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question for my readers (all 17 of you non-spambots)

February 24, 2011

Hey folks, as most of you know I am in that lovely post-graduate job hunt stage of life and as I brush up the resume, write essays about my ideal library, re-learn the art of the cover letter I am left pondering what to do with my social network footprint.  Here at Mennogirl, I have been blogging semi-anonymously* for over 6 years, which in the world of blogland is kind of a long time.  And in the world of libraries, the ability to demonstrate a mastery of blogging, familiarity with tweeting, knowledge of flickr, etc is currently seen as a plus.  Overall this blog is something I am actually kind of proud of, while not every (or even most) posts are written with specific topics in mind, I feel like this blog does a good job of representing the range of personal blogging.  BUT therein lies the rub, this has been and always will be my PERSONAL blog.  While I also have a pretty strict, “don’t blog about work and generally never blog something I wouldn’t say to a person’s face” policy I really don’t know if seeing this blog would be a plus or a minus to potential employers.  In regards to tweeting, I do that under a non-mennogirl name and that has been a bit more of a mix between personal and professional (tweeting was a key part of one of my library classes last spring).  As for Flickr, I also use that primarily personally and as a online back-up for my photographs.  However to access my blog is to gain access to my Flickr account, so my questions about that are linked pretty closely to my questions regarding this blog.

I did maintain a more professional blog for the above mentioned library class, which I am planning on including in my online portfolio, but it was also fairly short-lived (only a semester worth of posts) and may not be a representational of my blogging style.  Anyways so here is the question:

You all read my blog.  Pretend you are a library director of a middle school library, you have received my stellar resume, read my impressive letters of recommendation and are now looking through my online portfolio,  you see a link to my personal blog – Mennogirl and click on it.  Are you impressed? repulsed? frustrated with my lack of professionalism? happy that a potential employee demonstrates such familiarity with social network tools?

*To me semi-anonymously means not using my last name and attempting to keep Mennogirl out of the Google results for my full name.  In other words, it would not be difficult at all for someone to read Mennogirl and figure out who I am, but pretty hard for someone who doesn’t know me to find Mennogirl.

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5 comments

  1. Hmmm…I struggle with this question, too. However, librarian-ing is becoming increasingly more digital, so it could be a big plus to demonstrate your blogging expertise. I would say, if I were a library director, I would definitely not be repulsed by your blog in any way. I also do not think a potential employer is going to take the time to snoop through your archives and will only look at the first several pages of content.

    I don’t think I’m helping at all. Can you tell I’m trying to answer this question as well? 🙂


  2. I am certainly NO expert on this topic; I think I’m too old. However, I can’t help but think your blog would be an asset to your digital “portfolio” (I’m sure that’s not the right word.) And it would demonstrate your impressive 6-year track record.


  3. While I have hired a few people in my life, and “Googled” some of them to see what I could find, I never read a blog of someone I was thinking of hiring. I scanned back over a half a dozen or so posts and tried to remember anything that might be a problem. For instance if I saw rants about your boss or coworkers that would be a concern. I don’t remember any such posts. I remember some joking comments about students but I don’t remember anything offensive.
    Of course, anything that made me think the writer was lacking in common sense – bragging about drunken episodes, substance abuse or any such thing would be red flags.
    Whether it is a positive or not for a librarian, I don’t really know but I can’t see it would hurt.


  4. This is always a tricky topic, and I applaud your desire to approach it with caution. From what I can recall of your blog, your links, and your Flickr account, there is nothing here that could compromise you professionally. You take gorgeous pictures and you write with a fun, informal voice that really brings to life the stories you tell. Your blog is an excellent example of a long-term personal blog, and it definitely shows of your social networking capabilities in the areas you mentioned.
    However. If I may take a moment to be the voice of extreme paranoia here…
    It’s true that it’s unlikely that an employer is going to read your blog in depth, examine all your pictures, follow all your links, etc. But you have to remember that once you’ve shared this, your future employer will have access to everything you’ve written, linked, and photographed, as well as everything your non-password-protected friends have written, linked, and photographed (and remember, you have limited control over what your friends post.) It also means that in the future, you’ll need to remember that whatever you write may be seen by a potential employer. How do you feel about your content? Your format? Your spelling? Your grammar? (And yes, I have been involved in hiring decisions in which poor spelling and grammar immediately disqualified applicants.) The people and situations you discuss? The sites you link? Are you comfortable with all of this being out there, representing you not only to people who know you personally but to total strangers who know you only through what you write?
    Furthermore, what is the relevance of your blog to your career? If you do decide to share, I would encourage you to consider specific reasons for sharing the blog (i.e. to showcase your writing or social media skills, to provide an example of your ability to commit and follow through with long-term projects, to give examples of book reviews that you’ve written) and include those with the blog address.
    My point here is not that you have in any way exposed yourself to criticism with your blog, but that sharing it with employers (current or future) represents a meshing of your personal and professional lives that I would invite you to consider before going through with it.
    I know you, Mennogirl, and I know that you will give this deep thought and consideration before you make your decision. I think that your personal blog would be an asset to your resume, and I think you have little to fear and much to gain from sharing it, if that is what you decide to do.
    Good luck in your job hunt!

    (Voila, my two cents.)


  5. It sounds like you already have a great resume and references – I think those are enough to get you your dream job. There’s a chance – perhaps only slight – that a potential employer will worry that if you’re dissatisfied with something at work, it’ll end up on your blog and be a potential embarrassment. I think in a cost/benefit analysis, the blog is more of a potential stumbling block that that crucial piece that would push you over the edge and get your the job. Maybe the blog warrants a mention in an interview, but not a specific link on your resume. Good luck!



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