Is Your Online Profile Hindering Your Career?
Not everything you need to know about landing your next programming job has to do with your technical coding skills and acing the technical parts of an interview. For one, you have to make it to the technical interview in the first place. There are hurdles you must jump before you'll be given a chance to show a company how good a programmer you are.
Since technical interviews are time-consuming processes conducted by valued technical personnel, recruiters will do their best to ensure that you're a good fit for the company before allowing your application to proceed to the technical stage. Not just that you have (to their limited experience) the right skill set, but that you also have the right attitudes and the right history. Companies don't want loose cannons or prima donnas. They want qualified programmers who work well in teams and write consistent, reliable code within the appropriate deadlines.
This is where the Internet and the World Wide Web can hinder your chances at getting a job. Ten years ago, it was hard to find specific information about anyone online. These days, recruiters can find vast amounts of information about prospective employees with only a few searches. This is especially true for new graduates who've grown up with the Internet. Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, personal blogs, forums, open source projects - these are all places where recruiters can get a better feel for what kind of person you really are. The online profile they develop about you will influence whether or not your job application proceeds to the next stage.
So before you apply for a job, take a good look at your online profile. Are your skills and qualities being shown in the best light possible? Are there things you've said or done in the past that will make it harder for you to get hired? Are there things you could do now and in the near future to improve or sanitize that profile?
The Internet's not going anywhere, and neither is your electronic footprint. Making sure your online profile doesn't hurt your chances at getting hired is just another part of the job application process. You'll find tips and strategies about this and other aspects of getting hired as a programmer - including lots of sample technical questions - in the second edition of Programming Interviews Exposed.
This article is based on material from Programming Interviews Exposed : Secrets to Landing Your Next Job, 2nd Edition (Wrox, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-470-12167-2) by John Mongan, Noah Suojanen, and Eric Giguère.