Got an e-mail today from someone who asked “As a Recruiter at MS, would it make a difference to you if a candidate you were considering had a personal blog listed in their resume? Would you check out their blog?…Do you ever worry about identity theft? Or someone ‘borrowing” your words?”
Fantastic questions actually. As far as I am concerned, as a recruiter, I think the best reason to blog is to be found in the first place since recruiters spend lots of time googling for talent. Beyond that, I guess I’d only be inclined to look at someone’s blog that they’ve listed on their resume is if 1) they are someone I am interested in pursuing and I want to see if there are more details of their work or their strengths on the blog or 2) If there’s something in their background that I personal find interesting (which I guess isn’t too relevant).
So I would say that if you do decide to include your personal blog link on your resume, here are some “dos and don’ts”. Keep in mind, I am not saying these are general blog rules, but rather guidelines if you choose to include your blog link on your resume:
–DO take the time to write well. I realize that blogs are informal (and I’ve even noticed some typos on mine that I have declined to fix because that feels like cheating), but just make sure there aren’t any glaringly obvious grammar or spelling rules that you make over. This is especially the case if strong communication skills are a requirement of the positions in which you are interested (take that, grammar police!).
–DON’T include super controversial topics. In general, this could give an employer the impression that you would bring that controversy to work and that is counterproductive. We do expect people to have interests and stuff going on outside of work, so in general, I think blogs are a great place to air your opinions on whatever…but just not when you are linking it to your resume.
–DO show the human side. A resume doesn’t give us a really good idea of who you are as a person. And we are looking to hire a real-live person, not just a resume. Hobbies and interests, your travel journal, pictures of your pet or child(ren)…all stuff I think is A-OK to include. You may want to think twice about including things like pictures from your bachelor party or the moldy thing growing in the back of your refrigerator (I think you get my point here).
–DO include details of work projects, continuing education, etc. If the resume is the teaser that gets us interested in your background, your blog can provide some additional details. Don’t provide anything that could be considered a breach of any confidentiality (or other agreements) you have signed or shows any lack of loyalty for previous employers. I would say in this regard, avoid the temptation to cut and paste anything from any work product you have completed in the past. Just use the blog to describe your work in more detail.
–DO have an opinion. Especially when it comes to the field in which you work, express yourself. Think there’s something Microsoft could do to improve a product you use? We won’t hold it against you if we see it on your blog. In fact, we may even thank you for sharing your opinion with us!
–DON’T use your blog to document the questions you were asked during your Microsoft interviews. I think it’s all fine and good to discuss the idea of puzzle questions, what they are, why they are used, etc., but I would really discourage you from posting any information that could assist someone in bluffing their way through some interview questions. We mix up the questions pretty well anyway, but there’s something about posting them online that may be perceived as being a little shady and probably won’t reflect too well on you as a candidate (just my opinion here).
–DO blog regularly and during non-business hours. If your blog is not part of your job, keep in mind that your blog style could actually suggest some things about you that you had not intended. If you start a blog and then let it sit, employers could see that as a lack of commitment to your blog and wonder why the heck you would include the link on your resume anyway and whether you would exhibit the same lack of commitment to work projects as well. Also, we have had some conversation here about those folks out there that have full-time jobs but somehow seem to publish a significant volume of posts during the day. Employers could see that as concerning specifically with regard to work ethic. I guess we just wonder whether, if we hired you, you would spend a bunch of your time at Microsoft doing personal blogging (keep in mind that my blog is part of my job and I am also not looking to make a career change right now, so I am not being a total hypocrite). <I also wonder whether you are supposed to include a question mark at the end of a rhetorical question.>
Ultimately, by including a link to your blog on your resume, you are extending your resume to include your blog content. Show us who you are and how you think, but don’t show us everything. If your blog content is in line with how you wish to be viewed by a potential employer, then do it. Maybe you think about having a professional blog and a personal blog that are separate.
As far as identity theft or someone borrowing my words, I guess I just keep in mind that anything I post here can be borrowed. Blogging is a pretty open medium and as long as someone links back or gives me credit for my opinions and info, it’s cool with me. Since it’s really impossible to know with 100% certainty who the person behind the blog or comment post is, I have not been too concerned with someone trying to pass themselves off as me. I figure if they do that, it would be to post something controversial and I would find out about it anyway.
Trust me, I understand the hesitancy to step into the blogging world. It took me a few days of blogging before I was willing to tell people what my last name was (hence the odd blog url…leigh is not my last name). I got over it though and have had a really positive experience doing it. So far, it’s all good.