When your skills feel outdated

At some point you may decide it’s time to find a new job.

You’ve been maintaining a Web Forms app for 5, 10, or even 20 years and you find yourself looking fearfully out the window at the unfamiliar world of javascript libraries and RESTful APIs.

Besides simply watching Pluralsight courses or building to-do list apps, what can you do to stand out to recruiters and actually be prepared for the new role?

Here are a few things I have been doing that keep recruiters digitally pounding at my door. It won’t guarantee you a new role, but it should at least keep your “hire-ability confidence factor” up.

1. Dive in to a modern technology stack that interests YOU

Don’t just pick what’s hot. Pick something you’ll enjoy. Five or six years ago I got hooked on Android, mostly because I’ve always used Android phones. I followed the usual pathways of learning, and eventually built a couple apps, one of them actually earning me my first independent income.

By having two apps available, supporting thousands of users, and with the code available and open source on github, the quality of my workmanship is readily available. If a company needs an android developer with real experience, it can actually be proven.

2. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated with FINISHED projects

You might knock sites like LinkedIn but I attribute most of the inquiries I get to it. If you’re able to display real projects you’ve worked on (i.e. actual apps on the app store), you’ll be at a great advantage.

You might not realize it but not many people actually FINISH projects. They burn out or lose interest before it gets done. Check out the book Just Fucking Ship by Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman if this sounds like you.

Psssst! Know anyone who might want to read this?

3. Write about and teach what you are learning

I’ve only been writing for about a year on different topics, but doing so has really gotten me immersed in the culture and community of the topics I write about.

I’ve been working on a line-of-business style Web Forms app for over five years now but in order for me to write about current topics, I have be well read on all the popular blogs, follow the big names in dotnet, and help out (and be helped) in forums.

If I hadn’t started writing, I would only know what I know. Which means I would only know small areas of the monster that is Web Forms.

You also might not think you’re expert enough to teach something you are brand new to, but there is almost always someone just below you that would benefit from someone in a similar proximity.

Wrapping up

To summarize: Stand out. That’s key in my opinion.

What is everyone already doing? They are plugging away silently in the background working for MegaCorpX.

They fill recruiter’s inboxes with bullet list resumes that all look the same.

Do the opposite.

Immerse yourself in a technology you love. Write about it and teach it. Network and make connections.

Another way you can stand out is by staying informed. Join my list and you'll get more helpful shiz like this straight from me on a regular basis.