CV as TagCloud

Idea from Elly and Robin.

From Wordle (a beautiful Java Applet)

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Does my CV look big in this?

In an ideal world, potential customers would read this blog then decide that they want to do business with me.

In the real world many of my customers haven’t heard of a blog, and are quite happy that way thank you very much.

Given that a lot of ‘selling’ to these customers is on a personal level, the fallback is to use the traditional common or garden CV. Which gives rise to the following problems :

  • Too Long or Too Short? : How do you get 13 years experience into a document without it looking like a version of ‘war and peace’?
  • The curse of the technical buzzword : You need to include the technical buzzwords (Oracle, Java, Agile etc) to show you can do the job (a lot of people just do a 1st scan for words like this). But, put too many in, and you just end up looking silly.
  • People or Technical skills: Apparently you can have great technical skills , or great people skills , but not both. How do you stop yourself getting pigeonholed? What about non-traditional experience (e.g. blogging, writting, speaking, training?)
  • Customer confidentiality: A lot of the stuff we do is internal to clients. But potential  clients need to know what you’ve done to judge your work. Where’s the balance?

You can judge how successful I’ve been here: Paul Browne’s CV online [pdf].

Yes, I’m slightly more available than normal in the coming months. Yes, I’ll consider proposals slightly outside ‘normal’ contracts, if the projects and upside are interesting. And yes , I may just take some time off that I’ve been promising myself (but I’ve said that one before). Email me at PaulB@firstpartners.net.
Note to recruitment agencies: I’m very happy consulting through FirstPartners. No, I don’t want a permanent job. No, Cork is nowhere near Dublin , but I will consider Belfast. No, I don’t believe that you’re in for anything other than the money – that’s ok , you probably have a family to feed; but let’s not waste time pretending otherwise.

Enterprise Java Developer Wanted

A good friend of mine needs an Enterprise Java Developer, to be based in Dublin Ireland (sorry , no Teleworking). It’s a contract position and the project is high profile and sounds quite interesting. The main reason I’m passing on it as the exact location is the only place where I cannot get to easily from Drogheda! One man’s poison is another man’s meat (or something like that).

With that information (i.e. next to none at all) I’m going to ask you if you’re interested. Yes , I could put all the buzzwords (the usual Spring , Ajax, JSF, EJB , Hibernate), but to be honest I don’t know where the technology road will take this project.

One small catch. We need to weed out all the muppets that are out there. So, you need to have been blogging about Java for the last couple of months. If you’re interested , leave a comment and I’ll pass on your details.

Just who is Paul Browne, Digital Video Research?

Well, it’s not me. Despite my best efforts at blogging over 2 years (and a bit of Search Engine Optimization), a Google for ‘Paul Browne’ shows that I am only number 3 on the list. Even worse , the ‘Dr Paul Browne (PHD) DCU’ hasn’t been updated for 3 years. What do I need to do to get to number 1, get Twenty Major to take out a hit on this guy?
Paul Browne Search on Google

On a related note, Jason Kolb has a list of things to do to protect your online identity (good). John Breslin has a list of (bad things to avoid) and we’ve blogged about this notion of ‘blogs as the new CV‘ in that future employers will want to be checking out your blog (as a harder to fake version of your CV).

Update: As of Sept 2007, a Google Search for Paul Browne now shows this blog in No 1. position (unless Google are doing some fancy personalisation of searches. Next step will be to trademark (or even better find a way to Patent) the name and charge all the other Paul Browne’s for it use.

You , Paris Hilton and the value of your Personal Brand

What do you , Paris Hilton , Jade Goody and the contestants on Celebrity Big Brother have in common? No, it’s not some sort of bizarre male fantasy, but the value of your personal brand. These are all people , who may or may not be talented, but have transformed themselves into household names.
Celebrity Big Brother Logo

Wait a minute you say – I’m a (delete as appropriate) :

  • Accountant, who thinks grey suits make people strangely attractive.
  • Banker , who plays the financial markets but only relates to people as costs on a balance sheet.
  • IT Geek and proud of it , even if I’ve nothing to do but blog on a Friday night.

What’s a personal brand got to do with me? I’m (thankfully) not about to release a fitness video or a perfume. That’s only for A, B or C list celebrities. Down here in the Z-List of Technology Blogging , you get draft Web 2.0 books , and you will enjoy them!

Maybe instead of brand , I said ‘reputation’ or ‘recommendations’ you would understand better – the notion that people know of your work , and are happy to employ you on that basis. Previously , this was by word of mouth. Now , with blogging , everybody can be a minor celebrity in their own niche. We’ve written about this before (‘are blogs the new CV‘), but with tools like LinkedIn, the trend is really taking off.

Two Irish people who understand the value of a ‘personal brand’ very well are David McWilliams and Sheila o’Flanagan. Both have taken what could be mundane jobs (Economist, Writing) and turned themselves into Stars. OK , Enterprise Technology is never going to have same mass market appeal, but just as David and Sheila are well known in our own little Irish pond, perhaps someday I could be the Jade Goody of the technology world.

Update:To show the power of blogging , when I did a search for David McWilliams site, despite his massive RTE exposure , it was Joe Drumgooles blog that came up first.

Update 2: In response to a question, the use of Paris Hilton in this blog post has nothing to do with Damiens infamous ‘how to use google to get a girl and get laid‘ blogpost. Nothing at all. It has nothing to do with Britney Spears either.

Java Meetup in the Virtual Dublin Pub

Java Meetup in the Virtual Dublin Pub

By Paul Browne

Did you want to go to the recent Java Meetup (also here) but couldn’t make it? Were you washing your hair or doing your nails? Perhaps you were stuck at the other end of the country, (or some other country!)

So , for all you people who find it difficult to make it every month, we’re pleased to announce the Java Meetup in the Virtual Irish Pub at 7.30pm on Tuesday 25th July. We’ll be talking about ‘What technologies should I be learning in the next 12 months?‘. See the drama unfold – Will the server take the strain? Will there be more than one person there?

Stephen has already blogged about it , so that makes two. Thanks also to John for the original idea, Jakub for all the hard work in the getting the (real) Dublin Java Meetup to this stage, and Donal for the ‘try out everything before the day’ advice!
Seeing as we’re spreading our wings, we may even invite the .Net, PHP and Ruby guys (after all , enough of them turn up at the Java events !)
the quiet man

Update: The Virtual Pub is now live (here).