Michael Higgins has a post about this subject over at his Chocolate and Gold Coins blog. His post gives my blog a big plug, which is gratifying to my ego. Although his post his thoughtful and well worth reading, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with his take that employers will be impressed by your blog.
In fact, the reason why my real name is not on my blog is because I don’t want people typing it into Google and finding me. But I just Googled myself right now, and to my horror my old blog came up as the top result because I left my name on the template! So I just removed my name and hopefully it will sink in the search results real soon. However, even though I am incredibly easy to find via Google, not a single employer I ever interviewed with bothered to find my blog, as far as I know. Women I’ve dated have found my blog. It’s interesting how women will put more effort into researching their dates than employers will into researching their job applicants.
My own take is that blogging requires a lot of intelligence to do well and it’s not a coincidence that a high percentage of top bloggers have Ivy League degrees. Ivy League schools only accept the most intelligent applicants. Writing skills are also required for blogging, and in fact blogging ought to improve one’s writing skills because practice always improves a skill. But skill in writing and intelligence, though correlated with each other, are also separate attributes.
Mr. Higgins writes that having a successful blog also requires good marketing skills, and this I agree with as well. Marketing your blog requires intelligence, an understanding of the importance of marketing, and a lot of effort. (I’m not so sure I put in enough effort to ever become an A-list blogger.)
So with blogging demonstrating all sorts of good things about a job applicant, what’s the downside? First of all, most employers are scared off by the unusual. Employers aren’t really looking for the best applicant, they’re looking for the safest applicant. The applicant least likely to make the hiring manager look stupid for hiring him. Because blogging is a big unknown, it’s a red flag to the employer.
Successful blogging requires a lot of effort, but employers don’t want employees who put a lot of effort into their hobbies, they want employees who put a lot of effort into their jobs.
A blogger with a truly successful blog (mine doesn’t reach such a lofty level) has power. Employers don’t want employees with power. They want powerless employees who can easily be bossed around. An employee with a well read blog can write about how much his employer sucks, and thousands of readers will then find out about it.
Employers tend to have an extremely narrow focus when looking for employees. So the fact that you have great writing skills and can market a blog means absolutely nothing unless maybe you’re trying to find a job in journalism or internet marketing. If employers really cared about your writing skills, they'd ask for a writing sample. I have found that no one ever asks for a writing sample unless you're applying for a job as a lawyer or as a writer. Employers are lazy and uncurious when it comes to hiring practices.
With all the negatives associated with blogging, my advice is to keep your blog hidden from current and potential future employers. However I’d love to hear other people’s take on this topic.