Jeremy Zawodny wrote a really interesting post the other day about how blogs may help smart folks get jobs. I think he’s right on the money, but I also think he overlooks the dark side.
Here’s an analogy. I recently sold a riding lawnmower online for a friend. I made a dorky little website with pictures and information and then posted it on the Portland Craigslist and on pdxforsale. It sold in under 12 hours. It wasn’t exactly a rock-bottom price, either. I know it would have sold with just a plain text ad on those same sites, but the pictures and extra explanation really fleshed out the context for potential buyers. They had fewer questions and as a result, my friend only got calls from really serious buyers.
Consider two resumes that roll across your desk. Both tout equally impressive qualifications, but one has a reference to a blog in the "Contact" section. You go read the blog and get a lot more context about how that person thinks and responds to various situations. When you interview both people, you’ll have a lot less "getting to know you" time with the blog person. All good for the blog person, considering the blog is worthwhile.
Now consider two other resumes that roll across your desk. Both have blog references in the "Contact" section. So you go read both. One is a blog with intelligent writing and thoughtful insights. The other is an incomprehesible LiveJournal-type site, with lots of odd commenters and weird Mood Ring/Weather Pixie dealios hanging off the margins. I don’t know about you, but as a hiring manager, I’d really be disinclined to invite the LiveJournal person for an interview. That’s a shame because, aside from the blogs, the two candidates may be equally suited for interviews.
This is the really chilling scenario. Since the election is so fresh in our minds, let’s pull political leanings into our equation. Consider yet another two resumes rolling across your desk. Again, both reference blogs, and both blogs are equally thoughtful. Politically speaking, one leans left and the other leans right. Now, well-intentioned hiring managers like you and I would never factor such information into a hiring decision, right? But are all managers as high-minded as we are?
So, I guess my point is that Jeremy is right. Blogs can help smart people get jobs. They can also prevent smart people from getting jobs. I know that Jeremy’s post was really talking about the networking aspects of blogs and job hunting, and I’ve got no quarrel with that. Blogs can definitely equate to wider exposure for the writer. But it seems like it can be a double-edged sword. Use with caution. Makes me wonder when we’ll see some hiring discrimination lawsuits focused around blog content.