Showcasing Communication Skills: Blogger Jessica Niziolek Spreads Disability Awareness
Communication skills are essential for almost all jobs, whether it’s to communicate with customers, coworkers, or supervisors. Demonstrating your written voice can showcase your communication skills and help employers understand your passions and interests. A blog is a good place to illustrate these skills, and can be referenced in a job search.
Jessica Niziolek, a social media disability advocate, explained how she uses blogging to encourage discourse; her story begins with having something important to say.
“In July of 2016, I founded my blog The Abler. I was motivated by a very strong desire to help my sister and others like her find answers about their invisible conditions unanswered by the medical field. Questions like, why is this happening in the first place—what’s the cause? Is it hereditary?
I also wanted to provide a place for people to express themselves freely without cruelty or judgement. Blogposts on The Abler help erase the stigma, assumptions, and shame that often accompany disabilities and their causes and conditions. It is my hope to open people’s minds enough to get a conversation started.”
Jessica shares her messages and grows her followers in a variety of ways, which demonstrates important skills for today’s job market.
“Shortly after I launched my blog, I began a Facebook group associated with the blog that has over 300 hundred members. The Abler also has its own social media presence online, including everything from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and, most recently, a podcast through the app Anchor FM.
I have expanded my advocacy efforts by writing for platforms that share my passion and desire to help educate and support those in need of a voice and to speak on topics that are important to everyone regardless of their background. Examples are quality in the workforce, and in society overall; mental health; and acceptance.
I am proud to say I am a contributing writer for platforms like The Mighty and The Unchargeables. They are both platforms that take a unique approach by taking a more personal route, rather than a clinical one, to discussing the very complex and multi-layered subjects of visible and invisible disability, chronic pain and chronic illness. They see the person first before they see the illness or disability. These sites give a voice to these and many other topics that would otherwise be dismissed or ignored altogether.”
When using a blog to showcase your communication skills, it is important to strike a balance between passion and professionalism. Jessica’s posts approach topics in ways that respect multiple perspectives and viewpoints. Jessica touches on this point when she discussed keeping politics out of her posts.
“I am an advocate, and while it is true that politics play a role in my work, I make a conscious effort to keep a line drawn between the two. I believe politics falls under the category of privacy. I also believe that if I were to make my advocacy work strictly about politics, it would take away from The Abler’s mission, which is to shed a light on topics with far too much stigma attached to them and share knowledge about these topics. Because of this, I often reframe my messages to prevent them from impacting my online persona and potentially alienating my followers.”
As Jessica highlights, effective communication includes writing in ways that keep people engaged. While a political rant is likely to alienate some followers and raise flags to potential employers, showcasing your abilities to write, generate a following, and use a variety of social media tools can highlight your communication abilities.
“With my advocacy work, I hope to get a conversation started and continue it so that the disabled community has more options in all the areas that impact our daily lives. Social media can be a very powerful tool if you use it in a manner that helps effect the change you want to make happen. But in the end, it’s all about your purpose and passion, and what message you would like to convey with the tools that social media provides you in abundance.”
Read more about online personas on the Managing Your Online Presence page on the Telecom Toolbox website.
Learn more about Jessica’s blog, The Abler, on social media: