Employee Storytelling Recruitment Marketing

[15 Pro Tips] How to Create an Engaging Careers Blog

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

UPMC has created an award-winning careers blog that attracts tens of thousands of candidates each year. Hear their 15 lessons learned, do’s and don’ts and pro tips for building an engaging careers blog strategy, whether you’re starting from scratch or taking your careers blog to the next level!

[15 Pro Tips] How to Create an Engaging Careers Blog
5 (100%) 5 votes

Telling employee stories is one of the most effective ways to attract and recruit talent to your employer brand. Stories that feature the people who work at your company give candidates an inside view into your culture, values and the employee experience they could have. But where do these stories live? A careers blog, of course!

UPMC’s Careers Blog is one of the best examples around. As the first place winner in the 2022 Rally Awards, the UPMC Careers Blog attracts tens of thousands of candidates each year and helps job seekers envision their next career as a “Life Changer” within the UPMC organization and the communities they serve. 

UPMC, a $24 billion healthcare provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh, has over 92,000 employees across 40 hospitals, and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Western Maryland, and in several countries around the globe.

With the challenge of recruiting thousands of new employees each year, the UPMC Careers Blog is a key part of their Recruitment Marketing strategy. Each employee story features a team member’s career journey, why they chose their field and what they like most about where they work. Ultimately, the goal is to help candidates see that UPMC is full of people just like them: parents and friends, leaders and innovators, dreamers and go-getters.

Creating and managing the UPMC Careers Blog is a team effort of the HR Innovation & Experience team at UPMC. After winning a 2022 Rally Award, they contributed a blog post for the Rally Recruitment Marketing community, sharing their content strategy and examples, as well as their approach to careers blog design.

The blog post was so popular that we invited the UPMC team to present their award-winning strategy at our RallyFwd Virtual Conference last December. Our 3 expert panelists were:

Kristin Andreassi, Experience Consultant
Kristin Andreassi

Bethany Thiede, Sr. Experience Consultant
Bethany Thiede

Grace Leuenberger, Visual Designer
Grace Leuenberger

In this blog post, Kristin, Bethany and Grace share 15 lessons learned, do’s and don’ts and pro tips for building an engaging careers blog. You’ll be ready to create an effective careers blog strategy, whether you’re starting from scratch or taking your careers blog to the next level!

Rally Note: To watch UPMC’s presentation at RallyFwd, and get even more pro tips and best-practice strategies, watch December’s RallyFwd Virtual Conference On Demand

 

The role of a careers blog in Recruitment Marketing strategy

One of the most important lessons that the UPMC team learned is the role that a careers blog can and can’t play in a Recruitment Marketing strategy.

Here’s what a careers blog can do for you:

1. Your careers blog can serve as an expansion of your existing content. If you publish an employee testimonial on social media, you can use your careers blog to tell a longer story in the form of a Q&A or a “day in the life” feature.

2. Your careers blog can be used as a workaround when you face tech limitations with your careers website. The UPMC Careers Blog is on a platform that’s separate from their careers website. This allows the UPMC team to quickly stand up landing pages to support new Recruitment Marketing campaigns, while maintaining freedom when it comes to creative design and messaging.

For example, last September, the team supported a hiring initiative at the UPMC Schools of Nursing with a landing page that linked to a lead generation form. In 2 months, they captured over 1,000 leads to help their recruitment partners not only meet but surpass their Spring enrollment goals.

3. Your careers blog can be used to experiment. As a live site, it can be updated at any time. Feel free to experiment with your employer brand’s visuals and colors, and test and optimize different design elements and media types.

Of course, it’s important to manage expectations for a careers blog and recognize what it can’t do for you: 

4. Your careers blog can’t be used effectively without a sharing strategy. Don’t expect that publishing a piece of content on your blog will magically generate tons of candidate traffic and application conversions. Knowing this, the UPMC team activates their careers blog on their social media channels. They share links to new blog posts directly with the employees that they’re featuring, as well as with their leaders and departments, inviting everyone to share the posts as well.

5. Your careers blog shouldn’t be designed to please all of your internal stakeholders. As you build out your careers blog, expect someone to pitch you with an idea or a story that may not align with the vision or the strategy that you have for your careers blog. The UPMC team encourages you to trust yourself as the expert!

“Remember the saying: ‘You can’t please everybody.’ That’s the case with your careers blog too. Trust yourself to make the call on what will and won’t be effective on your platform. But always try to work with your colleagues to reach a compromise that both aligns with your strategy, but helps to meet their needs as well.”
—Kristin Andreassi, UPMC

 

6. Most importantly, your careers blog cannot fill the roles for you. Think of a careers blog as an ingredient in the recruitment recipe. Without other ingredients like proper sourcing, recruiter outreach and candidate engagement, the recipe falls flat. Instead, leverage your careers blog as part of a complete Recruitment Marketing strategy designed to attract talent and convert candidates into hires.

Employee storytelling is the heart of an effective careers blog

Having run the UPMC Careers Blog for several years now, the HR Innovation & Experience team has learned one key point: An engaging employee storytelling strategy is at the heart of an effective careers blog. After writing and publishing many, many employee stories, the UPMC team has developed several pro tips for engaging storytelling.

7. Stay curious and think like a journalist as you’re telling your blog stories. At UPMC, they approach their work by investigating the UPMC experience and uncovering what employees are talking about every day, what impacts their work, what their colleagues are like and what they like about their job.

Grace shares, “We like to partner with our colleagues who are familiar with these untold and curious stories about our employees, and we like to introduce current employees and prospective employees to get to know their colleagues in a new way, near and far to where they work.”

“We like to partner with our colleagues who are familiar with these untold and curious stories about our employees, and we like to introduce current employees and prospective employees to get to know their colleagues in a new way, near and far to where they work.”
Grace Leuenberger, UPMC

8. The most engaging stories will inform and inspire. Sometimes candidates will visit a careers blog to get tangible information about a career path that they’re interested in pursuing, a program that they want to apply for or learn other aspects about working at UPMC. But more than simply an information source, a careers blog can also be inspiring. Stories can be written to evoke emotions about the employees’ to really bring their experience to life and make the employee and their experience relatable.

9. Engaging storytelling leads with authenticity. The UPMC team tries to get beyond surface-level conversations and tell personal stories where employees share their background, what matters to them, challenges they’ve faced, and other aspects that give their story a very human feel. To create authenticity, the blog posts also incorporate quotes and self-submitted photos.

10. Engaging storytelling fulfills and refreshes the people who read the stories. Grace recommends that you ask these questions when you’re creating a blog post: Would I read this? Would I like to share this? Would I be a champion of this? And would other people who read this post become a champion of it too?

A great example of this was a UMPC blog post about an employee named Sarah who shared personal stories as she described what “Life Changing” means to her. After reading the post, Sarah said it really made her feel special and empowered!

To the UPMC team, this was an awesome accomplishment, knowing that their blog post not only helped meet business objectives, it also helped an employee feel connected to the organization and to her work.

The do’s and don’ts to make your careers blog successful

Finally, the UPMC team has developed a list of do’s and don’ts when building your careers blog.

11. Do spread the word. Even though your blog content probably lives in one specific place, it can actually have a much greater impact than on just that one platform. The UPMC team shares each blog post on social media as well as celebrates the stories internally on channels like Slack, Yammer and Teams.

Other ways that you can share your blog content includes embedding a link to your careers blog in your email signature, linking to the blog on flyers and even direct messaging the blog link to interested candidates.

“Definitely, don’t be afraid to get creative and share your careers blog content in new places where you haven’t seen it shared before, and open your mind to the impact that it could have on your candidates and your own employees.”
—Bethany Thiede, UPMC

 

12. Do foster relationships throughout your company. Building strategic relationships and partnerships across the organization has been vital to giving the UPMC team insight into where their work can have the most impact. It’s also opened doors for them to meet people and tell stories that they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.

13. Do be connected and curious. (There’s that curious word again!) Your knowledge of your company can unlock amazing stories. By telling these stories, you’re bringing important insights to candidates who are making a big career decision, while you’re also attracting talent who align with your company’s values.

Now, for the don’ts:

14. Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. It is true that an active blog is a valuable Recruitment Marketing tool, but aim for quality over quantity. Your candidates and your readers will notice if you’re just pumping out content that doesn’t resonate and doesn’t feel true to the employee experience.

Bethany says that creating content just because you feel like you have to is a fast road to burnout. By allowing yourself to tell quality, meaningful stories that you’re personally invested in, you will be more refreshed and genuine in your interactions and in your writing. And the blog posts that you create will shine because of it.

15. Most importantly, don’t get discouraged by the challenges. When you hit a snag in design or development, or even in a lack of support from the people around you, just keep going! The truth is that you will hit roadblocks. Ask for help from other team members, reach out to others in the Rally Recruitment Marketing community (Note: Rally has a Facebook group), watch tutorials on YouTube, just keep figuring it out and digging in.

“Let us provide the encouragement that you might need,” said Bethany. “You’re doing great and the lessons that you learn as you overcome those barriers will become your greatest asset in the future. Sometimes you gotta just keep swimming!” 

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Thanks to Kristin, Bethany and Grace for speaking at our RallyFwd Virtual Conference and for sharing with us their top lessons and pro tips for building an effective careers blog for recruiting. What their lessons show is that your work in creating a compelling careers blog and telling engaging stories can have a profound impact on your company’s Recruitment Marketing strategy and the employee experience. Start small and prove your impact and the return on investment one blog post at a time!

Rally Note: To watch UPMC’s video presentation at RallyFwd, and hear even more pro tips and best-practice strategies for creating your careers blog, watch December’s RallyFwd Virtual Conference On Demand

[15 Pro Tips] How to Create an Engaging Careers Blog
5 (100%) 5 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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