Working the Network for Web Work
I've never met Will Pate, but I've been checking in on his blog since he was out in the Maritimes. This morning I swung by there and found a fascinating post: Web Marketing Prodigy and Sales Rainmaker Seeks Awesome Job.
I guess I've seen people use their blogs to find work and initiate transitions before, but it just hit me again how the web changes turns these things upside down. Instead of the solitary job-seeker firing out resumes to oblivious HR departments, or even working the phones to see if anyone in their network can help hook them up, they can put the word out online with posts, resumes, profiles, work samples or whatever (and still work the traditional back channels). Will wants to stay in Vancouver, but lists some other places he'd move to for the right opportunity -- the potential web of connections and interested groups could be pretty big.
Then the strength of weak ties can really work some magic, when the distributed network starts stumbling across (and sending links around about) someone looking for work and seeing their interests, skills, voice and network displayed in one place with a great deal of depth. A powerful model, especially when an employer can use the medium to find and communicate with others in the job seeker's network. Within a few clicks, I could find the blogs (and contact information) of pretty much everyone Will has worked with in the past year -- if I'm looking to hire a web marketing and sales specialist, that information is invaluable.
The other thing I find interesting about this phenomenon is seeing these young, smart webheads leaving great jobs in web companies on the rise -- it seems to be happening all the time. Will pointed to another one using his blog in the same way. Job turnover isn't surprising, and the whole free-agent ethos isn't new, but something feels right about working at a place long enough (18 months? Two years?) to learn some new skills and help an organization with a specific goal, and then move on to new challenges before the old ones get stale.
Update: Just in case anyone wonders whether Will's job-hunting approach worked, he got interest from 30 companies and picked one.