Job Application? Name and weblog only, please!

Scott Hanselman wrote about being put off by a resume submission with this sort of e-mail signature: Joe Blow, MCSE, MCSE+I, MCSD, MCT, MCP. He jokingly (?) proposed that we sign our names with something a bit more useful: Scott Hanselman, 11 Successful Large Projects, 3 Open Source Applications, 1 Collossal Failure.

Yep, I'm with you. I've got an MCSD, but you won't find that anywhere online.1

Cert's don't answer most of my questions as a resume reviewer:

  1. Are you a job hopper?
  2. Do you have a record of actually shipping code? Version 1.1? Version 2.0?
  3. Have you maintained production applications?
  4. What's your work ethic?
  5. Are you a self starter? Can you pick up new technologies quickly?
  6. Do you just learn what you have to in order to get by, or are you pushing yourself?

Let's go beyond certifications - resumes fail pretty badly here, too. They take a long time to review, and they haven't really helped me find good candidates in the past. Oddly enough, many of these things ARE answered by including a weblog link after a signature. A technical blog is a much better reference than a list of certs, buzzwords, or even a long job history.

Applying for a job? Skip the cert list, skip the buzzwords, and skip the worthless resume. Name and weblog only, please!

1Oops, except now. Backspace backspace backspace...


  • I'm looking for a new job in web development. I'm using my blog to market my skills. I like to write and I would like to get a job writing for blogs but most businesses don't realize that good content is the key to search engine optimization. Instead they want web developers to write code that stuffs keywords in the HTML. They are so busy stuffing keywords that they never even read their web page content which is usually worthless.

  • Having a weblog doesn't mean anything in this field of work. At best, it means you have decent writing skills, and that you're outgoing. Look at Scott Hanselman. What did he ever create? Would you hire him? I wouldn't.

    Narcissism at work.

  • I'm guessing you're largely tongue in cheek but people in HR wouldn’t have time to hunt through every applicant’s weblog, trying to get a handle on what they are like or piece together a history of what they have done. A summary of that sort of information will be needed. Once the number has been culled to a manageable level _then_ they can look at the weblogs and put the names through Google.

  • Pawel -

    Work ethic is important. I've interveiewed (and, unfortunately, hired) too many programmers who are good at trivia but don't do the work that's assigned to them. You can have a great life ethic, but if you don't do the work you're paid to do you're a bad expense. At the end of the day, work ethic is at least as important as skill.

  • Ake-

    Having a weblog doesn't necessarily mean a lot, but a good weblog can tell me a lot more about your passion for software development than a resume can. Resumes lie, but a good developer's blog shows a lifestyle of continuous learning, contribution, and response to critisism in a way that's difficult to fake.

  • James-

    I'm not completely tongue in cheek here. I've read thousands of resumes and interviewed hundreds of developers, and I'm convinced that resumes are a very poor description of a developer's potential. I'd propose the opposite of your process - first get a qualified list from developers with decent weblogs, then get their resumes and run them through the HR baloney. Anyone can whip up a resume, but it's rather difficult to fabricate a weblog history. If we restrict applicants to those who have a weblog they'd consider submitting, I'd bet you'd only have to pick through a small number of qualified applicants. Who knows - reading their blogs might actually teach me something...

  • Jon -

    I'm saying only that If people are responsible in their life they are responsible at work as well. I can't imagine a person that plays role X at work and plays role Y at home. It sounds like schizophrenia ;).

  • I've had people I've interviewed tell me they read or have read my weblog during their interview. It's really weird. I always assume that no one is reading my weblog. I don't know if it helped me get the position I'm in now. I certainly don't think it hurt.

    Ake: "Look at Scott Hanselman. What did he ever create? Would you hire him? I wouldn't. "

    WTF, are you trolling? Like him or don't like him, it's pretty easy to see what Scott H. has created if you read his blog. Heck, his blog *is* one thing he's helped create, dasBlog.

  • Actually Control-L puts you in the address bar, and Control-F puts you in the search box. (You wrote, "Alt-D pops you in the address bar, and Alt-D, Tab puts you in the search box.")

    For me, hitting the control key is easier than hitting the tab key.

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