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Article on going independent and self promotion


Jonathan Goodyear, aka the Angry Coder, has released part 2 of his "Going Independent" article series with "Marketing Yourself."

http://www.angrycoder.com/article.aspx?cid=6&y=2003&m=1&d=18

In this article Jonathan shares his secrets for filling your independent conulting pipeline with work via self promotion and personal marketing.

As a sidenote, I consider self promotion and marketing just as important for non-independents, given that your likely to find your next job from your personal contacts, rather than monster.com or the classifieds (at least in theory).   

  Does anyone else see any value in that ?

Timothy_R_Platt@developercoach.com
Monday, January 19, 2004

You know what?  I'm tired of stupid networking and self-promotion.  I became a software engineer because I have no people skills, and I'd really like to sit in front of my PC and interact with it because it's a completely rational device.  The only reason we have to do this nowadays is because imbecile business/HR types have turned resumes into meaningless collections of vacuous buzzwords.

anon
Monday, January 19, 2004

>>>given that your likely to find your next job from your personal contacts, rather than monster.com or the classifieds (at least in theory).    <<<

"in theory"?  Every job that I have ever had has been obtained through direct of indirect personal contact.  During a several month period of unemployment last year I sent out several resumes every week in reply to classifieds or online job postings.  None of them produced even an interview.  Fortunately, a friend had an opening and I am working again.

This does make me kind of nervous about job stability because I don't have very many contacts.

mackinac
Monday, January 19, 2004

My own personal experience, I've held 4 major jobs in 10 years in IT:

1 obtained through personal contacts
2 obtained through on-line job listings (Monster.com and dotnetjunkies.com)
1 obtained through headhunter

However, the 1 job I got through a personal contact is what allowed me to get my foot in the door with no real experience.

That's why I said "in theory".  Curious to hear everyone else's experience. 

Timothy_R_Platt@developercoach.com
Monday, January 19, 2004

In the begining I too have studied CS because I didn't have social skills.

But, in the mean time, I have also earned very strong social skills, so I became interested in leading teams, marketing, business, etc.

MX
Monday, January 19, 2004


  During my BSCS course, I got a part-time job in a lab, through a professor.  One year later, I got an internship through a friend who worked with me in the lab.  After the internship I was hired, and am here ever since.

  So I think networking has worked for me. :-)

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Monday, January 19, 2004

1 job thru personal contacts, 1 job thru dice.com.

The dice.com job paid much better.

van pelt
Monday, January 19, 2004

I don't have an extensive publication list, but I can attest to the value of publishing for marketing. I've never had a published article that didn't generate at least one response almost immediately. I'm still getting responses and offers from things that I published five years ago.

Clay Dowling
Monday, January 19, 2004

----"I'd really like to sit in front of my PC and interact with it because it's a completely rational device."-----

speak for your own! Mine is only rational until I turn it on.

I've just done a training session today for twenty staff. Exactly the same hardware, and an identical cloned image on all machines put on last night. Four or five asked for the disk to be entered, which meant the program had to be shut down and restarted whereupon the problem disappeared. Three or four just froze so evrybody has learnt the first lesson of software diagnosis: the off button (or failing that the power cord) is your friend.  Even more fun was playing one of the videos in the program; it would only run as long as you kept on moving the mouse about! Leave the mouse in one place and it would stop! Something to do with communication with the projector, since the problem didn't seem to ocurr with the machines connected to monitors, but rational!?

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 19, 2004


Just FWIW, if you want to play around with writing, I'd highly suggest article submissions for AngryCoder.

If you love the process and it comes easy, you might want to do more of it.  If it's painful, well, hey, you can limit your options to focus the things you really want to do.

Oh, and he pays, which is cool.


regards,

Matt H.
Monday, January 19, 2004

>> I consider self promotion and marketing just as important for non-independents, given that your likely to find your next job from your personal contacts, rather than monster.com or the classifieds (at least in theory).

Yeah, I agree completely with what you say. I think most job hunt books and articles converge on one central truth: hire decision are made emotionally, not logically, and the decision makers don't want to make a big effort to arrive at a decision with which they're comfortable. This is classical "What Color is Your Parachute" type strategy. So having your reputation precede you is a powerful tool, much much better than being an unknown and explaining yourself anew at every interview.

Two problems with self promotion at the techie level: 1) our supposed congenital lack of social skills; 2) the academic/collegial culture of always assuming that you don't know what you're talking about w/o double checking it with peers.

In my own case, (2) has dogged me throughout my career. College inculcates respect for amassed preexisting knowledge. So the best students graduate from college often feeling vaguely unsure of themselves, like they'll get a pop quiz on what they know at any time. It takes one F**K  of a long time to unlearn the "grade A student" way of thinking - which gets interpreted as "unsure of himself" by the prole non technical rabble (PHBs in particular).

While in reality, people who know less than us are *far* easier to impress than true peers are. And yet the best developers, etc. find this very hard to believe on an emotional level.

So, we need to get beat over the head with the self-promotion mantra. I'm only now starting to understand and believe it.

Is that relevant enough for you? ;-)

Bored Bystander
Monday, January 19, 2004

Brilliant insight Bored. I am in total agreement with you.

Tony Chang
Monday, January 19, 2004

I think the article is about looking for clients for a consulting business, not looking for steady-paycheque-jobs.

Nigel
Monday, January 19, 2004

Yes, the article is about getting clients for a consulting business.

The OP was asking how relevant the same ideas are to getting a steady-paycheck-job.

Z
Monday, January 19, 2004

It's not a matter of social skills. It's a matter of working with computer geeks all day, and perhaps wanting to associate with people who aren't going to talk about computers when I go home. I need variety.

So my network is practically non-existant.

Sum Dum Gai
Monday, January 19, 2004

>I think the article is about looking for
>clients for a consulting business,
>not looking for steady-paycheque-jobs.

To which I would add "... So what?"

The techniques the AngryCoder recommends are about making yourself more marketable.

If you write articles, get certificates, form a user's group, get speaking engagements, etc, etc but want to be an employee:

1) You annual reviews will be better
2) You will be exposed to contacts outside of your company.

#2 is important.

Have you ever heard the phrase "Sometimes the way to be most effective at your job is to act like you don't care about it"  ?

In other words, if the status quo is a problem, and you risk your job by challenging the status quo, challenging the status quo is -still- the right thing to do.

In _other_ words, if you know you can have a new gig in 2 weeks, and know that your company would be a fool to let you go, you are much more likely to speak up in the midst of a bad decision instead of "Keeping your head down and shut up."  You are also much less likely to put up with a crappy job because you are "scared"

Just my $0.02


warm regards,

Matt H.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

"Sometimes the way to be most effective at your job is to act like you don't care about it"

Wow.  I must be the most effective employee ever!!!

David
Thursday, January 22, 2004

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