I'm in an application processes for Software development. I'm now writing to companies which I found on stackoverflows careers 2.0 add's when surfing on stackoverflow.

What I'm asking my self now:

Should I tell them where I heard from their job offer? Or better just refer to the offer of their page?

Because if I say so, they will probably ask me for my stackoverflow profile.

As the pros are:

In my point of view my know how is compared to others with the same experience in that field pretty good. So they can have a quick look on my top voted answers and questions over the last years and can get an own view of that, without a need of me to try to convince them. (a strong pro argument, but it is the only one I have)

Contra: I have a lot of connected accounts so they could also see posts from me like this one. Or they could be looking over my roleplay exchange profile and get a view on me which has nothing to do with the job. (Or they could also find posts like this one of me, which expose some kinds of missing knowledge. What could even get me in a weak position for negotiation)

I don't know there is a way to directly look up my comments, but even if not so, if they would want to, with a lot of effort they can track all my comments. Where as until then stack exchange was a spare time activity for me, so they could also find some rude, offensive or at least unprofessional comments of me.

And the third contra is: If they would look over the times when I'm posting, they could ask me, what my last employer was thinking on participating in stackexchange in my work times. (What he doesn't know, that I'm actively participating in it.)

So how likely is it that they would also look up things I contra mentioned, when they would ask me for my stackexchange profile? And if it is supposable they do so, should I better don't mention careers 2.0 in my CV? Or will they also know that it was a spare time activity of me, and will forgive that even professionals sometimes aren't acting like ones in their spare time?

  • Do you really think you can hide it?
    – user8365
    Feb 10, 2015 at 18:08
  • they could also see this question, if they "stalk" your whole profile ;-)
    – Pasoe
    Feb 13, 2015 at 15:03

2 Answers 2


Many companies ask as a part of the application how you found them. They do this to make sure they are getting return on the money they are spending on those sites.

Regarding how you found their advertisement: If you were to add something to what you submit to them it would be on the cover letter. The CV/resume, while it can be tweaked to fit the job description, is designed to show what you have done including where and when. It is more appropriate to include extra information and specific reasons why you would be perfect for the job in the cover letter.

Don't worry about them picking through your comments on the stack overflow site. They could do that even if you never mentioned it in the cover letter.

Anything in the cover letter is to highlight why you are perfect for the job. You are inviting them to take a close look at some aspect of you. If you are afraid that a close examination of your comments on Stack Overflow will hurt your chances then don't yell at the tops of your lungs to "look at me I am the king of Stack Overflow."

If you believe that your digital footprints at Stack Overflow make you perfect for the job, then tell them that. Otherwise the fact you found them on that site will be relegated to a pull down answer on the application.

  • They could always ask to you participate in sites X, Y, Z even if you never bring it up. Feb 10, 2015 at 18:11

In my opinion, this question suggests an insecure mental state.

During your job search and interactions with employers, you will be best served by developing your own self confidence and avoiding insecurity as much as possible.

From the perspective of Stack Exchange and your prospective employers, I agree with the point that you shouldn't hide that you found a position listed on Careers 2.0

  • Stack Exchange would like to get paid a referral fee and
  • Recruiters at the companies will be able to use the feedback of where applicants saw the position to better focus their future recruitment efforts
  • I would guess that employers are not immediately looking for StackExchange profiles of applications coming from Careers 2.0 anymore than they are from applicants coming from other places.

A few options on how to deal with the concerns you've raised:

  • If anyone questions particular answers, comments, etc that you are now embarrassed of, feel free to say so. Most importantly, phrase it from a perspective of growth, ex: "I am now somewhat embarrassed of what I did there. The responses led me to reflect on it, and in the time since then, I have adopted a different approach."
  • If you are unhappy with your current public persona, you can take some steps to separate personal and professional profiles. Create a separate email for work related profiles, etc. If employers stumble across personal profiles and ask about them, see previous point and/or suggest that you don't judge coworkers by their personal lives and believe in some separation between personal and professional lives.
  • Did you waste time at work on StackExchange? If not, then say that. Add justification only if necessary. Perhaps you used it as a tool to perform your work tasks and when you had time available, you used the sites to learn and give back to the community.

An additional bit of friendly/constructive advice: please use spell checkers and proof read written interactions with companies a couple times. Perhaps you are not a native english speaker? In many cases on certain jobs perfect spelling isn't essential; However, when current employees of companies are evaluating job applicants, spelling and grammar errors stand out and can prevent hiring a candidate who otherwise may be a good fit.

Best of luck, and remember: no one is perfect. Don't worry, the best coworkers and companies understand this also =)

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