How Medium Helped Me Start A New Career

I didn’t realize recruiters were looking here

I started writing on Medium in December of 2018. I remember it pretty clearly. It was 2:00 in the morning when I started to write Why I Cancelled My Home Internet on my phone. It had 20,000 views within two days.

To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I had been blogging on and off for years, on various platforms. The luckiest I ever got was having 3 or 4 family members share my posts on social media. But this… this was something else.

I was hooked.

I started writing about everything. All the time. I wrote about technology, relationships, programming, New York and how expensive it is, dinosaurs, Kim Kardashian, and I dabbled in political satire. I wasn’t getting rich, but I was getting energized.

Within 6 months, I was invited to speak at a huge conference. All my expenses were covered. I moderated a panel in front of 2,000+ people. The subject: one of my articles. One that didn’t even get too many views.

After 3 months of frequent writing, I got a message from someone who works at one of the big five tech companies. The next day, I was at their New York office, eating lunch and discussing my career aspirations.

Yes — it happened that fast.

I had been studying for software engineering interviews, but the reactions to my work on Medium gave me a new perspective. I enjoy writing. I’m relatively good at it. I enjoy software engineering. I want to be really good at it. Maybe I could put these two things together and turn it into an actual career.

I worked as a technical writer when I was around 15 years old. It was a summer job that I did for 4 straight years, so I had some experience. Prior to that, I edited papers for medical journals at my mom’s office. But after my teenage years, I moved into other ventures.

Before I could even think too deeply, another recruiter contacted me.

What would happen, I thought to myself, if I applied for technical writer roles?

Well, it turns out that recruiters (and my prospective colleagues) had read a handful of my articles on Medium. Some had read them before I applied for the positions.

Within a month, I had several offers. I ended up at a company I’m really happy with.

Within 7 months, I was invited to speak at a huge conference on the other side of the country. All my expenses were covered. I moderated a panel in front of 2,000+ people. The subject: one of my articles. One that didn’t even get too many views.

You have no idea who might stumble upon the things you write. Your articles ARE your portfolio.

They demonstrate who you are, what you know, what you’ve done, and how well you communicate. They show prospective employers that you are capable of teaching others. Your gracious responses to comments show that you are able to build connections with others, even when you respectfully disagree.

Don’t underestimate the power of the words you choose to project into the universe. Someone is reading — and it might not be who you think it is.

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Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

Make the most of it.

Even if you are a casual writer and you only write once in awhile, your articles remain in your absence.

  • Include your LinkedIn profile in the footer of your articles.
  • Post an “about me” article as your featured article so people can learn more about you when they click on your profile.
  • Take the time to respond to people who have left you comments.
  • Be gracious if you are contacted by a publication’s editors. You might not see the notification until way too late, but still — respond and open the doors for future conversations.
  • Write about something you know about. With the right title and subject matter, Medium gets pretty incredible organic reach.

Long story short, you have no idea who is looking at your work. In my case, someone from a big five tech company was reading my articles and liked them enough to bring me into the office. You have no idea who might share your work with others. In my case, my articles were shared directly with recruiters.

Little did I know that a single 2:00 AM rant from a year ago would end up changing my life.

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Written by

✨ serial questioner • technical writer/devops • editor of Diary of an SRE • thank you for connecting 👩🏻‍💻

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