An old developer once told me that when it comes to building a career in software it is not the companies that matter. “What matters is people and projects,” he told me. If the tech bubble bust of 2000 taught us anything is that companies come and go. The work you have done, the people you have met, and the projects you have worked on matter far more than the company you worked for.
In my 20 years of professional career I never got a job through a recruiter. In fact, I hardly ever had to put my resume together. Every job that I had since college was via a personal referral by somebody I already knew. I put more value on the people I work with and the projects I do than on the companies I work for.
I joined LinkedIn over ten years ago when it was still an invitation-only social network. One had to be invited by an existing member. To connect to others you had to know their email address to begin with. Since then LinkedIn has relaxed the rules by which one can send invites to others. They also allowed paid members to send invites and inquiries to whomever they wish.
LinkedIn today is a smorgasbord. If I look at my LinkedIn inbox it is filled with mostly cold-call and form letter inquiries from recruiters. I don’t think most recruiters even bother to peruse my profile and read about my background, which happens to be an open book.
Many people use LinkedIn the way they use Twitter, posting witty GIFs and links unrelated to professional networking. In fact, LinkedIn has a lower signal-to-noise ratio than Twitter these days.
Many employees feel that updating a LinkedIn profile will somehow indicate to our employers that we are disloyal.
We need to go back to the basics. We need a social network that software professionals can use to share knowledge, to network, and to refer each other to jobs. We need the members to feel that they will not be spammed by recruiters nor will they be retaliated against by their employers. We need a new professional network service that adheres to these principles:
- Join the network by invitation only. We need to get back to what the meaning of the “network” is. Only the people that can be trusted are invited. The profiles are not public.
- Job postings are by insiders only. Recruiters often post openings that are made up to get attention of candidates. If a developer knows of an opening in their team, they post an opening.
- No professional recruiters. Developers and team leads only need to apply. All members must understand that being part of a professional network is not a sign of disloyalty to their current employer. No member shall be retaliated against by their employer for being part of the network. A member who spreads false rumors and uncertainty about fellow members will be kicked out and publicly shamed.
Is there such a network already ? If yes, send me an invite! If not, anyone interested in starting one ?