Looking for work

Ah yes, a timely article for this time of year, via Damien Katz:

Yahoo news: Ways to fix your life: Quit your job.

Hands up who’s quitting theirs in 2005?

OK, so where’s this coming from… Well, I’ve been with my current employer for some nine years now. For someone as wet behind the ears as me, that seems like a long time (I’m 32 and have worked for this lot since I left university at the age of almost 23 — only six years as a coder I hasten to add). There’s no such thing as a job for life, so speaking as someone who could be in the position of actually recruiting developers (if only the freeze that’s been in place since I was promoted to manager some three years ago was lifted), I’d pretty much require that candidates had some kind of experience beyond one employer (sixteen within a seven month period is probably pushing it though).

But how do you know who’s a good bet? How do you make that decision? Plenty is written about technical tests, the importance of the first interview, ya-da ya-da, but how do you know who’s good for you? Do you google people, check out their weblog if they have one, what?

Valid points as far as I’m concerned, and all raised as I considered my somewhat throw-away response to Robert Scoble’s post, Rob Fahrni is looking for a software development job in which Mr. Scoble says this:

Forget the resume. That won’t get you a job in today’s market. Your blog will, however.

I question whether that is for real in my response to his post, and there are plenty of other comments in there, so check it out. I’m really interested in this side of things, not just from the point of view from someone who would dearly love to be head-hunted ;-) A few fellow ’bloggers have secured new jobs since they started posting (Declan and Joe spring to mind), but just how useful is a ’blog / on-line presence in securing the next job or contract?


  1. I think "it depends". I think some bloggers are so closely tied to their job identity (um…ahem), that nobody will try to recruit them away (though I suppose if they go seeking on their own, their blog will help).

    In a case like yours, just theoretically of course, I think your blog can only help. I have a pretty solid impression of you from it (not that I'm hiring!!!). Now, if you were a livejournal kind of writer, you might prefer to be anonymous…Ed Brill#
  2. I can think of immediate examples where the blog would help, and others where they better hope the blog goes unnoticed. I imagine the resume is still the critical part. If, god forbid, I ever look for a job again, I think my blog would help me find a job, but only among the sort of employers I would like to work for. (Actually, I don't want to work for anyone else, but if I did) Does that make sense? The kind of people who would be bothered by my blog would not make very good employers for me, I'd guess.Ben Langhinrichs#
  3. Another thought on this…
    If you look really really deep into usenet archives, there's some stuff there that I wrote while in college. It's probably not real representative of who I am today. So what's the statute of limitations? Applies to blog, web content (as our friend "Keiot" found out many months ago), usenet, etc. Hmmm, that might make a good discussion. Perhaps I'll link over to you later todayEd Brill#
  4. Oh don’t go there re Usenet. I cringe when I look up some of my old stuff… chortle.Ben Poole#
  5. I still think that the resume and certifications should be the basis for a new hire. That should give you the best representation of person looking for the job.

    Blogs, can be a hinderance or a help, and quite frankly, if someone is put off by my blog, I don't want to work for them. You never can tell what will rub someone the wrong way. Was my staunch opposition to George W. this election something that a republican hiring manager would get rid of me for? Would a homophobic HR rep cast me aside simply because I support gay rights? Dunno, but in each of those respects, I wouldn't want to work for someone who would make that judgement based on my personal comments rather than my professional body of work.

    Now if it's down to myself and another final candidate, and we both have blogs, then the hiring person can read both and use the personal aspects to add another level to what they want to hire.

    Sometimes I look at my blog and feel that I may have crossed a line that could cost me a future job, but, I'd feel worse if I wasn't true to myself and what I wanted to express…

    When I was looking for a new gig last year after being laid off, I don't think my blog played a major part. I even told my current employer that I had one, and it didn't seem to scare them away :-)

    Take Care,
  6. I think the blog is going to be a bigger and bigger piece of selling your "stuff"…

    It helps if you don't see "Replication or Save Conflict" in your response list though ;-)Bob Obringer#
  7. Hmm. Bens comment - some blogs would put folks off - would certainly apply in my case.

    I guess that companies might want to hire someone with a track record of communication and industry viewpoint with public experience. But most coding shops just want coders.

    Do people with blogs make better coders ? Perhaps not. You need highly focused folks. Bloggers might be construed as folks who spend a percentage of their time blogging.

    To the original question - is this a good time to get headhunted ? Perhaps. The UK market is feeling a little less anaemic than in the past - but its still not 1999. Those days are gone, unfortunately.

    In terms of personal situation, there are a few times in life where "joining the dark side" in terms of going contract is a very bad move. Specifically, if you feel your current employment is stable, and you have small kids for instance. I do know *some* people who have made this work - but considering that some contract jobs involve staying away for weeks at a time - perhaps not a good fit with your personal life.

    Lastly, the bigger the company, the more insane their internal systems and the worse their payment record. IBM is probably the worst, with at least three caledar months between getting the invoice in and actually seeing money. Know this in advance so that your cash-flow doesnt dry up.

    I'm not usually one for recommending that you DONT jump to the dark side - but its certainly something you want to consider carefully.

    ---* BillWild Bill#
  8. Bob: yeah, yeah, yeah. Ha ha! My web interface is rudimentary at best (what were we saying about coders? ;-) ) so I need to fix it later. Ahem. I should convert this site to use a template actually supported by the developer, eh? **

    Bill: good points for sure. We’ve discussed this before, and I appreciate your input when it comes to talk of contracting.

    (** - in case anyone missed the joke, this site is hand-rolled)Ben Poole#
  9. OK I deleted the conflict. Shame on me for not coming up with a cunning way to do it before. ?ReadViewEntries can be quite handy… ;-) Ben Poole#
  10. Ben - this was up on the v6 forum:
  11. Ben,

    Having only had contact with you through blog and Lotus forums I'd say the blog has helped. I know I'd hire you purely on this…

    Ben (no the other one)Ben Rose#
  12. Great thread. One thing that I have come across is that when interviewing prespective candidates at my company I typically get this:

    "Hey I see you blog and I see that you like blah, blah, blah.". Not only are blogs good and bad for somone seeking a job, but they are also a way for someone to learn stuff about the people they may be working with. Then again, I am almost 42 and have had two jobs in my life after college. I wonder how many more jobs I will have between now and retirment? :-)


    BruceBruce Elgort#
  13. btw - Remember the SilkTide site evaluator? Maybe someone can develop a "blog evaluator" and let you know what it thinks of your blog content etc.

    BruceBruce Elgort#
  14. For me, blogging was initially an experiment that "she who must be obeyed" thought was going to be a waste of time. But is done more for me professioanlly and personally in the past 6 months than anything I had done in the past. It is because of my blog that I will be speaking at Lotusphere 2005 and Admin2005, have started writing for e-Pro and Advisor Media, and has helped me transition from "File Save" on to just plain old me:-).

    In the long run, I am hopeful that this "experiment" wil lead me to client(s) or employers that have vision and understand that people can work remotely and be successful or offer me an opportunity in a city/locale/country where my family can be together 7 days a week instead of my only seeing them on weekends (2 years now and it is incredibly hard on all).

    Certifications mean nothing without work and substance to back them up. Resumes are a starting point, but blogs really give an insight to a person, who they are and how effectively they are able to communicate in writing.

    Just my 1.5 cents worth:-).Christopher Byrne#
  15. Well let's add one other twist. It is easy enough to make a separation of business and personal blogs by publishing anonymously or under some wierd name for personal work and then one for the business side. So that way you can share both sides without getting them too intertwinedChris Miller#
  16. @15 - Chris…you been reading my "other" blog? ;-)Ben Rose#
  17. Ok now I am curious and HAVE to read this other blog:-)Christopher Byrne#
  18. I think people should put a name to their weblog. If they don’t, pseudonymous content tends to be along the lines of much of the dross that currently exists in services like Livejournal.

    Teenage angst-ridden poetry should stay in wee exercise books, not upon the world wide interweb…. :-D Ben Poole#
  19. I got a job cos of my blog. Spug#
  20. Real experience and solid references remain critical components to landing a job. It is true that I've changed jobs (and indeed, moved 3,000 miles across the country) since blogging, but blogging had absolutely nothing to do with it. After I was working the new position, I learned that neither the consulting company (my employer) nor the client (the reason my employer pays me) were aware of my blog. They were also unaware of the published articles I'd co-authored with Duffbert. What mattered was certifications (to gain a toehold of credibility), verifiable and pertinent experience with very good references, and positive interviews.

    For the record, my resume did list my blog url and I listed the published articles.

    OK, that being said, the awareness of blogs has grown much over the past year or two, and I expect that any future job search would prove that blogs DO matter now.Joe Litton#

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