Muschamp Rd

Blog your way to a better career (no really)

March 17th, 2009
Job Wanted

They mean it this time! Guy Kawasaki’s guest blogger didn’t go quite so far, but some are saying that a blog is the new resume, Resume 2.0 if you will. Maybe in some industries, but in some countries and industries writing online, especially non-anonymously has risks. Doubly so if you tell the truth, a truth that the authorities or those in power want to deny.

I’ve had a homepage online since 1995, longer than most corporations. I was encouraged to blog my life and experiences. With the exception of during one of my Opera interviews my blog was not mentioned as an asset, obviously in job applications that don’t lead to interviews, my blog may have been a detriment. Sometimes you just don’t know what an employer is really looking for or perhaps the position was never even filled.

As a result of all my time spent online and sticking with “Muskie” as my name/handle, there is a lot of stuff about me online, most is about my hobbies or stuff I’ve self published. And as a result if you Google “Andrew Muskie McKay” or “Muskie McKay” you find my resume. Some people seek to stay anonymous online, perhaps they have something to hide or just want to cause trouble. With the increased emphasis to shared logins and permanent (corporate owned) identities from: the now better functioning OpenID, to Yahoo, MSN, Google, even Facebook has gotten into the act, anonymity is harder and harder to maintain. If you want to use major Internet services the price is giving up personal information to advertisers and eventually, possibly the media, law enforcement, and of course your future boss.

I’m writing from the new Waves that just opened up today on the corner of Main and Cordova. The organization I work for had nothing to do with this new business starting in Chinatown, but our landlords did.

Max Gladwell’s Top 10 Suggestions on blogging while job hunting

  1. You’re an expert. Now prove it.
  2. You’ve got time on your hands. Use it.
  3. Stay sharp and on the cutting edge.
  4. Produce something and create value.
  5. Network with fellow bloggers.
  6. Make yourself discoverable.
  7. Establish your brand.
  8. Master the craft and position yourself accordingly.
  9. Forget about advertising.
  10. Build an audience.

I probably did all ten of Max’s suggestions during my post Sauder MBA job search, and what can I say it wasn’t enough to overcome the events on and after March 17th 2005. Here are examples of attempts to be productive and proactive and to leverage the Internet and yes even my blog.

  1. So I’m an expert, but at what? That is one of my problems, I used to be an expert in CSS, browsers, databases, and WebObjects, even CMSs, but I wanted to be more of a generalist. From a blogging point of view you get a big mess. This is reflected on my resume, where I get interviewed but seem to have trouble clinching… I can do almost anything, convincing others I am what they are looking for is the bigger problem.
  2. I had time on my hands… and I used to be really productive four years ago… So I taught myself a lot about Excel including learning VBA well enough to make money off of that horrible language. I also decided to learn PHP, found that less useful. I even started doing the CFA. With the exception of the PHP weenies who don’t need my help, I gave back to the community to show my expertise.
  3. Ah the cutting edge… our Board at BOB wants us to be on the bleeding edge! In 2009, just having a blog no longer puts you on the cutting edge. If you blog in Mongolia using a linux powered mobile device, on a CMS platform you wrote yourself, maybe that is cutting edge. But with the rise of WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and numerous other services, any fool can have a blog and far too many do.
  4. I’ve produced many things of value, and I seem to give them away… People have taken advantage of that, but if you want to steal something from me, this post contains a link to the most popular Excel spreadsheet I created and gave away.
  5. Networking, assumes you’ll meet someone worth knowing, someone who will actually help you of their own volition. Not everyone believes you when you just help them… I’ve also found most people use me more than they help me, as a result I’ve pruned my LinkedIn network and generally become less enthusiastic about networking. During my job search I did meet a few bloggers online or offline such as David Wong and David Storey.
  6. I’m discoverable… but it is the keywords that bring people to my website that are the problem. Plus if I ever have any valuable content, it’ll just end up on a scraper site. And when I scoop the free world or make a correct prediction, no one notices…
  7. “Much has been written about the art of personal branding or building your individual brand.” And of course I’ve written about building your personal brand online.
  8. Muskie McKay Corporate Blogger? I think I’m too honest for most corporations. I did apply to a number of jobs related to online community building and evangelism, which could include blogging about a company.
  9. There are still no ads on my domain. But with all the stories of people making millions or at least 1000s I’m going to put some on my blog someday…
  10. My audience? Me, my family, MBA Classmates, friends, search engines, the odd strange weirdo, and of course online perverts. I’m sure these demographics are highly desirable to advertisers.

Update February 2012

I’m once again unemployed, this time for even longer than ever before, not that my former MBA classmates or the administration is concerned about my well being. They’ve proved that fact, many, many times. I keep applying for and interviewing for positions. I keep coming close, but close doesn’t cut it. Being a nice guy is not profitable. I also keep reading articles on how to find a job, how to write a cover letter, how to craft a resume, how to leverage social media and online social networks. I try to follow the advice of often self proclaimed ‘experts’. One piece of advice experts continue to give is to blog or now tweet (micro-blog) regularly. As someone with over a 1000 blog posts published online both here and elsewhere, I can’t say I’ve profited much by it.

Other people have definitely benefited. I’m not opportunistic enough or perhaps I’m just too polite, too easy to take advantage of, too willing to work for free or to volunteer my time and effort. Eric Shannon wrote a lengthy guide to gaining employment at a good company. It is a little too late for me, I’m just trying to find anyone who wants to hire me, but people come to my blog as part of their job search, so I’ve been updating some older posts offering career or job seeking advice to now include links to Eric’s guide. He even phoned and thanked me.

January 19th 2013

Experts are still adamant that you should be blogging, that it is good for your career, that it will lead to a better job. I’m living proof this is not true. Blogging isn’t for everyone, telling the truth online about yourself and about other people can lead to a lot of problems and negative even hostile reactions. Look at Lance Armstrong, he lied for years and people who said he was lying were savaged and sued. Look at the Manti Te’o’s situation, he was taken in by people who think it is fun to lie and hurt people online, who think it doesn’t have repercussions in the real world, who think they are clever and cool. Blogging and the Internet isn’t all good, all the time, and it isn’t for everyone. Perhaps some people are too honest to blog.

If you still want to blog, I collected some of my best writing (blogging) advice into a single post.

Update: Although I did once take my entire blog down for six months to prove to myself and others I could shut up, I eventually put my blog back online. I’ve spent way too much time and effort on it and many of my posts are overly long and overly filled with links. That said I am updating this old blog post to link to my 10 Year Blogiversary posting.


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  • Anonymous

    hi Andrew, I appreciate the links to my employment guide – very kind of you! Your situation is interesting to me because you’ve certainly put a lot of effort into your blog. Wonder if you would be interested in chatting on the phone? I’d like to hear about your job search…

    Best regards,
    Eric

  • Yeah I think we can arrange that. The problem with my blog is it accurately reflects the problems and challenges I’ve faced in my life. I was treated really badly by people I trusted during my MBA. I went out of my way to help them and they went out of their way to make my life miserable. It wasn’t very equitable. I’ve taken my blog down. I’ve removed content. I’ve edited posts, but once you open up about the problems in your life, you can’t pretend they don’t exists. A lot of my MBA classmates took to pretending I didn’t exist.

    The other problem I have with my blog and career is I’ve done a wide variety of work and even when I am with a single organization I get drafted or volunteer to do all sorts of odd tasks. I was becoming too much of a specialist so when I went and did my MBA I tried to become more of a generalist. I also went out of my way to help a lot of people and it hasn’t really paid off for me. I’m now in my third period of post-MBA unemployment. I keep receiving advice on what type of jobs I should target on who I should talk to on how I’m supposed to leverage social media. I’ve been online for too long and I’ve written over 1000 blog posts, they aren’t focused enough. Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on improving my writing, leveraging the quality content in my blog, ensuring my Google results are mostly positive, altering my resume, generally trying to follow the latest ‘expert’ advice.

    I liked your guide and retroactively added it to various posts I’ve made trying to share my job search experience. This post is several years old. I was actually gainfully employed when I wrote it, but having gone through some very painful experiences and having blogged extensively I’m not convinced that blogging and sharing more and more of your life online with strangers is a winning strategy for everyone.

    My phone number and email are both on my resume we can arrange a time to talk if you like, but I generally avoid drawing too much attention to my past personal and health issues, though they are documented in this my personal blog and I refuse to pretend certain things didn’t happen…

    I think maintaining separation between your personal life and your career is wise, but I’ve just been online for too long and I’ve experienced too much to remain silent on certain issues.

    Thanks for leaving a comment, my blog doesn’t generate that many, though people steal my stuff such as Excel spreadsheets I’ve made along with comment scrapers…

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