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August 30, 2005 / jnolen

Blogging got me a job!

Yes, dear reader, I have tremendous news to announce: after many months of planning, I am leaving my current employer for a new job. And it's all thanks to my blog. But it's something of a long story, so let me start at the beginning.

I decided late last fall that it was time to start planning my next career move. I felt that I had advanced as far as could in my current position in terms of what I could learn, the technology I was working with, and my own chances for career progress. In any case, I'm really a startup person at heart. And as my company continued to succeed financially and grow larger, it moved ever further away from the kind of environment in which I was excited to work.

I also knew that I was going to be very particular about the kind of job I would be want to take — there was still plenty to like about my current position, and I wasn't ready to leave just for the sake of leaving. For my next job to be better than my current one, I knew that I wanted to work a company that

  1. was small enough that I could make a difference,
  2. built a product that I believed in,
  3. shared my values about Agile development and openness and
  4. had lots of room for both me and the company to grow.

One of the first things I decided to do was begin this blog. I thought that when I was ready to apply for a job I could point potential employers to the blog as a means of demonstrating that I could communicate, occasionally had good ideas and was passionate about technology and where the industry was headed. My expectations for the blog were not high, but things quickly started to get interesting.

Within two months of my first post, I had already seen comments from people at several of the small companies I had been writing about. They were universally supportive and seemed genuinely interested in my opinions. It was nothing concrete, but I hoped that they might remember my name if I ever decided to apply for a job.

However, what would happen over the next few months completely blew me away. I continued to write about the companies and products that I found interesting. During the spring I was contacted by people from several of those companies asking me if I was interested in a spot on their team. By the beginning of the summer, I found myself in fairly serious talks with two of them.

This was so much beyond my expectations that I scarcely believed it: I never sent my resume to any of these companies.1 I didn't initiate contact with any of them, except by blogging about their products. I was well outside of Silicon Valley. I didn't attend any of the big conferences. I had never met any of these folk personally. There is absolutely nothing to which I can attribute this attention except the blog.

What followed was months of waiting and more months of negotiation, none of which is all that interesting. It was a long process, but I finally managed to work out all the details a few weeks ago — I have a exciting new job with an outstanding company, and have my blog to thank for it.

Believe me, as I now know from first-hand experience, this blogging thing works. It gave me the chance to engage in a conversation with a huge network of people, most of whom I had never met. It let the potential employers decide that I might be a fit for their company and come to me (rather than the traditional approach which would have had me shotgunning resumes to anyone with a job posting, only to have them ignored or lost in the stack). And it gave those potential employers a much deeper understanding of who I was, how I thought and what I cared about than a resume possibly could.2

And so I am thrilled to announce that I'll be starting a new gig very soon. If you're in the SB area, pop on over to Pub Quiz on Wednesday and help me celebrate the next chapter in my career.

Careful readers will note that I have yet to reveal the name of my new employer. (Yes, I'm crafty like that.) Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll tell you exactly where I'm heading and what I'll be doing when I get there. So stick around.

1. Though it was linked from the blog. Interestingly, the one company to whom I did send a resume (SixApart) never contacted me at all.

2. Over the last few months, when I've had the opportunity to talk with friends about their own career plans, the first thing I've told them is, "Find the field in which you want to work and start blogging about it." I know that we're still on the leading edge of the blogging curve and that one can't expect to generate this kind of attention forever. But right now, if you pick the right niche, you can command an audience far more powerful than the traditional job seeker.

(See part 1 and part 3)

One Comment

  1. Confluence: Atlassian News / Dec 1 2005 11:36 pm

    Atlassian Newsletter December 2005

    Welcome to the December Atlassian newsletter\! December Newsletter? Actually you are not hallucinating. We have been remiss in sending a Newsletter for quite some time. But we’re back, we hope you enjoy, and we welcome ideas and comments….

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