This is further proof that blogging can help smart people get jobs.
This got me thinking a bit about the effects of blogging on the job hunt. While the reaction (to my post and to Russell's post) has been overwhelmingly positive, a few folks have suggested that he would have never gotten in front of Jerry Yang if he didn't have that blog.
That's true, but I don't know if anyone really thinks about why that's true.
Who You Know
At least around these parts, it's fairly well understood that some of the best job referrals come from friends, family, and past colleagues. In other words, the good job leads come from your social network.
This is not new--at least in the tech world. I've seen many examples of folks who got jobs because of contacts they made on e-mail lists, in newsgroups, and at technical conferences. And it's common around here to see groups of people who've worked together in previous jobs. For example, there's a group of engineers who all left SGI in the same timeframe and ended up at Yahoo. This happens quite often--especially with startups.
What You Say
I also know of folks who are in their current jobs because of things they've said to largish audiences. They build up an audience by writing for a magazine, trade publication, or maybe by writing a book. In doing so they established their reputation and people began to see them as thought leaders in a particular field. That made them more valuable to the publication and more valuable to potential employers.
Traditionally, this type of publicity and opportunity has been limited to a much smaller group of people. There are fewer slots available and the barriers to entry are higher.
Weblogs Combine These
The interesting thing about weblogs is how they are able to enable both of those while lowering the barriers to them at the same time. By starting a weblog and sticking with it, you find yourself knowing more people who you'd have otherwise never met. But more importantly more people will come to know you. And at the same time, you're writing and writing frequently. If what you say is interesting to enough people, that reputation builds quickly.
Earlier this year a friend of mine joked that I probably wouldn't need to bother keeping a resume up to date anymore. He figured that instead of having to look for a job, people would come seeking me.
He was right.
I'm not going to detail the job offers or inquiries that I've fielded in the last year or so. That's not the point.
I've talked to a few other folks that have experienced this too. Blogs significantly reduce the friction involved in establishing professional connections. They're lubricant for your professional social network--the one you didn't even know you were going to have.
So, how's this relate back to Russell?
Without his weblog, I probably won't have ever heard of or met him. (His blog is one of the first I began reading a few years back). That means I wouldn't have been able to make the introductions at Yahoo. And even if I had somehow, I wouldn't have been able to easily point at his writing and provide some of the instant credibility ("see, read these posts!") that can make the difference in situations like this.
Blogs make it easy to establish connections, a reputation, and do both with nearly infinite reach compared to the traditional approaches.
Posted by jzawodn at November 22, 2004 09:43 PM