In a social-media world where everyone’s thoughts can easily be expressed in 140 characters, you may think it’s useless to spend time maintaining a blog. Yet blogging, as long as you do it right, is an extremely important tool. Here’s how you can use your blog to build your brand and get hired.

Make It Your Platform

Use your blog to take a stand, explain your position, and develop your “voice.” You’re not required to get controversial in a blog to gain attention, but you can prove that you’re well-versed in diplomacy and community-building through the discussions in your comments box. The comments box in a blog is a great place to network; with colleagues, others in your field, and potential employers.

Make It Your Portfolio

Think of it as a personal, portable art gallery or portfolio. Your photographs or posts can be cataloged in any way you wish, and you can carry your entire portfolio to interviews. Use categories, tags, and labels to sort the material on your blog and include links to your social media profiles.

Get Engaged

Connect with your readers by starting conversations in blog posts– ask questions of your readers or solicit their opinions on different topics. Comments boxes are excellent venues for refining your position, further explaining ideas that are tangential to the main idea of a post, and debating points, just be careful about how you handle sensitive subjects. Maintain conversations by replying to comments, and continuing the discussion on Twitter, potentially pulling a whole new audience.

Take a Stand

There’s nothing wrong with having a strong opinion. In fact, this can be an asset in many professions. Future employers or clients will see in your blog that you know how to back up your opinions with facts and that you can effectively persuade others to share those opinions. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, but be ready to back it up with facts and figures.

Be Professional

Your blog is not the place to display photos of yourself in compromising situations. It’s as crucial a part of your resume as your list of previous jobs. You can use social media to control your personal profile if you pay attention to what you post and to what’s posted about you. Be committed, be fascinating, be passionate—but be professional.

Practice! The more you write, the more your “voice” will develop. This voice will enable you to build up a community of readers whose responses will help to shape the direction and tone of future posts. Whether you’re showcasing your writing, photography, or anything else, practice is the only way to improve.

Rinse and Repeat. A blog and the community surrounding it cannot be built overnight. It takes commitment on your part to keep the blog going, supplying it with fresh content and visuals, making sure outbound links stay current, and paying attention to comments.

A blog is a permanent display of your skills, your technical knowledge, and your courage. It’s also a tangible example that you can commit to building a project over time. It’s an ever-changing business card that grows with you, showing your talent and passion.

Amelia Hadfield is a recent university graduate and freelance writer, currently working with UK promotional gifts distributor Ideasbynet on their personal branding series. This resource helps guide job seekers through the ins and outs of developing an online personal brand.