Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who Knows You Blog?

Sarah of GreenBean TeenQueen asked the question, "Who knows you blog?" and it got me thinking about blogging and professional development.

Lots of people know I blog. In fact, I think pretty much everyone in my personal life that I'm even somewhat close to knows I blog. My coworkers all know I blog and when I applied for the job I have now, I put my blog on my resume because I see my blog as a professional development tool.

Of course, my blog's a social tool as well and I've so enjoyed being a part of this wonderful community. But I think that with the growing popularity of social media tools in libraries, a well-maintained blog can be an asset in the job hunt. Here's why:

1. It shows off your social media/technical skills. Facebook and Twitter are hot. The better your skills with social media, computers, web design, etc., the more marketable you are. Social media's not going anywhere and many libraries have yet to jump on the bandwagon. You could be the one that takes them there!

2. If you review books, it shows that you're keeping up with what's being published. Bonus points if your reviews show that you can summarize a plot (good for booktalking) and you know what audience to which you'd recommend a book (good for readers' advisory).

3. Think of your blog as an extended version of your cover letter. The cover letter aims to explain why you should get a job in one page (or less). Your blog can be a place to show off the successful programs that you've done (or show what you've learned from unsuccessful programs). If you're still in school, your blog could be a place to share some of the projects you've worked on or programs you'd like to try someday. Or maybe you've read some articles on which you have opinions or you want to discuss what you're learning in your classes.

There are definitely a few things to watch out for if you're going to put your blog on your resume.

MAKE SURE YOUR WRITING IS PROFESSIONAL. I don't mean that it's of professional quality (though keeping a blog is a great way to practice your writing). I mean that you're not ranting about your unfair professor, posting pictures of the wild librarian party you went to last weekend, or posting private information about patrons. Remember that your Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media outlets you have should also be professional. If, in a fit of despair, you Tweet about how this is the worst day of your life, know that your boss (or potential boss) may be reading!

Your writing and the design of your blog are going to reflect on you. Make sure to proofread your posts before uploading them and make sure your blog layout is easy to read. Think about what you want potential employers to get out of reading your blog. Do you want them to see the programs you've done? Are you particularly proud of a certain post? Create links to these posts or sections and put them in an obvious spot near the top of your page. You can always rearrange after you get the job, but make sure the content you want them to find is in a place where they'll easily find it.

Be aware, also, that your potential new boss may not have the same feelings about blogs as you do. He or she may object to you posting something identifying which library you work at, for example. He or she may even ask you to take down certain posts. And would a library administrator reject you for a job because you blog? I don't know, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility completely. You'll have to decide what you're willing to compromise on and what risks you're willing to take. 

Of course, "going public" with your blog isn't for everyone. Should you include your blog on your resume? Well, that's up to you.

What do you think? Anyone else include your blog on your resume?


Kelly Jensen said...

I put my blog on my resume and talk about how being a blogger made me a better, more open reader. I think having the blog is always helpful if it's done well, too, since it lets a potential employer check out more about you than other candidates. You've got something dynamic beyond your rez and cl.

Anonymous said...

In the "other interests/hobbies/activities" section of my resume (which I haven't looked at in awhile, so I forget what it's called exactly), I listed "blogging" but didn't include an address. It was a way to acknowledge that I'm relatively tech/social-networking-savvy and am active with The Online Community, but because my blog fluctuates between professional-issue posts, personal stories, dumb memes, and what have you, I didn't feel that it in itself was a resume-worthy addition. But I COULD do an official Professional blog FOR work if asked to, so I did put it in and left it vague.

All my public posts get automatically fed into my Facebook Notes section, and I have several coworkers as Facebook friends. My boss is NOT one of them, but surely she knows I'm there because we've both Friended (or whatever) our library's official Facebook page. So I don't know what she knows or thinks of my blogging. I'm not even sure how many of my real life friends read my posts.

Honestly, I'm so shy, and I communicate so much better through the written word, that sometimes I wish EVERYONE I MET knew I blogged, and that they'd all come follow me, so that they'd all get to know what I'm really like without me, um, having to do the hard work of being social. :P

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Some of my co-workers know I blog, but I don't know if they know the extent to which I blog. Some read it, some don't and that's ok with me. I started blogging after I got my job, so it wasn't part of my resume, but I would include it if I applied for another job. I've had my blog mentioned in state library newsletters and I had people come up to me at a library presentation I did that said "I read your blog!" which was a little strange! But I think it's a good thing to promote about yourself. My blog feed gets posted to my Facebook as well, so I have co-workers comment there more than on my blog.

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

I absolutely put it on my resume. My blog is an integral extension of my library work, my library consulting and workshops, my writing and my mentoring - I am talking to all the frontline workers out there. I love your tips and wish lots lots lots more children's librarians not only reviewed (reviews are everyhwere though!) but shared the good word on their work with others. I applaud you!

Carin Siegfried said...

I don't have it on my resume, but I have it on LinkedIn, so I do assume people will find it. I agree with you 100%. It certainly is an extension of your resume and one should always be a little careful/ tactful. Your blog is great Abby, and I think reflects really well on you!

Bibliovore said...

I mentioned my blog in interviews for my current position, because I wanted to emphasize my knowledge of the literature and also because I knew friends in the system I was interviewing for read my blog and would be able to say, "Oh yeah, she knows her stuff!" At the same time, I was careful to mention that I did it on my own time.

In my old position, which I started when work-related blogging wasn't as acceptable and positive as it is now, I was wary of talking about it. But by the time I left, it was an open secret, and I believe some former co-workers still read it.

Miss Pippi said...

Thanks for sharing! I never thought about adding my links on my resume, but it is a part of who you are and how you relate to the public. Thanks, again.

NatalieSap said...

I've thought about putting my blog on my resume but ultimately decided against it. While my blog relates to my work, I'd still consider it personal - I generally write reflections rather than reviews and don't think that it's the best representation of the professional me. And I'm still trying to find my place in the blogosphere, so I don't want to flaunt a fledgling effort. :)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts, Abby. I mention my "official" work blog on my resume and have mentioned my personal one on numerous scholarship applications. I don't know for sure, but I have suspicions that it helped me get more than a few. I like to think of my blog as the world's longest writing sample with a few fun tangents thrown in now and then.

Sandra Stiles said...

I have not put my blog on my resume. However, each year when I send out my parent letter I let them know of my site. I review books and it is a good way for them to find out what is out there for their child.