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I understand that SE moderators are considered volunteers, so it would make sense to list this position under such a section on a resume. Since I have no prior work experience, I'm not sure how I should list this on my resume, as it could be something attractive to an employer.

A Career Services counselor at my university believes that I should list it as unpaid experience. This still doesn't quite seem right to me, though. It's not considered an official company position nor do I have a boss to list on job applications. I also don't know if it'll fit under a "relevant experience" section, assuming that it still involves paid experience.

I should also mention that I specifically moderate on Code Review, which is relevant to my computer software field. I can't really mention much about my non-moderator duties on my resume, and I wouldn't expect employers to recognize the site (it's obviously not as famous as Stack Overflow).

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    Put it under "Volunteer experience". If you refer to it as "Code Review Stack Exchange site" then it will likely get more traction than just "Code Review". – Jane S Aug 20 '15 at 23:18
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    see also: Listing 'soft skills' on a resume – gnat Aug 21 '15 at 0:27
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    I'd think of it this way: if an interviewer decides to ask you about being a mod, how are you going to frame your response? – Pops Aug 21 '15 at 16:28
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    If I got an application from a SE user with high karma or even a mod position on SO, programming.SE, code review or even code golf, I would definitely count that as a big plus. – Wilbert Sep 19 '17 at 15:32
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    The problem is with listing a moderator status on a resume is that it's not really helping the company you're working for. Sure, you're demonstrating a level of skill and communication, but it's really for the benefit of everyone except who you're working for (and not a few people are Stacking on company time, so....) – user44108 Sep 19 '17 at 15:57
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Expanding on my earlier comment:

If an interviewer decides to ask you about being a mod, how are you going to frame your response?

I think the number one rule for a resume is be able to talk about anything you list. Usually, people mention this rule in the context of resume, ah, "embellishments," which is not an issue for you. You do, however, need to think about exactly what you're going to say, once you're asked to say more.

Just as there are a lot of different ways to moderate effectively, there are a lot of different ways to describe being a mod. You mentioned that you've talked to interviewers about moderating before. Thinking back, what did you say? Did you sound like you were talking about a job, a hobby, or something else? Were you focusing on mechanical details? Stories/experiences you've had while dealing with people as a mod? Other points? How much time do you spend moderating, and how much do you prioritize it over other things in your life? These questions don't have "right" answers, but they should be helpful if you know how you want to present yourself.

This ties into a great point that Air made earlier: the type of resume you're writing makes a difference here. I wouldn't consider "moderator of Code Review SE" — or, for that matter, even "moderator of Stack Overflow" — to be relevant experience for a computer software position. If you were applying for "community organizer" or "project manager," it might be a different story.

That said, when I was looking for my first few internships/jobs, I put non-relevant experience on my resume because I figured some employment was better than nothing at all. (Hmm... I wonder how many Americans haven't worked at McDonald's at some point in their lives....)

I think the best way to use your mod experience here (regardless of how you list it) would be as an opening for yourself in the interview. Segue from the description of being a moderator into a description of Code Review itself and then the software skills you clearly have to be a 25k user there (and what you've learned from participating there). Heck, your second-most-upvoted answer is to a question titled "Implementing a proper linked list for a professional environment"!

Finally, one potential pitfall with choosing the "work experience" route: be aware that you could be unwittingly sending signals that you don't want. Some potential employers may figure that being a mod is a paid position because you list it as work experience. This could even get you into trouble later on if you get the job, choose to continue moderating, and your boss notices. Don't assume you'll be able to explain it away in the interview or before any damage is done; someone may make a silent assumption without ever explicitly asking you about it.

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    That last paragraph pretty much seals the deal. Plus, the last thing I need is to be accused of lying on my resume. As for my answers in those interviews, I was mostly asked about my duties (this was before I listed specific ones on my resume). For one interview, I was asked about the most frustrating aspect of being in this position (don't worry, I didn't mention anything about your jokes...). Anyway, I would still want an employer to see it as a professional activity, and I would tell them that I'm not officially employed with the company. – Jamal Aug 22 '15 at 4:07
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I would place it on your resume. I see 2 options, 1 list it right with your jobs in your relevant experience portion or 2 in a section for community contributions under your jobs.

Personally I would list your normal work experience and then specifically call out in its own Community Contributions section that you moderate on Code Review, A Stack Exchange Member Community. List what you do and what skills you bring.

Since you are going into computer software it is highly relevant and shows you love the craft and are not just looking for the money.

  • I currently have this listed as volunteering and I have provided a few statements about it. I have been asked about it before in interviews, so it has been noticed. However, whenever my resume gets parsed for info such as previous employers, it always picks up on Stack Exchange. – Jamal Aug 21 '15 at 0:16
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    I would not worry about it getting parsed. You can always correct it. The key is when a human sees your resume you call out the contribution to the community. – RubberChickenLeader Aug 21 '15 at 9:40
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A Career Services counselor at my university believes that I should list it as unpaid experience. This still doesn't quite seem right to me, though. It's not considered an official company position nor do I have a boss to list on job applications.

You might be overthinking this a little. It's certainly not paid; how "official" do you need it to be? First you were selected by staff, then you were elected by the community. If anything, the election seems like reinforcement, compared to volunteers (or employees) who are only selected by staff.

Different resumes have different sections. I would be less concerned with how you title the section containing this item than what type of other items you associate with your moderator experience. I wouldn't recommend putting it in the same section as any work or internship experience; moderating Stack Exchange is not primarily a technical position and as a CS student or graduate, you're most likely putting together a technical resume.

Instead, I would lump this together with volunteer work and/or activity in school clubs/organizations. Some CS graduates are members of UPE, where they might similarly start out as contributors and eventually take on an elected leadership position. I guarantee they are advised to put that on their resume.

If it feels weird to you to list your Stack Overflow activity under a heading like "Clubs" then just change the heading to something more general. "Community Contributions" as suggested in another answer would be fine, although it's a bit wordy for my tastes. Those resume-writers who are fond of the hard sell might title such a section "Leadership" or similar; others like to put it all under "Volunteering." There's no hard and fast rule, it just changes the impression you give, of how you see yourself and what's important to you; strive for directness and honesty in that.

I should also mention that I specifically moderate on Code Review, which is relevant to my computer software field. I can't really mention much about my non-moderator duties on my resume, and I wouldn't expect employers to recognize the site (it's obviously not as famous as Stack Overflow).

Are you certain you "can't mention much" about your other activity on the site? Why is that? Just based on my knowledge of what you do here on Stack Exchange, there are several reasons I'd expect you to feature Code Review on your resume:

  • Commitment. Or passion, dedication, love of code, whatever you want to call it: You spend a lot of time working with and analyzing code. Over 400 answers! This is a good indicator of someone who either is or has the potential to become an expert.
  • Excellence. Your CR profile quantifies your activity as top 0.33% overall. What employer doesn't want to hire someone who rises above a field of 68,000 registered users (2,400 of them "dedicated")?
  • Writing ability. Every employee benefits from being able to write well. In technical fields, the difference between a good candidate and a great candidate could be that they have the same technical skill, but one writes well and the other writes poorly. I'd wager inexperienced programmers are more likely to underestimate the importance of this skill than any other on their resume.
  • Attention to detail. Nearly 20,000 edits—enough said. For me, anyway; this is something I think you could emphasize.

Is a Stack Exchange profile the best way for anyone to demonstrate the quality of their technical work? Maybe not; I expect employers would find a coherent sample project more useful for understanding how well or poorly you code. But in the absence of work experience, or other items that very directly demonstrate your value, I think your non-moderator activity could sell you very effectively as a candidate (and more effectively than less public and/or less quantitative items).

It seems to me this is often the case with moderator experience and resumes; either the overall activity is relevant and worth highlighting on your resume, or none of it is. The fact that you've also taken on the extra responsibilities associated with a leadership position (such as volunteer moderator) just emphasizes the degree of your involvement.

  • I do agree with a lot of this. I am okay with listing it under a new "Leadership" section. I already have a second volunteer position, so I can still keep that section and that position under it. As for the "can't mention much" part, I say that because I don't quite know how I should go about listing these things on my resume in a way that an employer will understand. I probably shouldn't make him/her read and try to understand my profile, either. I suppose this part is better left to Career Services and myself. – Jamal Aug 21 '15 at 22:02
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    @Jamal Don't make them understand your profile - explain it for them, e.g., "The content I've contributed places me in the top 0.33% of thousands of code reviewers on the site." The profile serves the same purpose as a citation link in an answer—so they can verify your claims and optionally explore in more depth. – Air Aug 21 '15 at 22:14
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(This answer is based on a student asking, it would not be the same if the person asking the question had lots of employment history in IT).

You have learned skills (e.g. resolving disagreements, consistent commitment, clear writing etc) and shown leadership by being a moderator. Therefore as you had not had employment that you can use to demonstrate the same skills, you should list it on your CV.

However explain the soft skills you used and gained by it and expect a question on it at interview.

When faced with lots of CVs from students all listing the same courses with about the same grades, anything that makes a person stand out as being “more responsible” is likely to be look on positively. Unless you grades are bad, then it will be read that you could not control how you used your time.

(Looking at some of your posts, you come across as polite, but a little “green behind the ears”, however that is not an issue as you are a student and I would not expect a student to show a high level of real world experience.)

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Yes it is important to an employer. It is pertinent. It shows you can work within an organization and your are respected by you peers. And it shows a true interest in your craft.

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    This doesn't really answer my question. I asked how I should list it, not if I should list it. – Jamal Aug 22 '15 at 3:59
  • @Jamal "A Career Services counselor at my university believes that I should list it as unpaid experience. This still doesn't quite seem right to me" – paparazzo Aug 22 '15 at 11:10

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