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I am an active user on StackOverflow, I ask questions and answer questions. Yesterday, I realized StackOverflow and other SE sites are not about reputation and a number next to your name to keep you pleased, it is about helping others (for most of you I think).

Service is about helping others, whether it be about teaching kids to read, babysitting, helping the elderly, helping charities etc. Service nowadays plays a prominent role, companies and universities would like to see that their applicants have somehow contributed to the world. It is definitely a big decision factor.

There is extremely little chance I would consider putting "Answering questions on StackOverflow" as one of my services, but would this generally be considered as service? Just a question.

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So you're asking whether or not to put your SO participation on your resume/CV? –  Bart Jan 19 '13 at 10:26
    
@Bart I guess, but the job does not have to be programming related. And my reputation wouldn't necessarily affect it. Its my contribution to the community and wether that would be considered as service. –  MCKapur Jan 19 '13 at 10:29
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I don't really get what you mean by "considered as a service". It's a service perhaps to the programming community. You can give it whatever name you like. And you can put in on your resume under whatever header you like. Not under "employment" of course. But you might want to clarify. –  Bart Jan 19 '13 at 10:30
    
@Bart The action of helping or doing work for someone. –  MCKapur Jan 19 '13 at 10:31
    
Well, let me put it like this: I don't put my participation on my resume/CV at all. There is some flair on my website, but that's it. I can see how one would consider it in a moderator position. But I personally don't feel the need to add it. –  Bart Jan 19 '13 at 10:33
    
@Bart OK, thanks. –  MCKapur Jan 19 '13 at 10:34
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I wouldn't, since it doesn't help the company that I'm applying to. You are answering some random people's question. If you really want to, showing how your answers are relevant to the job might show how knowledgeable you are in the field. –  nhahtdh Jan 19 '13 at 10:37
    
It's better to offer the service to the company that is supposedly paying you for it. –  prusswan Jan 19 '13 at 10:39
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I agree with @nhahtdh. Perhaps putting together a portfolio of responses, summarizing your profile may help? –  ericmjl Jan 19 '13 at 17:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It depends, but in my opinion you should put the link to you StackExchange profile in your resume, because the company that wants to employ you can see

  • your programming skill (from various answers)
  • that you are willing to help others

I was talking to a friend about a job, and he responded asking if I could send him my resume and links to my GitHub, StackExchange, CodeChef and similar sites.

I guess it depends, but in my opinion most companies will find your involvement as a plus, so I don't see why you wouldn't enclose it in your resume.

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Don't forget what well-written questions and answers can show about your communication skills. –  CodeGnome Jan 19 '13 at 22:56

There are at least three specific situations where including Stack Exchange participation can be valuable for your career or for landing a job; however, keep in mind that this is only valuable to a certain extent.

1. Project Management Certifications

How Can I Maintain My PMP Certification and Earn PDU's In an Inexpensive Manner?. Here, Ashes999 writes:

I posted about this before; one of the best free ways to eearn PDUs (in category C -- self-directed learning) is to spend time on the PM Stack Exchange website (i.e. this site). You can use RescueTime to track hours; I've claimed around 4-5 PDUs already from this method. (You can read more details in my blog post here.)

Other than that, PDUs generally cost about $10 each (that's the most cost-efficient I've seen) if you purchase materials.

In short, if you're a professionally certified project manager, you can use Stack Exchange as a way to help maintain your certification.

2. Microsoft MVP Certification

We have a few very high rep members of this site, such as Jon Skeet, who are also a Microsoft MVP. While I don't have all of the details about this program, providing professional leadership in the Internet community is one of the requirements.

From the Microsoft MVP Website "Contributions" page:

MVPs reach out and contribute to online and offline communities through a broad range of channels. These include online forums such as Microsoft Answers, TechNet and MSDN; wikis and online content; conferences and user groups; their own podcasts, Web sites and blogs; and articles and books.

3. Stack Exchange

When Stack Exchange hires from the community, sometimes they look at how active a candidate is in the Stack Exchange community. For instance, Kevin Montrose, the author and maintainer of the Stack Exchange API, was hired because he had already started working on an API, and Stack Exchange needed someone to build an API.

In Kevin's case, highlighting his Stack Exchange contributions marked him as a top candidate for a developer position in Stack Exchange.

4. What about other employers/industries?

Now, with these examples in mind, don't get too carried away. Many employers realize that Stack Exchange can be a bit of an addiction, so focusing too much on this may actually backfire on you. If I hire you for a job, I want to know you're dedicated to my organization, not Stack Exchange, so be careful how much emphasis you put on this. Don't overdo it! ;)

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Nailed it on the addiction part! –  MCKapur Jan 20 '13 at 0:23
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@RohanKapur - To some extent you have to call it what it is. I've seen smokers try to say they do it because of the social aspects or because it forces them to stop and take a break, but we all know the real reason. I love SE just as much as the next person, but you have to know where to draw the line. ;) And it's not just SE, the Internet itself can be addictive. in this case, good quality Q&A and knowledge sharing is a good thing, but like any other skill, you have to be sure to market it where it's marketable. ;) –  jmort253 Jan 20 '13 at 1:36

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