I've seen at least one mention of something I said a couple days ago when I mentioned that Russell will be Yahooing Soon:
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
Feel free to delete this (since it's a plug), but this is one of the reasons I created Blogger Jobs (www.blogger-jobs.com). Any job postings I'm seeing in the blogosphere go there for this very reasy. Feel free to email me any as well :)
I'll agree with you 100%--blogging is the reason I got my job at UserLand.
Sorry for posting it here but I'm not sure if Yahoo reads users' feedback on its new front page.
The new front page goes awry when the link/text under the search tabs is too long (e.g. when you don't have the original Verdana font but a replacement like on linux boxes); everything is then in one column, right-aligned; you can see a screenshot of it at www.kurnik.org/yahoo-fp.png
Please pass it to the right people.
We could simply say that blogs are the electronic equivalent of public speaking. Except that blogging a much lower barrier to entry and that your blog keeps working for you even when you're asleep ...
So... you're saying that if I ever want to get out of my group, I'll have to post more geeky stuff and actually talk to people?
So that's what I need to do.
No, it's more than that. Public speaking is mostly one way. Blogging establishes a persitent record and makes it easy to refer others to your thoughts long after you've spoken them.
I know I've entered in potenetial SA candidates name into Google before to see if I could 'find them' out there. Sure, it's not foolproof, but usually I have enough information to more or less gather if it is the correct person.
It's interesting also to track that person on their behavior on mailing lists. Do they ask questions? Are the questions good ones, or something a quick google query would have answered (Sure. Everone asks dumb questions from time to time)? Do they answer other people's questions? Are they trolls?
I imagine this extends to blogs as well. Instead of getting a 'nutshell' view of someone in a regular interview - if someone has a blog with any history, you can gain more 'experience' of that person.
I mean. Would you hire a potential SA candidate that had a personal weblog with no mention of any sort of technology on it? Sure. There are exceptions to this. When I regularly maintained my blog, I tried not to be too technical. But, I regularly mentioned other industry things that were going on.
Then again. I have a picture of a duck on my webpage now :)
I agree strongly with your comments merely by witnessing (in near real-time - the beauty of the blogosphere) the hirings of Beattie and Cole by Yahoo. But, these folks already appear to have footholds into the Valley job market.
What do you suggest for a new blogger in a minor metro area such as Salt Lake City, UT?
How are the right people driven to a site when all the "right" and "connected" tech people seem to live and work elsewhere?
Thanks for your time and efforts on your blog.
Since you're such a popular guy, how about spreading some of that love by having a link of the day or hour or half day to some lesser known bloggers. you could randomly select one from some people who have left links on past comments.
"Blogging establishes a persitent record and makes it easy to refer others to your thoughts long after you've spoken them."
And the lesson here is not to blog after one two many drinks of the alchoholic variety after the latest Yahoo/Google/WebmasterWorld bash.
Have a "un-professional" anonymous blog for those drunken (and invariably more artistic/left brain) musings. :-)
btw , that blogger-jobs thing is a darn good idea - kicking myself I didnt think of it. The people that run that could be onto to something.
> What do you suggest for a new blogger in a minor metro area such as Salt Lake City, UT?
Intending to start a blog just to get jobs?
Uhh, yeah. My current gig (and in fact all work in the past three years) has come because of my blog (or efforts detailed therein).
Totally agree, Jeremy.
wwwooaaah - hardcore blog site there Jay! Massive info-injection bandwidth hog. On my bookmarks , definitely - no wonder you got gigs from that.
Do I detect sarcasm, justin? Funny, that.
Very nice post. I've always thought of blogging as fun. Never thought of it as a tool though. For the flip-side, I've also heard of people that have been fired from their jobs for posting confidential info, or snide remarks about co-workers.