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This probably isn't the right place to ask this, but I don't know where else to ask. Okay so I have seen a lot of strange questions here in SE (and ELL Meta), and this is my turn to ask one.

I have been a member at the English Language Learners (ELL) SE for 2 years and 8 months. During this time, I have asked questions (77) and answered some too (219). I was wondering what is the best way to mention my ELL contributions in my cover letter or resume (CV).

Okay I get it. This is ludicrous; unheard of (maybe not for SO developers/contributors). But I don't have a lot of great things I can write about in my CV. And I have put in the time in the ELL community.

Recently, some of the jobs that I have applied to asked for "strong written communication skills". So here is a summary bullet point I drafted to talk about that:

  • Strong written communication skills acquired through developing project reports, briefing materials, and monthly newsletters; actively editing works of ESL learners; and providing writing advice on ESL forums.

What I am trying to do here is say that I can communicate effectively with a target/technical audience about my research work, and that I can explain things (in writing) clearly to a broader audience consisting of non-native speakers of the language. The second part is doing a poor job of saying that I am able to write in a way that ESL speakers understand (i.e., the ability to explain things in simple terms to a non-technical audience).

The important thing here is that, over the last 3 years, my writing skills have improved. And one reason for that is writing regularly in ELL. There is this saying: "Have a diary. Write a little everyday." Writing in ELL, I feel, has a similar effect. And I am actually learning about English language while doing that and not wasting time writing about how someone broke my heart.

Here is my question: How do I leverage my time spent in ELL and my contributions to indicate that my written communication is not horrible? Is there a way I can specifically mention "English Language Learners Stack Exchange" instead of the generic "ESL forums"?

I am not looking to mention reputation points as that is not my focus. My technical writing skill will be judged through my research work. My contributions to the ELL community (IMO) would be a good way to demonstrate that I can communicate with people in general, write emails, prepare presentations, have a conversation with colleagues, delegate tasks, clearly explain to someone what I need from them, ask questions, etc. Employers can easily know if I can write well about issues in my field, but writing a report is not the only kind of communication.

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    If the cv is going to be in electronic form you could link to your profile here or even to a couple of your posts which you feel show off your talents best. But as @ColleenV suggests the best people to advise you are those who see a lot of cvs and they may not live on this particular stack – mdewey Mar 18 at 16:12
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    You might also be interested in this post and answers on our statistics stack stats.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2107/… but obviously different fields have different customs. – mdewey Mar 18 at 16:13
  • That's not a an uncommon question wether to mention contributions to one or more of the SE-sítes. In regards to StackOverflow the most see it as irrelevant to mention unless you'r well above 100k and a impressive track-record of highly upvoted, quality answers.. – iLuvLogix Mar 19 at 8:02
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I actually think this is a pretty solid idea, while it will probably only be maximally effective with an audience who already has some prior knowledge of ELL SE (or at the very least knowledge of the existence of the wider SE network beyond just SO) I don't really see much (if any) downside.

I think the bullet point you have already is a reasonable basis, I'd likely just add a link and perhaps drop in that it's something you do in your free time (which demonstrates that it's clearly something you are interested in enough to give your own time for it), something like:

  • Strong written communication skills acquired through developing project reports, briefing materials, and monthly newsletters; actively editing works of ESL learners; and providing writing and language advice on ESL forums in my spare time e.g.: https://ell.stackexchange.com/users/77766/aiq?tab=profile

Are they really going to visit your profile if they don't know about ELL SE or are very, very focused on your written English skills? Probably not. But that doesn't hugely matter - they will see that you are obviously prepared enough for that point that you've gone to the trouble of including something to back it up.

You'd be surprised how often people will accept that as the same thing.

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