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Professional Development for Military Veterans

Updated on December 2, 2015

What is a Blog?

A web log, or blog, is an online space for posting short articles or ideas that include text, photo, video, audio, and external links that allows readers to respond through comments. Blogs can cover any topic imaginable and can be for personal or professional use like any other social media tool. Most blog sites allow the writer of the blog or even a specific blog to be followed so that followers receive notification of new blog postings or comments (Bozarth, 2010).

This blog has been assembled to assist veterans who are just beginning to use social media tools (including blogs) for professional development and to help transition into the professional civilian workforce. This change can be very scary, especially for those of us who joined the military straight out of high school and spent more than a decade on active duty.


Blogging Basics - 4 C's of Blogging

Advantages and Disadvantages of Blogs

Advantages
Disadvantages
Free, easy to create and update, with simple tools for adding multimedia
Difficult to sustain
Can be created ahead of time and scheduled for upload to the web
Posts are longer than microblogs like Twitter
Metrics can be gathered about number of views or time/day viewed
Can be easy to become long-winded
Can be password protected and shared only with those that are given access
 
Can be set up to send an email when comments are made
 
(Bozarth, 2012)

Blogs as Training Tools

Blogs are not ideal as the only source of training; but due to their quick and easy nature, they can be used as a starting point for training on a myriad of topics. Blogs can also inspire new ideas and provide new perspectives (Shaw, 2011). Including blogs in your training plan can spark interest and encourage further research.

Professional Development Poll

Which topic are you more interested in learning more about?

See results
Packed Like Sardines in a KC135 (2009)
Packed Like Sardines in a KC135 (2009) | Source

Blogging Best Practices

1. Read a large variety of content that can provide a source of inspiration.

2. Don't be afraid to write. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

3. Be yourself; show your personality and write with empathy.

4. Learn to take the right criticism and learn from it.

(Eridon, 2013)

Blog Content and Reputation

Blog content is extremely important to any audience. The reader wants to know that the information provided in the blog is reliable and that the facts can be checked. For veterans going through the transition to civilian life, it is comforting to read content written by others who are in the same position or that have successfully navigated their transition. Many veterans are looking to these blogs for tips and advice when they have nowhere else to turn and inaccurate content could be devastating.

Likewise, the content of the blog and the comments and feedback given have an effect on the blog writer's reputation. If they provide accurate and updated information to their readers they will get a positive reputation and people will continue to read and share their posts. On the other hand, if they get a negative reputation, it can not only effect their blog but also their professional reputation off the web. It is extremely important for those that are writing a blog to maintain the blog, respond to comments and questions, and update information and links as needed.

Air Force Ball with my mom (2010)
Air Force Ball with my mom (2010) | Source

Blog Review

Blog
Frequency
Engagement
Blog Credibility
ATD - Kaiden
weekly additions
monthly newsletter, comments
professional
Hubpages - Brand
low, new blog
comments, polls
information is credible
Wordpress - Switch
several posts in 2012
share, comment
reliable
MilitaryOnlineColleges.org
monthly posts
share
professional
Vetsbridge.com
very often through Dec 2014
comment, share, subscribe
professional
A comprehensive review of the five blogs discussed in this blog.

References

Bozarth, J. (2010). Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for enhancing and extending learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Brand, T. J. (2015). Military to Civilian Careers Transition Guide. Retrieved from http://hubpages.com/business/Military-Veteran-Job-Search

Eridon, C. (2013). What the best business bloggers do (and you should too). Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blogging-best-practices-list

Kaiden, S. (2015). 3 Rules for Networking Success. What, Where, Why, Who, How, (and When) of Networking—Part I. Retrieved from https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Career-Development-Blog/2015/10/3-Rules-for-Networking-Success

Lizotte, E. (2015). Blog: MilitaryOnlineColleges.org. Retrieved from http://militaryonlinecolleges.org/blog

Pick, D., & Nagorny, L. (2012). Switch: A career transition blog for veterans by veterans. Retrieved from https://switchstarter.wordpress.com/

Shaw, J. (2011). Training blogs – Using the web to train the world. Retrieved from the Free Management Library: http://managementhelp.org/blogs/training-and-development/2011/06/22/training-blogs-using-the-web-to-train-the-world/

Wolpert, M. (2011, July 21). Blogging basics - 4 C's of blogging. [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nT1Jm5sVdI

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