Blog on resume: yay or nay?

The blog on resume strategy could help or hurt.

This reader couldn’t decide whether to showcase her blog on her resume or not:

Is it helpful to mention one’s personal blog on a resume? Just a couple of years ago the thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind, but now so many job postings look for online experience that I’ve started wondering whether it might be relevant to let a recruiter know that I blog. It’s not as good as work-related online experience, but it seems like a good way to show that I’m comfortable enough with technology. I’m a copy editor, so maybe this isn’t so important, but I feel that my blog also is a good showcase of my writing.

My blog is pretty much the personal diary sort — it contains nothing whatsoever about work, nothing terribly shocking, nothing strongly political and nothing X-rated, though I’ll admit to a little bit of profanity. Think it’s a good idea to mention it when job hunting, playing it up as an asset or skill? Or am I better off leaving this little hobby out of the conversation?

My answer:

I would bring it up in the interview. I have looked at your blog and would not put it on my resume. Smart journalism job seekers differentiate between clips that are best for reading and clips that are best for talking about. Usually, they reserve for talking the ones that lead to a good interview conversation. Your blog, a personal one, is better for conversation than for introducing yourself professionally. You can explain that you’re comfortable with the technologies, posting images and all that, and it should sound good. But you blog that you buy chewing gum by the jug, you don’t like noodly jazz, jet lag can mess up your monthly cycle, and it links to pictures of the funny way your husband eats. Way too much information. A more focused, less personal blog would be better for a resume, if it is well done and has some traffic.

Maybe you don’t want a blog on resume blooper, but should you have a blog at all?

This reader had another blog-related question. Check it out:

I am wondering if you have encountered people who place a work-related blog on their portfolio Web site. I am not talking about having a blog that addresses the particular industry in a general sense, such as a copy editor having a blog about grammar or something of that sort. What I am talking about is a blog that highlights on-the-job achievements in a blog format. I have incorporated a WordPress blog of this nature on my site.

The purpose is to highlight my achievements at my job, such as “before and after” editing samples and anecdotes that illustrate initiative. I haven’t seen this approach before and am wondering if a recruiter would find it useful.

My answer:

You are putting a lot of thought into your blog, and you are a capable writer, but I question your strategy. The point of having before-and-afters and of keeping track of good work you initiate is to impress a very small group of employers present or future. I don’t imagine that number could be more than 10 or, more realistically, six. The timing for when they would be interested in this information is also very small — just at the time when you are looking to make a move or ask for a raise. The blog format is all wrong for that. Rather than giving this handful of people the information they want when they want it, you are making it available to all of us all the time. This could expose you to ridicule. And, if you post a lot of before and after work samples, you could be exposing your colleagues to unflattering attention as well. Who wants to have their worst work corrected publicly?

I have fewer reservations with writers, photographers, artists and designers posting their work, as we see on places like News Page Designer or personal portfolios. Keep a private dossier on your good work and use your blogging skills to reach or build a broader audience interested in a wider subject. That would be an additional example of your initiative.

Mastering the newsroom:

Want more advice on your blog and your career? These questions, answers and advice come from my book Ask The Recruiter, where I have collected years of experience from recruiting in newsrooms. The book contains popular questions and answers dedicated to breaking open the occasionally opaque nature of newsroom hiring, promoting and managing.

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