Does a resume tell the whole story of you and your capabilities as a candidate? If the answer is no, then the next question becomes: what does tell your full story as a candidate?
I asked three Bay Area employers how they research potential candidates. Here are four means they use, and how they use them:
1. Linkedin: This wins the obvious award for sites that employers use to learn more about you. The bigger question is, how do they use it?
Kit Ko of Wikia has an interesting perspective, “I look at Linkedin as more of a resume database rather than a pool of candidates to pull from. The majority of the members aren’t active users, meaning they don’t log on daily like recruiters or HR would”.
BMC’s Susan Lam sees Linkedin as a good tool for verification, “the companies, their roles, the duration –make sure it matches up to the resume I have received”.
The bottom line from these two pros is that you should update your Linkedin profile the same way you do your traditional resume.
2. Twitter: The Twitter platform has been an enigma for employers in the recent past. This is due to the fact that most employers did not have a strategy for using it, other than checking to make sure a candidate did not have offensive material posted. This is starting to change, and Twitter is evolving as a powerful tool for employers.
Kit sees Twitter as a great means to communicate, “Twitter shows real time interaction, if you reach out to someone on Twitter and they are an active user, the response rate would be 5x higher than someone on LinkedIn. (This is only true if a candidate is active, meaning they tweet daily or at least every other day)”.
The learning here is that if you have material that is strictly personal, keep it as a private account. Otherwise, keep an open and active dialogue on Twitter that is true to who you are. It helps augment your candidate profile, and provides a means to communicate.
3. Open-Source Forums: For Web Engineers, open-source forums like Github are critical in promoting open-source collaboration. Whether you are contributing or forking code, it displays your passion and areas of interest in development.
A top Google recruiter I talked to embraces the importance of open-source venues, “I will look through open-source forums to find candidates. Most of the people we hire won’t be on a job board or Linkedin. They are usually busy hacking through firewalls”.
Kit also likes open-source venues, and specifically Github, “it shows the candidate’s personal projects which could be very interesting when it comes to finding good engineers by looking at their sample code”.
4. Blog/Website: Showcasing your knowledge through a blog and/or website has never been more important. It is the most personal, and free form way for someone to communicate their passion and ability. This is especially true because most employers are looking at your blog and/or website to learn more about you.
“Their website can show what their engineering background is and if it would directly contribute to what our team needs”, says the top recruiter at Google we chatted with.
Susan says, “The candidate usually has their own website. Most engineers have a blog or website that tells more about their specific areas of expertise and passion”.
Your Full Story As A Candidate
While most top Web Engineers in the Bay Area are not actively seeking a job, there are still positives to keeping a well-rounded online presence. You’ve got top employers finding you with opportunities you may not otherwise know about, you can keep a pulse on your value in the market, and you’ve got a general sense of what technologies are hot. Even if you are not actively seeking a position, the time is always right to paint your own picture of who you are. The end benefit is the hope that top employers take the time to study up on you, and bring an opportunity with relevance.