It’s not a trick question. Many freelance writers would say something along the lines of “not unless I pretty much wanted to ruin my career.” Being known as someone who discusses their clients in public isn’t a good reputation to have. If I were looking to hire someone to work with me, I would hesitate to hire someone who I discovered was engaging in this type of behavior. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to be next on the list.
If you wouldn’t put information about a client on a billboard, then you shouldn’t be posting it online. The Internet is like one giant billboard where anyone can see whatever you write. Potential clients do search for information about writers online before making hiring decisions. Not only do you need to be careful about what you post on a blog, but you also need to know that your tweets and comments on discussion forums may show up on Google and other search engines.
Why am I talking about this issue today? I saw a thread on another discussion forum where a member had posted an e-mail she received from a client who was not pleased. In fact, this client fired the writer in question. While the client was not professional and the writer is probably better off not working with that person anymore, posting the correspondence online wasn’t appropriate either, even though the person’s name was not published.
I’ve been fired before – in the brick and mortar world and since I’ve started freelancing. While it can be upsetting, I’ve never discussed what happened in a public forum. I’ve taken time to think about the events that led up to that decision to learn from them so that I can do better next time, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to share them with anyone else. I won’t even share the contents of an e-mail I got from a client once where the subject line told me to grab a helmet and a flak jacket before opening it – trust me, it was interesting reading!
So what does this have to do with job hunting? Everything! You need to guard your online reputation carefully. Potential clients can and will check you out before hiring you. They get an idea of who you are and the kind of work you produce based on how you present yourself. Unless you would feel comfortable posting something on a billboard on a busy downtown street in your city or town, maybe you should rethink the matter.