This is Part II of a three series post. Read the introduction, Ryan Smith’s Blog Sucks (but it’s getting better), to get an idea of what’s going on. Tomorrow will be a post of what I’d recommend… make sure to read the comments because, as usual, they are smarter than the original post 🙂
The first time I came across a job seeker’s blog was last year. It was written by a guy in England and I found it really interesting. He wrote about his job search, thoughts before and after an interview, thoughts about the companies (I’m pretty sure he didn’t name the companies), and more. It was interesting to me because I had just been through a bad job search and I could really relate to his ideas, questions and concerns.
I was also a blogging newbie. Then I started learning about personal branding and I realized there was a HUGE difference between a job search journal and a personal branding blog. Of course, somewhere in between is a “Hey! Look at me and pay attention to me!” blog.
Ryan’s blog is a job search journal blog. These usually always have good intentions: to let others know that I’m looking and how I’m doing. I doubt many people actually follow these, except for a few close family and friends. I’m not going to rip Ryan and his blog up, I really hope he gets a job soon, and tomorrow is where I’m going to suggest what he does, but here are my comments on the Job Seekers Blog (some of this may apply to Ryan’s blog, some of it may not):
- Transparency is cool. Really. But realize that you are leaving personal branding crumbs all over the place. Clint James is a GenY guy that is pleading with you to clean it up. Ryan Healy totally disagree (but we’ve agreed to disagree :p) in Penelope Trunk’s blog. My question is, will Ryan Smith regret this blog in 10 years? Even if Google does start erasing stuff that is 18 months outdated (I read that somewhere, so it’s like 9th hand information), it might be found on The Way Back Machine!
- Consider the tone. In the comments from yesterday there were plenty of people who essentially said the tone was not appropriate. Again, is this Ryan’s brand? If it is his brand now, will he regret that in five years? I have yet to find a job seeker’s blog (with the exception of the one I mentioned yesterday) that isn’t … well, pathetic. Was that too strong? Okay, how about “less than professional.”
- The job search journal is a throw-away blog. I think that it will be very difficult to rebrand, even if the job search journal is smart, and move on to the brand you really want. Once he gets a job does he keep it up? He already told me he wouldn’t, and others that I used to follow are now gone. Why do so much harm to your image with a temporary buzz?
- Really, no one cares. (this is for everyone who writes this type of blog) Your mom does. Your loved ones do. But reading the posts can get depressing. No one wants to talk about being jobless or unhappy to the point of doing something about it. It’s worse than reading about someone managing their checkbook because of the negative emotions and sometimes hopelessness that are usually in the posts. And, pompous arrogant people (which described me just hours before getting laid off) think that if you can’t get a job within a month then there are serious, serious issues.
- If I’m interviewing you, and then I find your blog, I’m going to be REALLY REALLY concerned. Why? Because what if you blog with the same transparency about my company, or your position… or, heaven forbid, ME? And if you are terminated I’m guessing there will be blog posts. Now, I’m not one to say that you shouldn’t blog about these things but I want to see the proper level of discrepancy about what you blog about. Also, this might seem contrary to my You Get It award, but there is a huge difference between what and how they blog, and what and how a job seeker blogs.
- If you are applying for Position X, does your blog show me you can do the job? Ryan graduating in marketing/management. In yesterday’s comments someone mentioned that this was very off brand for a marketing professional. The paragraph formatting (writing style), message, ability to execute, etc. Most of the time a job seeker journal is NOT going to convey what it should to a prospective employer.
The Pay Attention To Me blog, which is designed to get the eyes of someone that is untouchable, can be effective, but you really, really need to provide compelling substance, and do it in a way that does not make you look whiny, petty, sophomoric, immature, or anything like that. Here are some examples of Pay Attention To Me blogs:
- Why Provo Labs Wants To Hire Carolynn Duncan – Carolyn Duncan, author Human Census, wrote this to get the attention of hiring managers at Provo Labs. The compelling meat is in the post A Sampling of the Problems I Could Solve At Provo Labs.
- I wanna be on Oprah! – Ruth Glendinning started this blog last year. Here’s the introduction (and story behind the blog), and you can see that she uses the blog to further show the breadth and depth of her personal brand.
- Mentor Me Meg – Beth Carvin, CEO of Nobscot, wants Meg Whitman to mentor her, and is starting a little blog campaign. I think it would be more effective if it was it’s own blog (mentormemeg.com is available, go figure ;)). Hat tip to Rebecca Thorman.
One of the keys to a Pay Attention To Me blog is that the person already has a target (Provo Labs, Oprah or Meg Whitman) and is providing something interesting and substantial, and putting it out in public.
I’ve already spent a lot of time on a blog that really brings out (or quantifies) your personal brand. If you feel behind the curve on this check out my You Get It award winners, where I bring out some of the things from each winner.
Okay, so this was meant to be a “here’s what sucks about Ryan’s blog” but really, I think this was a more valuable message. What am I missing here?