Public meetings / Minisites / There is a gap between my Linkedin profile and my next career move - solving Sophia's Problem

Reference

  • Summary: In this essay, I am reflecting about a poorly written résumé that I have used in a job application for a software engineering position. It turns out that I didn’t help the HR specialist — I’ve demanded her to start digging. To point an example, my résumé included a link, at the end, pointing to a list of speaking events that I did since 2000. Such indication confused her — had no direct connection to the web developer position that I was applying — and explains why she said that I could be a speaker, not a web developer. On the other hand, thanks to comments from her, I’ve learned that there is an introverted nature in the programming projects; that requires special attention exactly because these introverted works may not always produce visible and easy to grasp information that would otherwise help her to get it. This essay explores the communication challenges related to certain kinds of works (extroverted vs introverted) and some strategies that can improve the communication of introverted works, like programming.
  • Parent project: mini sites platform, a platform for individuals and their multiple roles in life.

  • Reference meeting: "a06-770 tracking works and accounting 5487641e-366e-4cef-9d48-82eb574a3fa4 Sunday, February 2⋅10:00 – 10:30am"

  • Reference meeting: "a06-780 — mgalli — writing — career moves and the broad professional profile — Sophia's Problem 6176d4fe-4a24-4826-aaef-9d128a682142 Sunday, February 2⋅2:00 – 3:00pm"
  • Reference meeting: "a06-810 — mgalli — writing — Review to "career moves and the broad professional profile" — Sophia's Problem 6176d4fe-4a24-4826-aaef-9d128a682142 Monday, February 3⋅1:45 – 2:30pm"

  • Participants: Marcio S Galli

  • Text Language: en-US
  • Tags: About us, Personal web pages, Persona, Mini personal site platform, episodes, series of notes, drafts publishing, continuous publishing, milestone-driven publishing

Summary

In a recent job application event, I was able to make a résumé that was short and powerful — powerful to the point that may have suggested to the HR specialist that I was not a good fit.

It turns out that I was sending résumés that were actually quite short — like 2 pages in a PDF, conforming with size metrics. But on the other hand, it provided things like a one statement link pointing to a page showing 25+ presentations that I did across two decades of work. So far, not a problem right? But this résumé was used in a job application for a web developer role and the HR specialist explicitly told me that I could be better a speaker.

In this essay I am reflecting about how online perceived data can affect positively or negatively and how extroverted published materials may create more powerful messages in contrast with introverted types of work, like software code.

It didn't matter that I wrote thousands and thousands of lines of code. My 25 presentations stood out better. But wait, I didn't say in the résumé that in the past year I wrote thousands of lines of code. Conclusion? the résumé should be a the targeted short version, your filtered self, for that position. Besides that, it's your job to make sure that you communicate properly the goals you achieved and hours behind — it's your job to improve transparency and accounting for your experiences.

Introducing Sophia's Problem - the HR specialist was was convinced that I was applying to the wrong position

What is the Sophia's Problem? It turns out that Sophia is an HR person that interviewed me for a job position, a web developer position, for a company called Illusionary Networks. I have changed the name of the company and the person to preserve their identities.

As indicated, the position was for a web developer, a programer. During the interview, Sophia had a strong opinion, she was convinced, that I would not be able to be a good web developer role at their company. She indicated that their web developers would be required to do a lot of programming behind their desks and that didn't seem to match with my style. She added that developers are usually introverted people. On the other hand, she indicated that looking at me she saw someone that could be a speaker, for example. In my defense, and because of a belief that I am a good web developer, I gave her an overview, a comparison, exploring the investment in terms of time between my presenter role and my developer role. I pointed to her that she might have seen, at the bottom of my résumé, a link to a number of presentations that I did in about 2 decades of work. I guessed that I had done about 25 presentations in total.

So I have calculated the average of presentations per year — a bit above 1 per year. Then, I told her my guess about the time I have invested in programming. My guess was that it would be probably an average of 20 hours per week, I have estimated 250 projects. I also added that if I was to be a speaker it would be interesting for me to start improving that number of talks.

I didn't know that I was going to do this comparison. It was a subtle, a quick move that came out. But as I thought about this I was surprised. Not surprised in the sense of recognizing that I was a speaker but in fact surprised that I worked too much in my life as a web developer and I should have worked more preparing talks and other subjects. Of course, I enjoy speaking otherwise the little list of presentations would not be there at the end of the résumé. So I was impressed that I was really much more of a programmer than the speaker that I wanted to be.

Sophia's sentencing was greater the attempt to explain

But she wasn't impressed. Going towards the end of the conversation, with her mind not willing to change in any way, I accepted us closing the door for that opportunity. From my side, I have told her that I learned with the session. That the main learning for me was that my résumé was indicating things that have confused her, and them. To be clear about specific confusing points, I confirmed that the résumé I sent added complex noise of a 20+ year career, indicating things such as patent authoring, presenter at interesting conferences, and the role of a beer brewmaster. These were signs for them that I was an extroverted person and of course this extroverted profile didn't match with the profile that she presented of how she saw their web developers — introverted people working behind a computer desks.

Recognizing 3 jobs: Sophia's job, my targeted résumé's job, and the candidate

These points are here to help to understand the problem as a communication problem. I have used a "jobs hat" to be more specific about roles in this job application case:

  • Sophia's job — Sophia appeared in the scene with a clear job. She wanted to know if I was a fit and if I would, for example, put her career (and company) in danger. She was concerned that my broad experience, and my extroverted style, would put myself in a bad position, in front of a developer's role, and that bad position would, for example, push me to leave their company;

  • The résumé's job — When I have applied to that position I made a résumé. It turns out that many of my résumés are actually showing all my experiences since before my first job. Therefore maybe a résumé that includes links to things such as the list of 25+ talks I did in 2 decades, does not seem to help, even if it is provided at the end; considering that I am really applying to a focused developer role. Of course the HR person's job involves anyway the validation work — that is not the question here. The main problem is myself presenting to them my style. Therefore, now I better understand that the résumé is a targeted document, it needs to be in alignment with, for example a cover letter. And of course, the cover letter may be the place to tell them why you want and why you believe in yourself for doing that role that you want considering that you may not have exactly those things written in the résumé.

  • The human — This is the person, with goals and experience. And goals may not reflect experience. Another point is that the person's published data, in the online world, may not actually represent that real person. For example, a lot of work related to a changing career may not have yet posted data.

Exploring extroverted deliverables and introverted deliverables

Looking at myself online, for example using Google, one may not exactly find a correlation with the résumé that was given to that developer's position. This is because there is a higher indexing order, or search ranking, considering the context of social tools and published articles. In other words the audience may perceive, when doing searches in places such as Linkedin, Twitter, and Medium, much more articles about entrepreneurship and lean processes, some of the topics I wrote.

And it turns out that a query about myself won't bring my GitHub or other software projects. And why this happens? Is this a search problem? Well, not exactly. The answer to this goes back to the introverted vs extroverted problem. It's just that code is a more introverted thing. If one wanted to check myself properly in a variety of areas they would have to first engage a specialist that understands how the output of that area is indexed. But in my case, this HR specialist told me that he reverted the process — she decided to do the her part first exactly because she didn't understand my aspirations considering my long career.

A potential solution - accounting projects and online public statements

With this challenging situation presented, I thought about something I could do. It turns out that I work in a project for tracking my working hours. My current solution consists of using Google Calendar to put precisely all the hours for development projects, consulting, and more. In a nutshell I log everything I do. For example, the writing of this document was done in various meetings.

As part of this logging project, I have also started to post certain things — I call them public meetings. The idea was basically about posting some of the things that I was doing. But I noticed that the indicated problem (introverted vs extroverted) was also happening. It turned out that I was posting more about entrepreneurship topics and less about code. Which is a problem and it does not reflect my weekly reality.

Considering an improvement

The idea for improvement, that I am now considering, consists of creating a system to better track the hours of work from the expectation and project goal perspective. For example, if I am coding 20 hours for a project I should better be able to maintain a goal sheet, public, that properly links to all the child events, each activity.

With this parent-child relationship established I will be in a better position to automate the generation of visualization elements such as charts, or for example an infographic that helps the understanding of the nature of past experiences.

The key aspect here is to find a way to show that a certain "programming" milestone has links to many meetings and hours of introverted work. While an article that I did in one hour (say it's an amateur draft article) is more like 1:1. Of course a professional article could, for example, be derived of years of prior work, so the problem is exactly about the number of activities published and hours behind. From a general point of view, this is a call for, first, better accounting to the projects that we work; and second, better visualizations about goals and hours behind.

Marcio é um empreendedor com interesse em inovação, empreendedorismo, cultura e gestão. Formado em ciências da computação, Marcio fez seu estágio de graduação no Vale do Silício em uma das empresas que marcaram a história da Internet (Netscape Communications). Posteriormente mudou-se para o Vale do Silício trabalhando para Netscape / America Online, Yahoo! e posteriormente ao voltar ao Brasil, para a Mozilla Corporation (criadores do navegador Firefox). Antes de se tornar empreendedor e consultor, Marcio pôde colaborar com vários departamentos como marketing, inovação, engenharia e em times de documentação e evangelismo. Se tornou autor de patentes internacionais e gosta de estudar e escrever para os futuros empreendedores e gestores. Marcio é apaixonado por comunicação, negócios, tecnologia e cultura. Alguns dos seus livros preferidos são High Output Management, Conscious Business, The Hard Things about Hard Things, Maslow on Management, The Startup of You, The Alliance, Zero to One, dentre outros.

Made with ❤ by Marcio and MePlex