On increasing your foodprint

Hi, friends!

There is one more reason to start blogging, in addition to documenting your thoughts for yourself, producing helpful content for your fellow readers and enjoying the attention:

No matter if you just starting your career or you’re already senior level – sooner or later you want to apply for the next job. Of course, most important is to match the required core skills, like X years of experience in developing systems of kind Y with framework Z and so on. But you also want to demonstrate that you care about your field more than just doing your job. So what is your little extra engagement that tells you apart from your peers and lets you qualify for a higher level job than your current one?

It’s up to you! Anything could fit your specific skills, passions and profession. As a college graduate, it may be your GitHub page to show some interesting pet projects. As a young professional, perhaps you are proud of some some contributions to a popular open source project? As a senior, have you given a talk on a conference yet?

This is what I refer to as your food print. What ever way you choose to increase it – just think about it ahead of time! The moment you want to send out your resume, it’s to late to start doing something.

When I appliead for a new position in early 2018, I put the link to my Youtube channel onto my CV, where I gave tutorials to Java Web Programming for beginners (German). I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea; but in one interview, my potential future boss had actually looked at my channel and liked it. He even said from my video he had now understood a topic which he had only heard about but never dug into (I didn’t ask which one, but I would bet on Dependency Inversion… he was a database person). That was a great compliment for me and boosted my confidence during that interview.

I turned down that job offer a week later and joined my current company instead, but that episode still confirmed my assumption: Don’t be shy. If you do something unusual, that could proof you have an additional skill related to your work, own it! Put it into your profile, don’t be afraid that it reads silly, just because your blog / channel / talk / project is amateur level. I’m not asking you to present it as your top qualification, but put it to the less important section amongst language skills and certifications. Most of the time it will not come up in the interview anyway, but eventually you will be asked what you did there and why – then go and collect some extra points.

(But: Clean up after some years! What’s on your CV today, doesn’t have to stay there forever. When your proficiency level has moved on, that extra may not demonstrate an additional skill any more. Then mentioning it make you look smaller, not better. The same holds for each line on your CV, though. After your second full-time position, you may stop mentioning the internship you did at college. The level of detail of your less recent job description should decrease over time, and so on.)

I think, writing a decent blog is one of these extras, that you can easily do. Of course, don’t expect that your blogging will be so impressive that they would throw a director’s position at you for that reason. But for sure there will come situations when your qualifications are just on the line of being sufficient or not, or you’re in a close race against another candidate. Maybe then your writing just demonstrates a deeper understanding of some technology, or the talent to explain and teach, or your involvement with related fields like business and management. And finally it’s your wider food print that will give you the edge.

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