Your Reputation Precedes You

How do scrum masters search for jobs?
 Just like anyone else.  We check openings on places like Indeed, Dice, and LinkedIn.  We submit resumes.  We go to interviews.  We network as much as we can.  In fact, we network A LOT.  Most people in the tech industry get jobs based on recommendations from their peers.  Let that sink in for a moment.
How others perceive you – your reputation – can possibly determine whether or not you get a position you really want.
However, the tech industry is both smaller and larger than you think.  A scrum master’s reputation can either be a great boost to his/her chances for employment, or it can be the biggest hindrance there is.  Take Denver, for instance.  There is a large tech industry here, but as far as metropolises go, it’s also a small place.  Therefore, many people who call Denver Metro their home have worked with each other in some way, shape, or form.   Project managers, developers, testers, system architects… they all may  have worked together at previous companies.
Recruiters know this and leverage social media sites like LinkedIn to dig up any dirt they can while pushing candidates through the hiring process.  I once applied for a job through a recruiter; her client searched for me on LinkedIn and discovered that one of her QA Managers used to work with me.  So, she pumped him for information and even got him to contact me via email.  Because I trusted him, I gave him a little too much info about why I was leaving my then employer, and she decided she didn’t want me after all.  It was sneaky on my former colleague’s part, but it was my fault, too, for not being a little more reserved.  Had my former colleague worked with me beyond one crazy project, he would have known I was a capable leader and scrum master and probably could have defended my position a little better… that is, if he had been so inclined…
My point is this: your reputation can depend on anyone’s perception of you, and ANYONE can gain access to your former colleagues through LinkedIn.   For more reasons than this, you should always conduct yourself in a professional manner.  You never know when a bad day will come back to haunt you.
In addition, never underestimate the power of cultivating the relationships in your network.  Touch base once in a while just to say hello.  I know that seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people ignore this little gem of social etiquette.  One woman I worked with years ago recently contacted me out of the blue and asked me to critique (aka edit) a cover letter.  She even asked me for a reference.  I hadn’t corresponded with her in over two years.  She didn’t even bother with the niceties of asking about my family or my current job situation.  I told her no on the basis that I hadn’t worked with her in the field for which she was applying.   I also had no time to edit cover letters.  Asking for favors is difficult enough as it is.  Asking for them without having an established relationship is even more so.
Should you continue to leverage your network to gain employment?  Absolutely.  In this Age of Information, however, be proactive in cultivating your reputation AND your relationships.  Make the most of everything, and you’ll increase your chances of landing the job you want.

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