Job Seeker Blogs – Why I Hate Them

job seeker journal?  Better to keep it offline,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 Even if Google does start erasing stuff that is 18 months outdated (I read that somewhere, so it’s like 9th hand information), it might be found on The Way Back Machine!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:

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?

11 thoughts on “Job Seeker Blogs – Why I Hate Them”

  1. I found something interesting on one of my own candidate’s blog (it was on his resume–I am not a stalker) and noticed a post in there that read something like:

    A recruiter has me lined up for a job at XWY Widget Company. I accepted the offer, but I am using it just to get a better offer from my current boss.

    Well, feeling a bit betrayed, I commented back:

    Sorry to hear you’re just using the offer to get a raise. Didn’t we ask you if you would accept a counter offer?

    (because we ask EVERYONE that question and btw, saying “yes” is the wrong answer).

    He and I had an, um, interesting conversation when he was in the office finalizing paperwork after that:
    ME: I have to ask if you’re just using this offer to get a better offer.
    HIM: No, I changed my mind on that. Why were you on my blog anyway?
    ME: It’s my job to use the resources you give me to learn as much about you as I can. Plus, it was on your resume.
    HIM: Oh, yeah. Forgot about that.

    Gladly, he’s doing fine working at the anonymous Widget maker.

  2. Now I am commenting way too much, but I have to note that a good PROFESSIONAL/PERSONAL blog will talk about the things you’re passionate about, and the things you LOVE to do, not necessarily that you’re seeking a job. However, having a “resume” link under your clear-to-find “About” page is important… maybe with the text “Click here for my resume, I am always interested in excellent (insert niche) opportunities”.

    For Example:
    Shmula will always be on my list for an example of a frenetic blogger, passionate about the multiplicity of what he does. Fave post of late? When Bad Things Happen to Good Teams. You can’t help but see that this guy is on-top when it comes to organizational effectiveness! Also, he has the best "tagline" I have ever seen on his LinkedIn Profile: "Massively parallel & *strong* bias for action."

  3. I agree with most of your points. It’s much more valuable to write about your expertise if you’re doing a job search than write that you need a job. If Ryan, or anyone, wrote for one or two months good quality articles on the area that they wanted a job in, and promoted the blog appropriately, I bet he or she would be offered a job within that time frame. It’s happened a lot.

  4. @Rebecca I agree. In my recruiting role, I am reading the person’s blog after I have met them or otherwise been introduced (resume, phone call, referral, etc, etc).

    For me, what I am most looking for is to get a sense of who this person is when they are “around their friends”. Since blogs are generally written in a casual style, its easy to drill-down to find their hot buttons, their passions, their rants and their raves.

    If a persons BLOG reads as stale and processed as their RESUME… I start wondering if they really ARE stale and processed as a human being.

    …Which is no-problem when I am recruiting accountants, of course. 😉

  5. @Chuck – ah shucks, you flatter me :p

    @Dan – I’d love to know what you would change about your blog(s)

    @Rob – AWESOME story and links!

    @Rebecca – that’s exactly what I’m saying – don’t write about stuff like in Rob’s example… rather show us your breadth and depth

  6. Blog should be like homework or letter we write to someone we like. Good blog becames from our idea, knowledge what we do, or like to do; from passion. If not, doesn’t work. Blogging for me is a stronger connection with people I care, have the expectation they will read my thoughts and share with me. Blogging is great workout for brain, faster thinking. I love that exercise.

  7. my blog focuses on helping the job seeker…
    I don’t encourage personal profiles out on the web when you are in job search mode because an employer surfs too…and do you want him/her to know all about your dirty little secrets or habits or likes and dislikes? Keep the employer focused on what you will do for him and not what he/she may perceive about you from a myspace page or a rambling blog you are writing…temporarily suspend your personal musings and focus on getting a job. De list or shut down any site you control UNTIL you have safely landed your job

    Getting a great job is a full time job for my blog

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