Q. I’m a 20-something hoping to get into investment banking. Another of my passions is fashion and I run a fashion blog. I have never used my real name on my blog as I’m afraid it would hurt my chance to break into banking. Is that a valid assumption and should I continue to hide my name or could it be seen as proof that I’m proactive?
A. I am a blogger and know plenty of fellow bloggers who work part-time or full-time at a “real” job and ALSO have a blog about something they are passionate about, whether it is parenting, gardening, or cooking. If you’re more comfortable remaining anonymous, then so be it. However, I can’t imagine why a prospective employer would mind if you had a blog, except if they thought it would take away from your productivity at their workplace.
One of the most successful dad bloggers out there does not hide the fact that he also works full-time at a corporate job. He has been on the Today show recently and is very public about his blogging. As far as I can tell, his employer does not seem to mind.
I suppose there are several ways you can “spin” your blog to a prospective employer, assuming you want to mention it at all. You can talk it up and say that it is similar to running a business and you have treated it as such – posting regularly, communicating with your readers, running appropriate advertising/sponsored posts (if you do that sort of thing).
You can also play it down and say it is a hobby and you write posts for fun about a topic you are passionate about. At that point you can emphasize it’s a fun night time or weekend activity so that the employer doesn’t become concerned that you might take time to blog at work. Hope this helps! – 40-something, blogger, New York
A. In my experience, most i-banks have a fairly strict social media policies, especially if you are going into roles that are client-facing. I would keep your blog not using your real name until you land a job, then look at the social media policy for the company and see if it is allowed.
I would also suggest that if you like finance, there are tons of finance openings at fashion/retail companies that would allow you to combine both your passions. Fashion/retail companies usually have much less strict social media policies that would let her blog under her real name, which is ideal. I think it’s really hard for blogs to get popular under “fake” names, the ideal situation is be able to use your real name on the Internet for branding purposes. -20-something blogger and full time employee at a media corporation
A. I would recommend that you find out the social media policy of the places where you are applying. In general, I recommend staying anonymous on social media while interviewing unless you have a really strong personal brand where it makes sense for the position.
If she you have a fashion interest, I would suggest talking to some people who have left I-Banking. I have a few friends who did it for two years and absolutely hated every minute of it. However they were recruited out of top universities and they felt like they couldn’t turn down the offers.
If you decide to apply for a career in the fashion industry, I would tailor your resume to include her blog, and social media presence. I would be fascinated to see how you handle IB and fashion blogging in the future!!
Readers chime in…what is your experience? Can you combine a professional career and branded blogging?