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Get noticed by building an online persona

arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Employers are realizing that what people do online can actually prove their value as potential hires. It shows that you are passionate about what you do. It shows that you would like to elp others. It can also show that you know your stuff. I often find my book reviewers through their online persona -- i.e. blogs & forums. There are a number of ways to build your online persona.


  • Building a LinkedIn profile -- http://www.linkedin.com/. Many recruiters go to LinkedIn to search for potential candidates. More and more business professionals are using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of time. Google "why use LinkedIn" to get started and for good tips. What ever you learnt from the "Java/JEE Resume Companion" can be applied here too.



  • Building your own blog. Blogs are about creating your own brand. Your blog should be informative, unique, and help others. You can get started with your blog at http://www.blogspot.com/, http://wordpress.org/, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-e-commerce/. Here are some examples that I came across -- http://jenkov.com/, http://javapapers.com/, etc. With so many blogs created, here are some tips to market your blog -- http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/06/25-tips-for-marketing-your-blog/


  • Mentoring others at forums like http://www.coderanch.com/forums. Also remember that by helping others, you will learn from others' issues and problems to fast-forward your career.


  • Contributing articles and short discussions at http://java.dzone.com/.


  • Setup a http://www.google.com/alerts on topics that interests you. As a custodian and author of your blog or website, you'll definitely want to be on top of news and happenings that interest you and your blog.


  • Publishing books have never been easier with the advent of Print On Demand (POD) publishing companies like http://www.lulu.com/ and https://www.createspace.com/. You will also learn on the subject matter by writing books as you have to do lots of research on it. If the book is good, you can also earn a small passive income from the sales.


  • Building a programming portfolio to stand out -- http://grok-code.com/58/the-power-of-a-programming-portfolio/, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/299911/ho...ective_programming.html?cat=31, etc. These links are based on Janices discussion at Java Ranch.


  • Make your blogs and websites easily searchable through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) -- http://webdesign.about.com/od/seo/tp/seo_tips_and_tricks.htm.


  • If you are selling books or certification resources, use google adwords to promote your products and services -- http://www.google.com/adwords.


  • If you want to include advertisements in your blog, use http://www.google.com/adsense.




  • You never know. With some clever ideas, you can open more doors and opportunities for yourself. You can turn your followers into clients or employers. You can meet influential and like minded people. You can also go places. Get that thinking cap on. I am currently working for an employer who read my books when he was a developer, and now he is an associate director, who hired me . He climbed the corporate ladder not just with his technical skills but with great soft skills, getting things done with passion, staying visible, and great work ethics. I am starting to realize that there are things outside being a passionate Java/JEE programmer/designer -- what do the fellow ranchers think?


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    Jimmy Clark
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 2187
    What if someone wanted to build an online persona by copying your material (via copy and paste) and put in on their online profiles and blogs?

    I'm not talking about a messy, unthoughtful copy-paste job. I'm talking about a strategic and well-thought out online copy and paste of your wonderful material, so that I can get a job. I will follow a bunch of people online and simply take material from a group of people and sites like JavaRanch (once I get somone to answer my questions) and state on my profiles and web sites that this was created by me.

    How would you prevent this from happening?
    Henry Wong
    author
    Sheriff

    Joined: Sep 28, 2004
    Posts: 18829
        
      40

    Jimmy Clark wrote:How would you prevent this from happening?


    IMHO, there is a big difference between getting a job, and keeping a job. If you want to cheat your way through certifications, fake your resume, fake your portfolio, etc. to get a job, it is entirely possible. Keeping that job is another matter...

    Having said that, I am sure that there are those that do this -- and don't mind hopping job to job every year, or every few months. And not doing anything productive or useful.... Personally, I can't understand how anyone can take the stress of doing this. I would go nuts, if I spent all my time covering up and looking for the next job.

    Henry

    Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
    Deepak Bala
    Bartender

    Joined: Feb 24, 2006
    Posts: 6661
        
        5

    I would go nuts, if I spent all my time covering up and looking for the next job.


    I guess the covering up would be the job ;)

    Also ++ on arulk's tips.


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    Jimmy Clark
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 2187
    At the end of the day, if you don't "truly" understand the concepts of software engineering and all of the variations and options, then surely you will have a hard time retaining a position.

    The big problem is that the organization has wasted $$$ on hiring you....and maybe even lost money by having to deal with the "damage" you caused, e.g. waste of time, money, resources, poor code, etc. Why do they say, "Why do most IT projects fail?"?

    Create all the web sites you want, blogs, facebooks, twits and tweets, personally I don't care and don't want to hear about your "online examples" when I'm interviewing you ... and I know first hand that I am not alone on this perspective. Good luck on getting "noticed."
    Parag Pathak
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jun 22, 2010
    Posts: 57
    Many months back I saw these advertisements on LinkedIn. Important question is who should do it? Someone who gets attention in normal way or someone who does not get attention in normal way? How much HR people understands technical blogs? IMHO blogs are not way to catch attention of hiring manager. Blog is something which someone want to share. That's all. If someone is using it to catch attention of hiring manager, obviously it is copied and if I am interviewing, I absolutely not interested in what blogs you write. I am interested in can you do what I expect you to do ( which is not writing blogs )
    Paul Clapham
    Bartender

    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 18570
        
        8

    Jimmy Clark wrote:At the end of the day, if you don't "truly" understand the concepts of software engineering and all of the variations and options, then surely you will have a hard time retaining a position.


    Yes, that's true. But if you don't mind getting a new position every year or so then that isn't so much of a problem. (The company I worked for had a CEO who was in this category once. He came in, screwed up the company, then collected his bonus and off he went to his next job.)

    It used to be that people could call the previous employer for references and get an honest reply like "Yes, XXXX worked for us for a year and he was a total disaster...". Now you have HR policies which rule out that sort of thing on legal grounds, so all you get is "Yes, XXXX worked for us for a year." That makes it much simpler for drive-by employment.
    arulk pillai
    Author
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 31, 2007
    Posts: 3219
    Any tool or resource can be misused. People who misuse it will sooner or later get caught. People who use it honestly can go places. There are positive and negative sides to anything you do in life.
    Whether you have a blog or not, the prospective employers need to take the screening process seriously. I am not advocating to hire people based on their blogs. What I am saying is that employers can find and short list people based on their online persona. For example, by following Java Ranch for a while, I have built an opinion of various people as to who know their stuff, who is learning, who is passionate about what they do, Who can think outside the box, who looks at things in a positive light?, etc.

    If someone is copying and pasting materials, then they are not only cheating others but also cheating themselves. When you look at others' blog, you look for creative ideas and original thinking.

    A good screening process can easily weed out those who are faking or lieing. Also, as Henry has pointed out, getting the job is only part of the story, and one has to hold on to it, and grow within the organization. Also, just 1-3 months on the job is enough to see if someone has faked his/her way into the job. That is why you have a probation period.

    Having said this, no one can under estimate the power of self-promotion and effective marketing. This is not true only for selling products, but also for selling services.
    Niranjan Deshpande
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 1277
    Thanks for all the insight arulk!!!


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