Your online presence

A thoughtful and well-linked post by Jim Mathies, wondering how a potential employer might reflect on his (Jim’s) online persona. I’ve posted on this topic a few times and thought about it again last week following an interview with a young man who was interested in a job with our company.

The job in question is web-related so I asked if he had anything online that I could look at. “Not really,” he responded. He read a little surprise on my face and added, “I have a My Space page.”

When I pressed him for a look, he reluctantly pulled up his page, which launched to the sound of music that could best be described as “urban.” And there was a nice photo of the young man striking a bit of a “gangsta” pose. (Like I’d know)

He seemed a little uncomfortable so I attempted to reassure him that I’d rather see his My Space page than some dry, lifeless resume.

But, as Jim’s post (and the NYT article that prompted it) reminds us, a lot of who we are it “out there,” just a Google or Technorati search away. I have no doubt I have written something that would keep a prospective employer from hiring me. But I wouldn’t want to work for a company that would not hire me based on something they read here. Younger bloggers might not have that luxury.

So, do you let the world know who you really are by letting it all hang out on your blog? Or, do you craft a sanitized, lifeless, carefully worded resume? Most pros would argue for the resume and they’d probably be right. Unless I was doing the interview.

3 thoughts on “Your online presence

  1. I worry about this a lot, since I’m one of those guys who hangs it all out. I don’t think anyone is suprised by that, since I never hold anything back. But I can ruffle a few feathers. In my opinion, I’m just calling like I see it. I may not be for the weak of heart, but can be a good friend to have in your corner.

  2. Gestalt: I concur. Class IV Geeks ‘can’ work for others but are unlikely to be happy doing so. Now, what you failed to address (or I missed) is the likelihood that a Class IV Geek can run a successful business.
    I’m reminded of the genesis of Learfield. Derry Brownfield was/is the consummate radio personality. Uniquely listenable. Clyde Lear was/is the essential sales guy. Refrigerators to Eskimos. Their partnership was greater than the sum of the parts.
    My conclusion: Class IV Geeks need partners if they want to have a thriving business (Steve Jobs + Steve Wozinak). But this requires an amazing amount of luck and chemistry.

  3. I had a conversation with some friends this weekend which centered on one’s level of geekiness. After some comparative discussion, we came up with the following:
    CLASS I GEEK: You know how to do stuff in Word. You know who to talk to at Helpdesk.
    CLASS II GEEK: You have a weblog and post to it regularly. You might even use a news aggregator.
    CLASS III GEEK: You know programming languages and use your knowledge of them in your regular job. Computer work beats digging ditches.
    CLASS IV GEEK: Technology is your religion and lifestyle. You have a weblog– that is– you have written weblog software. Technology is worthwhile for its own sake.
    I was classified with a terminal case of Class IV Geekdom, which does not suprise or bother me. What brings it to mind here is that despite this accolade I have been told I am imminently unhireable in a corporate setting. I work for myself, so there is very little room for error and because I take some of the technoratis’ principles so to heart, the claim becomes that I would be unable to tolerate the waste or beauracracy of the corporate world.
    This raises an interesting question: is a person’s compatibility inside the context of “normal” employment an inverse of their placement on a scale such as the one above? And, if you are looking for somebody with skills that are only cultivated at the higher degrees of such geekdom, what is the likelihood that they will also have some deal-breaker trait? How does one resolve this?
    I know one solution, which is for the geek to run their own business… …but not everybody wants to do that. Something to chew on.

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