If You Want a Job in Advertising, Buy a Diary

Why I Look at a Job Applicant's Blog Before I Check Out His or Her Work

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Bart Cleveland
Bart Cleveland
Have you noticed that some people have decided that the web is the replacement for the tried and true diary? It's the place where you can write your deepest thoughts and fears, your most angry rants and your most insecure feelings, and then turn a little brass key in its lock and tuck the little book away in a secret place that your bratty little brother and no one else can find it.

The danger of unrestrained bombast on the internet has been written about frequently. You would think it would sink into heads that what is written there is for everyone, including those you want to impress and persuade.

When considering a potential employee, the first place I now go before looking at the person's work is their blog or Facebook page or wherever else they live online. Within minutes, I know a lot about the person's character. And, for me, that is the number one qualification that must pass muster.

A recent example: A potential hire had a blog link on their website. Click, and what do I learn? Ah, you really think a lot of yourself, don't you? And it frustrates you to no end that the people you work with, particularly your boss, haven't a clue of their shortcomings. Fortunately, your blog allows everyone to read, with expletives to enhance your thoughts, how fed up you are with your job.

I kid you not. This was the subject of several entries on this person's blog. As I read a few more rants, I thought that surely the writer felt this blog was a secret? I mean, it shared that the blogger couldn't wait to find a new job, felt sorely overworked and underappreciated and that co-workers were not able to accept blunt criticism.

The person reminded me of someone that had been in the trenches too long and really needed to find another line of work. The only thing is, this person is just starting their career.

This is sad. I'm sure there are redeeming qualities and talents. But being unprofessional in a public forum discounts those qualities, because no one wants to hire trouble. Someone told me that this is just part of the new generation's way of expressing themselves. Bunk. I have a lot of young people working for me, and none of them would be this undisciplined and unprofessional. This is about the individual, not the generation.

What we say comes from the heart. We may not always think it through, but our character is ultimately displayed through a culmination of actions and particularly our words. I fear this person is in for a very frustrating life. They seem deluded into thinking the problems they face are always caused by others. Any professional potential, due to talent or energy and even work ethic, is lost to pride.

I guess the only thing left to say is this: If you know someone using the internet as a personal diary, you would be their friend to tell them it's not a very good one.

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