A few good friends have been recently laid off, and I’ve been left thinking what to do after that happens. First up—I don’t have any jobs in my back pocket, and I don’t know anyone hiring right this second. My thoughts are more general than that.
Even if you haven’t been laid off, I would start preparing now. You should start building your profile and be prepared for whatever happens. This is pretty much what I have done the past few years, as I started thinking about moving from day-to-day software development to a full-time Agile Coaching role.
I would recommend building your personal profile so that people will know you and think of you when they have a problem to solve. My approach to achieving that—provide service and value to others—will cause good things to flow from there. So, although the goal is create your personal brand, I think the best way to do it is thinking what other people will find valuable.
- Get an email address with your own domain name. Having a hotmail/yahoo/gmail address just looks unprofessional. Domain names are cheap, and you can alias your domain to a Google apps or any other account. It just looks better.
- Start a blog. Don’t use blogger—it looks cheap. Pick something you can control the look and feel. Typepad and wordpress are both great choices. Focus on quality and value, not frequency. BTW Use feedburner from the start if you ever migrate; it will save a ton of hassles.
- Find your local Agile group (Scrum Community PBwiki has some). Start attending meetings. Ask relevant questions, become known, become a speaker.
- Find an Agile mailing list (or two) that interests you (Scrum Development, Agile Testing, TDD, …);start answering questions (when you have something of value to add).
- Start twittering. I’m: https://twitter.com/mlevison. If you look through the list of people I’m following, you will find many interesting people in the Agile community. You can also search on “agile.” You will see interesting conversations float by. I use tweetdeck as my tool.
- Try LinkedIn—yes, I’ve dissed it before, but you might get something from it. I haven’t. My LinkedIn profile.
Remember your focus is helping other people. Do that and they will pay you back in spades. It may take a while, but eventually it will. In my case, it took about two years, but in the end it helped me land my ideal job: Coaching Agile teams.
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.