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While this is half tongue in cheek, this website and community may end up being the premier site that over half the world's programmers regularly attend - especially if Jeff and Joel create localized versions (with automatic translation, please).

The rep doesn't have a 1:1 correlation with experience, ability, etc. It does strongly hint at the ability to quickly comprehend and answer a variety of questions (check out the top 25 - few of them strongly specialize in any one type of question or answer). It also strongly hints at an obsession and perhaps spending more time on this site than working, but there may be a balance point with optimal rep - enough to indicate expertise, not so much to indicate wasted time.

At some point Stackoverflow may hit a critical mass where hiring managers will understand and use it as a hiring resource - checking out not only one's rep, but the types of answers and questions the potential hire posts, and seeing how their peers respond to them (comments, votes, etc).

I can't see what the tipping point would be though, assuming it exists in the future.

  • At what point would you seriously consider adding a link to your SO user page in your resume?
  • At what point would you seriously consider putting your rep number on the resume itself? (before you say never, first imagine a world where this is commonplace, and then work backwards to see what drastic, unimaginable changes would have to occur before you felt it was useful)
  • If you knew your future employer is going to be looking at your questions and answers, would you review them in advance and consider closing/deleting/modifying anything?
  • Ancillary - Reputation represents time, and time can also be represented by money. At what point will we see financial transactions involving rep? This certainly would happen before rep became a resume option.
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Of course, as soon as I read this, I had to go check to make sure I was in the top 25. Phew! Just made it. –  Paul Tomblin Jan 8 '09 at 15:45
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I especially like HermanD's point that rep can indicate a genuine interest in and love of programming - passion for it. Sometimes it's hard to discern programmers who love it from those who say they love it. stackoverflow.com/questions/424727/#424753 –  Adam Davis Jan 8 '09 at 16:04
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Just another vague ego boost. –  Robert S. Jan 8 '09 at 19:42
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 29 '10 at 15:20

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31 Answers

I think that if you need to include links to sites like SO in your resume, your resume isn't strong enough. If you're that good, you shouldn't need to sugar your resume or yourself with such additional things. If anything, SO would be a footnote to an interview.

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@icelava: I disagree with your statement. Until I came to Google, I'd say most of my career progression was through "extracurricular activities" - things like being an MVP etc. Being at Google probably counts a bit more than my previous jobs though. –  Jon Skeet Jan 8 '09 at 15:58
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I have seen some people on this site mention that there are under employment age. Surely it would be quite impressive for such a person to mention SO as, perhaps, a passion or hobby? –  Remou Jan 8 '09 at 16:06
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I see no problem at all with providing extra-curricular activities alongside work experience, but specific details like your SO rep is a bit far. Also, SO itself is too specific - your resume would be just as well served (if not better) with a comment like, "Actively involved with technical blogs... –  Jeff Yates Jan 9 '09 at 20:41
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I included a link to my SO profile on my CV recently and it was very well received by the interviewers - it was a topic of conversation in all of the interviews that I attended –  Russ Cam Mar 26 '09 at 13:39
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SO's reputation is something your employer should find by Googling your name –  Shervin Apr 22 '10 at 11:27
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@Kop: I turned 34 last month. –  Jon Skeet Jul 29 '10 at 18:17
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Don't put the rep number in the CV, sounds tacky (imo). However mentioning you use the site in a non-academic part of the CV might help to show your interest in programming and indicate you are serious about it. That you read up on things and help others in your spare time.

Often interviewers of (good) companies will like to see that you are passionate and hobby projects help as well as what reading you do on the subject. Stack Overflow would count IMO, they can see your passion and your skill, they might even be aware of the site!

EDIT: Better yet, Just leave it for the interview, they might ask something i.e "DO you read any programming books/blogs" and you can bring it up then.

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Er...No..It Would not. One is a recognised academic score/qualification the other is a arbitrary score archived on a website. –  Damien Jan 8 '09 at 20:01
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I think GPA is a much more objective standard (though, it certainly is flawed) than "rep" on SO. –  user138665 Jan 29 '09 at 8:30
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Personally, I think a high rep on SO might actually hurt your chances of getting a job. In order to get a high rep, you probably spend way too much time on the site and not getting your work done. Most employers don't like that sort of thing ;)

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Which reminds me: I need to get back to work... –  Treb Jan 8 '09 at 16:03
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I don't want to work for companies that consider stackoverflow a waste of time anyway. –  pinouchon Feb 11 '13 at 16:40
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Just say no.

By all means use questions/answers as evidence that you know your stuff and can communicate well - but the rep score? Heck no. (If the scoring system changes again, does that mean we all become smarter or dumber overnight? I don't think so.)

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I was banking on that next scoring system change to get me a Nobel prize, dammit! –  Jeff Yates Jan 8 '09 at 15:51
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For reasons that have already been expressed, I have no interest in putting my SO rep on my resume, but I sure would like a Stack Overflow widget with rep and badges to put on my blog.

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When you've not accomplished enough in your professional career to warrant a better placement than an unrealistic number from an unknown developer website.

I mean, come on! I'm almost at 3,000 and I don't know anything!

In all seriousness I've wondered the same thing when I was nominated for the Content Writer of the Year award at SitePoint. If you're a recognised member of a community you spend a reasonable amount of time at you grow a certain self-respect for your ability. Of course there's no way I would put it in my CV but it's nice to think that these accomplishments will mean anything to outsiders.

One place you could put it is on a more informal online resume. If you spruce the page up a bit and make it more uniform with the rest of your website (if you have one) then you could probably bit it in with interests. A lot of academics put stupid scores and rankings from websites and online games on their web pages. I've known some dedicate 1% to students/work and 99% to crazy propaganda like why you're evil if you use Windows or why Cyclists are the best lovers (no joke).

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Well, after all, Cyclists are the best lovers, so why wouldn't they brag about it? ;-D –  Adam Davis Mar 26 '09 at 13:09
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You might as well suggest I put my Xbox achievement score or my druid's spellpower on my resume. They're equally as impressive and pointless.

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Don't forget your D&D character level ;-) –  Gamecat Jan 8 '09 at 17:08
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I want to apply at the place where I can put these things on my resume. –  beska Feb 11 '09 at 16:52
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Never. High rep is not necessarily a good thing: it can mean a lot of time at work wasted online rather than working.

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this from a man with a video-game avatar ;-) –  Steven A. Lowe Jan 8 '09 at 17:30
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Yep- and the highest rep so far in the question :) –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 8 '09 at 17:53
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Link to your SO profile from your website, which I assume is already on your CV/Resume.

Your site is a great deal more valid on a CV as a way to express information about you, and if the reviewer is bothered enough about you and conscious enough of SO to be interested in your profile it's available for them from there.

edit: I'm talking about the profile here not the rep number, the profile seems very interesting to an interviewer to my mind, the rep is a fairly useless number as others have covered very thoroughly

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I think the reputation points mean absolutely nothing.

However, if i was preparing interviews for candidates and one would state his id at SO, i would come to check his questions and answers, that would give me some valuable information about the candidate.

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The part of the question that nobody has (yet) answered:

If you knew your future employer is going to be looking at your questions and answers, would you review them in advance and consider closing/deleting/modifying anything?

I always assume that future and present employers will look at my web presence -- as will anyone else that I deal with on a professional or personal basis (my wife Googled me when we first met). Particularly since I use the same user-id through much of the web.

As a result, while I let my personality show through (otherwise in-person interactions would have a ring of falseness), I try very hard not to let my responses be less than professional.

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This question is a bit dated and I hope my answer serves as a more modern way of thinking about it, despite my obvious bias of working on the Careers team.

What kind of company do I want to work for?

That's the real question. Whether or not to include your reputation, just a link to your user page, save it for the interview instead, only mention it if asked for or neglect it completely are only relevant to how you want to present yourself.

You will never be happy in your employment unless you can be yourself while you work. What I mean by this is if you intend to change the way you talk, the way you eat, the way you take time off, the way you spend your time outside of work or God forbid the way you do your work from what you are naturally comfortable with on a regular basis... your employment will be a constant source of bad stress. Eventually bad stress adds up and is the root cause of discontent and eventual burn out.

I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding yourself and what you want out of your employment when you ask yourself questions as simple as "should I include my SO profile on my resume?" The original title of this post is really kind of leading and misses the point, as do most of the responses, though I grant them the pervasiveness of SO has changed dramatically in the last 3 years.

The thought process I would go through for this simple question today is much like the thought process I went through years ago when deciding whether or not to include my experience playing World of Warcraft and a personally degrading side project I had fun with throughout college on my resume (nickisabitch.com1). I spent a great deal of time on each, was very methodical in my approach to developing my skills with every hour I worked on each and learned an enormous amount doing each which I was extremely proud of accomplishing. Both of these projects were included on the resume my first post college employer hired me from, both topics came up in the interview, and after being hired, I genuinely enjoyed working there.


Many of the posts in this thread talk about experience as trump to all. This is of course true because real experience necessitates shipping. It's great that you learned a bunch in school and had did a few projects that never went anywhere, and in particular have no public record of (websites I can visit right now, apps I can download right now, or best of all, code you can sell to me right now).

Being on the Careers team, I have had a lot of experience with how SO profiles are used and interpreted by employers (who of course use our product). It's fair to say that the tide is changing with respect to the experience section on your resume. More emphasis is being put on community involvement, and not just with SO; your github profile and other open source contributions are important, as is your engagement with user groups, etc (though less so). Where there is public code is involved (on SO or elsewhere), it either counts as shipping or early signals to show existing members of the team when determining if you'd be a good fit.

Beside the point, if you've been paying attention, if you're still in college, your inspect-able public record of accomplishments is worth more than the name of the school you attend. When you have little or no professional experience shipping code, your public record is your best means to define you worth. Of course that means little if you want to work for an employer who respects pedigree over experience, not that there's anything wrong with that.


1Don't try to buy isabitch.com today, Mike Fucking Mann is squatting it and doubles the price with every inquiry.

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Obviously my rep is not that high, but even if it were I'd seriously reconsider this more than once.

Chances are, whatever people that gets first peek at your resume will be HR people, who will have no idea what you are talking about and that means your SO Rep spot is taking up a spot where you can fit more interesting data about yourself.

Secondly, if I were to bring up SO, I would wait until I go in for a personal interview and I see that they actively engage in the site as well (could be a good question to ask on the side, such as what kind of online communities do you use for obscure programming questions.)

That way, you can impress them with a good question and demonstrate that you are active in that community.

So in summary, I would not consider putting it on a resume.

Quick edit: It may be possible that whatever manager who wants to higher you will try and google your name or look on your webpage (if you provided one). In that case, it might be beneficial to at least make a reference to your SO profile on your webpage.

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I wouldn't put it in a CV, but I would mention it in an interview if it came up naturally.

I interview quite a few developers, and if they mentioned they had a good SO rep it would work in their favour; not because it means they are a good programmer, but because it proves they have a genuine interest in programming.

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I certainly wouldn't, but I'd probably drop in a vague mention of active participation in forums such as SO on the 'misc section' of my CV/resume. I'd leave out anything specific that would identify me on the site, if an employer really really wants to know more they can ask.

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Perhaps you should simply consider using your real name, so when people search for you on Google they'll see your mad SO skillz. They might even read a couple of your answers and realize they like you even more as a candidate.

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Turns out the correct answer was 9 months (6-8 weeks in Jeff's parlance) after asking the question. careers.stackoverflow.com not only lists the rep for each site in the 'trilogy' on the CV, or Repume, if you will, it does so prominently above the fold:

Image of CV/Resume on careers.stackoverflow.com with rep prominent

(from http://careers.stackoverflow.com/adamdavis )

I'm sure this is or will be configurable per the individual's settings. Once a potential employer comes to SO to look for programmers they already have accepted they are looking inside a community that revolves to some degree around the concept of reputation, and this only saves them from having to go search for it.

I still wouldn't (yet?) attach rep to a resume distributed outside SO's ecosystem, but I'll certainly be pointing people here - it's quite a bit easier to deal with than linkedin, and very specific to programming.

The flair on the CV does provide a very quick link to the user's page so potential employers can read the questions and answers, and get a good feel for communication skills - one of the biggest factors in hiring good people. This is something that can only barely be scratched by a good resume.

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Your CV summary has a typo: the past tense of lead is led, not lead. –  mmyers Jul 29 '10 at 15:34
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I found that many technical interviewers know or have heard about Stackoverflow. I believe that nowadays anyone involved with programming has been lead to this site at some point or another in its career.

I have mentioned Stackoverflow on my resume before, stating that I'm a collaborator on this Q&A site for programmers, and then shared a link to my profile so I don't have to say how much rep I have.

And this is because the questions and answers I contribute are far more interesting to the interviewer than some magical number that is supposed to represent i-don't-know-what-exactly. Remember, even though many interviewers might know about Stackoverflow, they probably have no idea if 5k of reputation means something good or not.

On another perspective, stating that you are a collaborator on Stackoverflow (during your free time) also shows that you enjoy to do what you do professionally (in my case), and most employers are looking for people that are passionate about their work!

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There is no way I'd put my rep in a resume. All it shows is how much time you spend on this site. Obviously, the higher the number the more time you waste NOT doing work that is directly beneficial to your employers bottom line.

That said, I've reached my limit for today.

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Dont wait to all that time, to until when your rep becomes so high, Just say your Stackoverflow alias is Jon Skeet ;)

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Maybe if you were jon skeet. But jon skeet doesn't need resumes, so then don't ever cite it.

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I wouldn't recommend it for a number of reasons:

  1. If the resume is reviewed by the Human Resources department before it is sent to the actual group hiring, they might not be aware of what Stack Overflow is.
  2. There is nothing written that says the Stack Overflow reputation is always going to have a numeric values; they might decide at one point to change the value to a label, similar to what Slashdot did.
  3. If you provide a number then you would also have to provide your user name, if someone browses your answers they might decide they don't like the way you answered something.
  4. There really isn't anywhere to put such an item on a CV.

About the only place where it might make sense would be in a personal blog that you have, but even then it might not be something that you just want out there in the open, even if you have a high score.

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I would not include my reputation score (for obvious reasons in my case LOL), but I very well might provide a link to my profile page, where questions I've asked and answered could become talking points in an interview. I think this would be a great way for a potential employer to assess the boundaries of my knowledge in a few different areas, and at what relative depth I tend to work.

It probably wouldn't be as important as the code samples I've brought to interviews, but it could be helpful to me and/or the employer in our getting acquainted.

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I have someone at work that has decided to use my name as his display name.... He only had one point.... Don't think I want that on my CV.

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I'm often asked about "what are your other interests" in an interview. They wanted to know about my hobbies, sports, etc. I think mentionning SO fits riiiiiiiight here.

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This comes under the category of "interview to-do's" which really has 2 separate answers: one for what's useful when having to do with some technical person and another for when you're dealing with the common denoninator of all job interviews: the human resources person. These two answers go together, they're always needed to completly answer such a type of question/situation, but are completly separate.

The technical guy will find tacky and tedious any such "flowerings" and "paddings" on your resume such as your SO score or profile, or some mile-long list of achronyms describing every technology you've ever heard of. He only wants a short, to the point description of your job experience so far. The reason this is like this is because the guy actually knows what the job is and wht he wants from you, so he'll ask all the needed questions, he doesn't need a user's manual for your competences.

On the other hand the HR guy is just the opposite. Most of the times he doesn't really know what the job is and how your competences apply to it. He'll just scan your CV for keywords and some other generic information that he's previouslly noted down and applies to every such situation. In this case the tackyness is very usefull (tho still tacky), as without it you risk being eliminated before hand in favour of some other guy's resume which is tackier than yours. And since it's usually the HR guy that's doing the first triaje, unfortunatelly tackiness is needed.

Personally I try to keep the tackiness on my resume unde 20% (of the whole resume). I only have a hand-full of achronyms thrown in there for good mesure (at the end, the job experience comes first), and I do mention, not my SO score or profile but my personal site which contains only my own work. And on that site, in the corner I have a small link to my SO profile, so that if someone really wants to see it he can access it, but i'm not throwing it in anybody's face.

Thus, while I dislike the tackiness, if we're speaking from a stictly practical point of veiw, it's necessary in this situation.

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I think long and hard before you even consider it, tak a look at your high scoring questions and answers. Many if not most of the big earners and medal winners are either humour, tech gossip, trivial, or highly subjective. Few would impress most serious employers, many would stand against you.

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if you were applying for a tech-support job, then your SO rep would be highly relevant ;-)

otherwise it's just a number; the content and quality of your questions and answers are far more important

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What if you gained all your rep from ASKING instead of answering? –  TheTXI Mar 26 '09 at 13:49
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@[TheTXI]: as long as they were good questions i don't think it would matter - the questions you ask reveal the subjects/topics you are/were involved in, which can show breadth of knowledge as easily as ignorance ;-) –  Steven A. Lowe Mar 27 '09 at 2:53
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Given that if I so choose, I can "farm rep", I'm not sure it's a meaningful number.

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