Monday, January 27, 2014

Blog for you

In my talk, I give that advice that your blog is for you, it’s a chronicle of your career, and it’s really written for the person that is considering hiring you, not for everyone else.

Matt Mullenweg agrees. He’s one of the founding developers of Wordpress, and his post was picked up on Twitter by John Batalle and a few others. He says you should:

  • write for yourself
  • write for a single person who you have in mind as the perfect person to read what you write

That second, single person, is the HR person, the hiring manager, the person that might offer you a job.

The first one, that’s you. Your present self, that’s solve a problem and is explaining it (showing your communication skills), and your future self, who might come back to this later and learn from it, or revisit the

However in both cases, you want to do a good job. Proofread your work. Get opinions from friends. Make sure that you are proud of what you write.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blog for your interview

There are any number of reasons to blog about things. Perhaps you want to become famous and well known, perhaps you want to help others, perhaps you just want to unload your knowledge. All of those are valid, and good, reasons to blog. However I have one more: blog for your interview.

Most of us don’t want to be famous, or even well known. Most of us just want to have a successful career and want to be sure we can get a job if you need one. Blog for those reasons.

I could encourage you to write about your career, but not to teach others. Write about your career to show the person that might consider offering you a job what you know. Write your posts that show that you have knowledge and

  • can solve a problem
  • have knowledge on a topic

As I mention in the talk, If I am interviewing you, or considering it, I don’t care if everyone else in the world knows how to backup a database. I care if *you* know how to do it. Your blogging on the topic, on simple topics, lets me know what you understand and how you solve problems.

This doesn’t mean going through Books Online and re-writing all sections. However it does mean that as you perform tasks, even simple ones, write about them. Tell me why you did something, why you chose those options for backup, what the implications are. This tells me what you know, and what you don’t.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Becoming a Leader

Leadership is a skill and quality that so many companies desperately need. Sometimes they aren’t even aware of how little leadership they have; they just know they can’t seem to get work done well.

You don’t have to work in management to be a leader. Some of the best leaders in my business, software, are the developers that convince others to work in a certain way. They find ways through their sharing of knowledge, setting a great  example, encouraging others to just be a better professional.

I’ve got a few links here that might help you improve your leadership skills and stand out a little more from others. Think about building skills, saving these stories and examples, and writing about them on your blog, or mentioning them in a resume.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Learning to Write Better

Recently I ran across a blog post from Brian Kelley, a colleague in the SQL Server world. He noted that one of the things that makes him a better professional in his business is being able to communicate well.

I agree, and it’s one of those things I mention in my branding presentation, but don’t emphasize. Whether you blog, speak, or communicate in any way, poor communication skills stand out. Great communication skills just flow, and let people understand your message easily.

I have a few ideas for you to improve your skills.

Bookmark these links and then periodically take a few minutes and learn to improve your skills.

One other resource I’ll recommend as a place I ask questions or learn from the pros is I suspect there are exchanges for other languages as well (like Spanish).