Saturday, November 7, 2009

public profile: The idea is simple: Students, Postgrads, academics, professionals

The idea is simple:
Document what you do, keep a public profile of your activities. A realistic profile, not advertising hype.  I would recommend Google sites as a great starting point, (instead of a blog).

For Undergrad students: this is useful for when they go for job interviews:
"What have you done other than get good marks in all the standard subjects ?"
"Well Sir/M'am, if you care to look at you'll see my final year project, my third year powersupply design. On my blog site at  you'll see what I do in my spare time."

Now it's important that this site is NOT thrown together in a huge mess in a week or so. It is important that it has grown over years. That it is genuine.

If you've been asked to help out Open-Day at your University, why not make the best of it and see it as an opportunity ?

My favourite grumpy old man has just taken this idea a few order or magnitude further:
----------- I quote from his blog:  ------------

This is a talent market. Developers are not even remotely interchangeable. Therefore, recruiting should work like Hollywood, not like union hiring halls of the last century.
In a union hiring hall, downtrodden workers line up like cogs, hoping to make it to the front of the line in time to get a few bucks for dinner.

In Hollywood, studios who need talent browse through portfolios, find two or three possible candidates, and make them great offers. And then they all try to outdo each other providing plush work environments and great benefits.

Here’s how Stack Overflow Careers will work. Instead of job seekers browsing through job listings, the employers will browse through the CVs of experienced developers.

Instead of deciding you hate your job and going out to find a better one, you’ll just keep your CV on file at Stack Overflow and you’ll get contacted by employers.

Instead of submitting a resume, you’ll fill out a CV, which links back to your Stack Overflow account, so that you can demonstrate your reputation in the community and show us all how smart you really are. To a hiring manager, the fact that you took the time to help a fellow programmer with a detailed answer in some obscure corner of programming knowledge, and demonstrated mastery, is a lot more relevant than the Latin Club you joined in school.

------------ end of quote --------------

Students who are "with it" will understand this.

For academics and professionals:

The same applies.
The inspiration for this came from seeing a well known figure in Engineering Education Richard Felder, put his wisdom and ideas publicly online:

It was Felder who gave me the key idea to build up my own profile on the web. I realized that any employer's site was subject to that employer and if you move on most of the material gets binned.
Hence the idea of making it accessible to all. Hence THIS blog you are reading now.

For Researchers, PhD students, academics.

Another excellent example is collaborative publications such as is exemplified in the ChinaBeat blog:
A group of academics get together around a topic and contribute to it.

Search Engine Journal is another collaborative effort, worth checking out

A student of mine who has set up his own

As a student: Making the best of things such as Open Day


Replies and correspondence from the above blog

Dear   K...
..... having your own profile is probably a good way to say: look this is my public stuff.

The other secret with these blogs thinggies is: you ONLY put out what you are comfortable putting out.

In the early days of blogging people did a psychological vomit on blogs... revealing things most private and perhaps best left that way.
Those days are long since gone.

Now if you have a site like Felder's  and people will quote you from it, see what you have been doing, invite you to talk about stuff. They will see what your emphasis and interest is. Do we want to invite this person to that conference ? Is she suitable to talk about XYZ ? etc...

Focus your blog on a topic: ie. Laos, or Lao health or ..... whatever.
I have different blogs for different aspects, some for travel others for teaching, and others for just whatever whimsical ideas pop into my brain.

For me as an academic: I use blogs to say to students.
See this link ? Read it.
Then talk to me again.

or to point people who ask about things over and over again to ONE clear answer.

For you as a PG research student: it is your public research profile.
it is your shingle.
You can have another blog for consultancies, etc... add to it as things come up.

Making the best of things

Technically: setting up a blog and using it is about as hard as setting up web based email and using it. I use Blogger by Google because it is easy to use, and they make it with a conscious emphasis on simple to use. E.g. lots of little things they have actually thought about and made them easier to do.

Recently I've moved to  Google sites as a great starting point, (instead of a blog).
Best to keep one site on one topic, start a new site if you want to start a new topic such as sport, etc...