The age of the private exhibitionist blog is over. Today, blogging has become the single most powerful platform on the internet for the individual, the professional, and the thought leader.

When I graduated from college in 2000, there were no blogs. I’d had email for only about two years by then. But even then, the principles that make blogging so powerful are still applied.

Our graduation keynote speech told the story. I went to Brown University, and if you know about Brown, then you know about its open curriculum. This meant for four years, I didn’t have to take science or math classes.

In fact, at Brown, as long as you fulfilled your concentration requirements, you could take anything you wanted. The school assumes that the student will choose classes they are truly interested in and therefore will work harder to succeed.

As you can imagine, this stance is still quite controversial in academic circles. That summer of 2000, sitting in my graduation gown, wondering if I’d been duped out of real education by not taking math classes, the dean said something I will always remember.

“There are only two skills you need to have to be successful in life,” he said. “The ability to think critically. And the ability and willingness to communicate your thoughts through effective writing.”

I believe, now that I’m older, that these two skills are ALL anyone needs to win in life. Furthermore, after speaking with many hiring managers, I believe that these two skills are what companies look for above and beyond anything else.

Your blog demonstrates your ability to think and your ability to write, and these abilities are important to your future boss. And if you’re going toe-to-toe with other job candidates, your blog can pole-vault you into the office chair of your choosing.

Starting a blog these days is easier than it ever was.

For setting up a WordPress blog, I think Laura Roeder’s training Zero to Blogging is the best out there.

If you want something simpler, there is Tumblr or Posterous, both platforms that take less than 5 minutes to set up.

In Seth Godin’s Linchpin, he talks about being indispensable to an organization. It’s so easy these days for companies to off-shore or automates jobs. If you aren’t investing real emotional energy and expressing your full self in the job, your position could be removed. But when someone is a thought leader, puts their heart into the results of the job, and otherwise shows that they are irreplaceable, that person wins in the end.

Your blog makes you irreplaceable. It shows you have something to say and the confidence to say it.

I don’t care if only your mother reads it for the first few months. Your blog is going to become your biggest career asset. Trust me!