Hot topics and keywords for careers blogs

17 Jun

Today I posted an entry entitled “Creative CVs for creative jobs – inspiring examples” and have had 100 views in a matter of hours. Yesterday I posted “The Guardian London Graduate Fair from The Careers Group” (now doesn’t that sound corporate and fun) and it has had 4 views. Yes four, in total. I really should have known better.

From experience I’d say “CVs”, “interview questions” and “aptitude tests” are always guaranteed winners as topics. After that, clearly including the words “examples”, “templates” and interest like “creative” are good. Beyond that I haven’t thought about it. Let’s see what the top 10 most popular posts on the library blog have been over the years, by title:

  1. Making a personal statement
  2. More tough interview questions – examples
  3. Practice graduate recruitment selection tests
  4. How to answer hard interview questions
  5. Preparing for competency-based interviews
  6. Networking for students and graduates
  7. How can I get medical and healthcare work experience?
  8. CVs – what to put for hobbies and interests
  9. Interview questions – real-life examples
  10. What do mathematicians do?

Are there any patterns? Clearly “interviews” are showing strongly – I thought it was interesting that the follow-up “tough” post beat initial “hard” interview questions post, though maybe it was the addition of the magic word “examples” that helped? The personal statement post was a surprise success, as it actually contains little information, but the title has turned out to be massive link-bait – interesting for future reference.

I think some of the other titles seem to mimic the sort of search phrase someone might put into Google – some are directly phrased as a question a student might ask. Most titles are 4-6 words long, with a high number of topical words crammed in – no puns or fancy phrasing, they are completely, concisely to the point. This reminds me of the BBC news feeds, which will capture an article completely  in 4-6 words.

I should give a quick mention as well to the bottom 10 titles, for contrast:

  1. Library closure 21st October 2008
  2. Feeling better?
  3. Library closure time on 18th December
  4. Library closures
  5. Library closure 19th September
  6. On the move…
  7. Happy New Year!
  8. The Guardian London Graduate Fair from The Careers Group
  9. But what’s it really like?
  10. Making a Difference

Clearly no one cares about service notices (and of course they don’t exactly have long-standing interest). After that, the other titles are generally short 2-3 word titles, not very specific, not descriptive. Just looking at them in a list you can see there is nothing to pull a reader in, no hook, nothing to say what the post is about.

I’d be interested to hear from other careers bloggers to see what their all-time top 10 blog titles are. Has anyone succeeded with a different approach?


7 Responses to “Hot topics and keywords for careers blogs”

  1. Elizabeth (Careers Service) June 18, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    Interesting exercise – I’ve excluded the static page hits, so the “all-time top 10 posts” from the Manchester Postgrad Careers blog are:

    Fast Stream – Inside Info, Part 2
    Careers Talks for Postgraduates
    Psychometric testing – hints, tips, comments
    Manchester Medical School Selection Process
    Does a PhD Equal Experience – GSK Job Ad
    BBC Natural History Unit Wants PhDs – Deadline Imminent
    Bad Presentation Bingo
    BP Eurograduate Programme for Masters
    Internships in Germany, UK and beyond
    Fast Stream – Inside Info, Part 1

    However, that’s direct hits as measured by WordPress stats, doesn’t include those posts read by feeds/e-mail subscription (or on the home page), and obviously favours older posts. I think what I’d really like to know is which are the most read posts within, say, a month of posting.

    I did wonder if the most popular search terms might be more enlightening, but on that count, that crowd-pleasing picture of a “cat on a keyboard” wins by a country mile, with the picture of Chester Spud-U-like also featuring strongly (it has a Roman hypocaust in its basement).

    Would also be interested in any other careers blog examples.

    • helencurry June 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

      From David Winter’s blog (aimed at careers professionals rather than students)

      Most visited:
      Do I still like MBTI? (Part 1)
      Will you read this post? Think about it.
      The decisive moment
      RIASEC hats
      Does self awareness make for quicker decisions?
      The danger of goals and power
      Decision makers want information…or do they?
      What happened to my mid-life crisis?
      Do I still like MBTI? (Part 2)
      Classics – Gottfredson

      Most commented on posts:
      Do I still like MBTI? (part 1) – 10
      The danger of goals and power – 11
      Puppies and ping-pong balls – 15 (although most of that was a discussion between me and Jim Bright)
      How do colonoscopies relate to career change? – 10
      What makes a theory useful? – 14
      Positive compromise – 11
      A new blood sport – 14
      Time-wasters’ diary – 12
      Learned helplessness and the recession – 17

    • helencurry June 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Yes I relied on just WordPress overall stats (as a simple measure to use), and excluded static posts. I am now tempted to work out which are most popular within a month of posting, but must not let myself get carried away!

      Looks like “Fast Stream” and titles that indicate jobs and opportunities do well for you.

      Re: most popular search engine terms on The Careers Group library blog, “tough interview questions” and “hard interview questions” are the top two clear winners:

      tough interview questions
      hard interview questions
      graduate recruitment test
      networking questions to ask
      examples of networking
      give examples of your approach to workin
      group interview questions
      questions to ask when networking
      graduate entry medicine

  2. Helen Pownall (Careers Service) June 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Interesting topic! I keep a close eye on our top posts on the Manchester Undergrad Careers blog (, a sister blog to Elizabeth’s PG one.

    Again, excluding static pages our top posts are:
    1. What type of job would suit me? – career matching
    2. Need a job but no career plan mapped out? Try a ‘Planned Happenstance’ approach
    3. Assessment centres for internships – why, what and how to do well
    4. Jobs Seen on the Street 17.9.09 (our weekly part-time jobs bulletin post – first one after the summer break I think)
    5. My Career in… Veterinary Nursing
    6. Manchester Masters 2010 / 2011
    7. The Layman’s Guide to Careers (first post from one of our student bloggers)
    8. My Career in.. Video Editing
    9. Want to be a campus brand manager next year?
    10. Graduate jobs for 2010 entry – coming soon

    A few observations:-
    – I’ve noticed that the longer, more specific post titles tend to attract the most hits – the top 3 posts were ones that I deliberately gave quite long titles to (or even titles and subtitles) on the basis that if I were going to read a blog post I’d like to know exactly what it was about before I got into it, and it’s hard to do that justice in a few words. It did seem to work.
    – Also, it does seem to be the longer posts that get the most views (i.e. unfortunately those that take the most time and thought!). The journalist’s motto of ‘Content is king’ definitely seems to hold true for this blog.
    – Niche posts are also popular. I can imagine our interview-style profiles of people in particular careers like video editing and veterinary nursing come up quite high in the search results for people searching on those terms, because they are more niche – i.e. less competition.
    – Like you, I’ve also found that posts where we promote our events/services attract the lowest number of views, unless we include ‘added value content’ – e.g. a post about our mentoring scheme which also discusses the merits of having a mentor in general and how you might find/use a mentor if you don’t get one through our scheme.
    – However, I’m not convinced that the readers of some of these posts are mostly Manchester students and graduates, especially the very specific ones. As Elizabeth said, it’s fascinating to look at search terms too. (In fact, I learn quite a bit about what people’s career concerns are that way – quite a few people are obviously plugging “What type of job would suit me” into a search engine!). So while it’s nice to see overall hits, perhaps the real question is: how do we find out what the most useful posts are to our own students and graduates? We did try polling them, but got very little response. I think the problem is that there’s no easy answer, niche posts might be enjoyed a lot by a few, while more general posts might be enjoyed somewhat by many, so we may just conclude we need to continue to do both!
    – Oh and finally, this metric is obviously a bit unfair on the newer posts – the older posts have the time advantage when you look at ‘top posts of all time’.

  3. UCL Careers Service June 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Hi Helen,

    I find wordpress stats to be erratic at best, as pointed out by Liz above. I urge all the careers Staff to put what us old Livejournalers call ‘Cuts’ in so people have to click through to read more. Of course not many people do this!

    Also the UCL Careers Blog gets a lot of bots trawling it.

    Home page – 7,395
    Guardian Journalism Competition – 220
    UCL Students Face Dragon’s Den! – 123
    International Students – 113
    About – 112
    City Careers – What is the real picture? – 100
    Win a month’s work experience at Vogue! – 88
    Top tips from Recruiters # 1 -78
    ‘City Girl’ talks trading – 75
    Guidance on BIS Internship Support – 69
    Is my financial career being credit-crunched? -62

  4. davegilchrist75 August 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Here’s the top 10 from Brunel Uni (feels like Eurovision results time this). You’ll notice the preponderance of jobs of the week, perhaps unsurprisingly. By the way, I’m an active user of the ‘cuts’ method UCL talk about. Other things that have an impact: one of these posts featured the name of a company offering what turn out to be scam grad jobs. Pretty sure if anyone google’s that company name my posting comes high in the returned results. Also have had spells where I’ve ‘pushed’ the existence of the blog through emails to all my grads and anything posted at that time is likely to get more hits as I get a lot of first time visitors as a result.

    What grads have said
    2nd Job of the Week and it’s not marketing
    Grad job of the week – Burberry, SW1
    Grad job of the week: part two
    Unpaid work experience – potentially unattractive but look again
    When writing “MS Excel” just isn’t enough
    Want to be an actuary? Want to meet people who employ actuaries>
    If it sounds too good to be true… 127
    Grad job of the week: Chartered accountant, SL1, incl. support through ACA qualifications
    If you missed them the first time: workshops repeated

  5. helencurry September 24, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Just spotted the following list at the bottom of the Target Jobs site:

    Popular searches

    * Writing a graduate CV
    * Work experience options
    * Jobs in London
    * CV examples for graduates
    * All graduate employers
    * Jobs in property
    * Planning a gap year
    * Psychometric test help
    * Answers to interview questions

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