (with a .com or .net) is find to put as experience. It’s part of who you are. Talking about my blog has been key in my last few interviews.

  3. I have never used my blog for work, I teach elementary school, but I would like to get other work opportunities through my blog.
    I agree with David as long as you are positive on you blog, especially about jobs, I don’t see why it couldn’t be a great example.

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