Nate's Blog

Ramblings, mostly

The Time Bill Kennedy Kickstarted My Career

As a budding young software engineer, I frequented many forums, slack communities, IRC channels, and subreddits, consuming information to help me grow and asking questions when I felt stumped.

One of these resources was the subreddit r/cscareerquestions, which mostly contained freshmen in college asking, “How do I get hired at Google, and how much are they gonna pay me?” But there were all sorts of nuggets of wisdom in there if you looked for them.

One of my favorites was:

If you’re not getting interviews, fix your resume. If you’re not getting job offers, fix your interviewing.

The community as a whole was extremely confident that if you had a good resume, were competent in interviews, and were willing to move anywhere for a job, you’d have no problem finding one.

Two years into my career, I felt I was ready to find a better job. I fixed up my resume and sent it out. Days passed, then weeks, with no response to any of my applications. I never imagined that my career growth would be stunted at step 1: have a good resume. Yet here I was.

So, I turned to what had become my favorite resource at that current job, gophers.slack.com. This was my first job writing Go, and the channel they’d set aside for “Newbies” was invaluable as I trudged my way through abandoned repositories. I posted my resume in the channel for career advice and anxiously waited for suggestions.

Within minutes, I got a private message from some guy named Bill. By his profile picture, he seemed older than me, so I figured he must know what he’s talking about, right? He spent the next 30 minutes of his life picking apart my resume. I removed one section that Bill said didn’t need to be there, clarified a few of my experience statements, and tweaked my list of skills. I thanked him, he invited me to interview at his company, and that was that.

In the next week, I received half a dozen responses to applications inviting me to interview, and within a month, I’d nearly doubled my income after accepting a job that checked all of my boxes. And the job I accepted didn’t even make me whiteboard!

Thanks Bill