What are the potential pitfalls of having a blog on your CV? Could mentioning your personal blog make potential employers think that you’re a flight risk, or start pointless conversations about Millennials? Sharing your private life with a public audience can be a double-edged sword, and it’s hard to know where to draw the line.
Despite the potential for difficult questions, ultimately, a successful blog is an asset that you should definitely mention on your CV, especially if it brings transferable skills into the picture.
Here are 6 productive ways to talk about your blog during a job interview, including advice on how to deflect any awkward questions.
1: Blogging positive: community management
A big part of many roles – being them digital or not – is community management. Whether it comes to managing clients, customers, or a team — the ability to foster relationships and forge bonds is essential across a wide range of industries.
A successful blogger has already proved that they are able to manage a community through their ability to cultivate a loyal readership. Community management is not easy (or common) skill for recruiters to find, so try to capitalise on this part of your blogging career.
In order to ‘sell’ yourself as a community manager, demonstrate the specific tactics you used to grow your audience, and show hard evidence of your success. Highlight your ability to be involved in a movement, but also maintain a certain amount of strategic distance.
2: Big up the writing elements
Almost every role these days needs solid writing skills — so big up your ability to write both for blogs and social media. Bloggers need to highlight commercial acumen and audience understanding — showing prospective employers that good blogging is akin to professional content marketing.
Things, like working with brands and adhering to media briefs, are useful experiences to mention and demonstrate your ability to foster partnerships.
3: Technical skills are sought after
So you might not have coded your entire blog in HTML, but you’ve still probably picked up a fair few technical skills on the way. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of even basic CMS and CSS skills: it could make you a really valuable member of a small business team.
Same goes for any knowledge you’ve picked up along the way about using automation tools and software like Canva and Hootsuite — this is definitely worth mentioning in the context of blogger growth, engagement, and scaling.
Use your technical blogging skills to your advantage to demonstrate that you can work with complex processes, software, and systems.
4: Commercial acumen & convincing future bosses
Some bloggers are bona fide business owners. From invoicing to branding – running a successful blog can be a full-time job. It’s important to highlight the challenging and commercial aspects of blogging, and show people how much work and effort go into digital success, from blogger monetisation to social media analytics.
If your new employer seems worried about your work/life balance, you’ll have to convince them otherwise. At the same time, if someone grills you too hard on how many hours you spend on your blog, you should take it as a sign of someone you don’t want to work with.
The right companies are supportive of their staff’s side hustles.
5: How to deal with awkward questions
Putting yourself out there as a blogger can backfire in some corporate environments. Funny posts about your life, or a rant about an issue that’s close to your heart, can be taken the wrong way. In the legal context, a blog might even get employers wondering whether it is ‘safe’ to hire someone with such a public platform.
An open and honest dialogue about it is usually the best way to proceed: and in some professions, you may need to tread even more carefully than usual during an interview. See this collection of job interview comics to learn what (really pointless) job interviews may look like.
If you think that your blog is going to cause real issues, you may not want to advertise it. At the end of the day, a blog can be an entirely personal thing. You will have to decide which category your blog falls into, and act accordingly.
6: How to talk about your blog
As a blogger, you are well-placed to manage your personal brand. Use your experience to help you steer the conversation around your blog. Depending on the role and context, focus on the elements that are going to make you look more qualified and experienced. Concrete examples and data will help build your credibility.
If you are applying for a role where your blog is going to be a central part of your work experience, you’ll need to highlight all the different stages of your development as a blogger. Explain how the writing is just one element of a wider business and marketing process, and link blogging to other transferable skills and tactics like PR, content marketing, social media management and so on.
Your employer may or may not pay that much attention to your blog — it will depend on their interests and knowledge. Don’t necessarily expect them to ask loads of questions and probe deep — they may not. Be proud of your blog, or keep it private if that’s what it is, but try not to ‘overthink’ it too much. Society is changing fast, and the Internet is allowing people to have more open and honest conversations – blogging is just one part of that wider trend.