Recently, Stout Systems had the pleasure of being the food sponsor for the Great Lakes Michigan .NET Users Group meeting. We love attending these users group meetings because not only does it help us keep abreast of the latest technological advancements, it also allows us to interact with whom we consider to be the cream of the crop developers - those who are so passionate about their craft that, after a long day of work, they choose to spend an evening attending a lecture on the tools of their trade.
From a recruiter's perspective, Users Group participation looks really great on a resume. As mentioned above, for the participant it shows a commitment to keeping your skills up to date, but for the organizers, it demonstrates a service to the overall development community. So whether you're an attendee or an organizer, be sure to highlight your participation on your resume by noting any of the following:
- Users Groups that you regularly attend
- Users Groups that you volunteer for or hold officer positions for
- Groups that you have helped form up in your area
- Although not a Users Group per se, any contributions to the user community through participation on StackOverflow or other such sites should be noted as well.
An additional bonus of going to Users Group meetings is that local companies and recruiters often attend so that they can announce job openings that they are trying to fill. This is a great way to circumvent the HR "black hole" that emailed resumes often end up in. These announcements are often made by the actual Hiring Manager or a Senior Developer and are a great opportunity to get in front of an actual decision maker - a "first interview," in a manner of speaking.
In summary, attend Users Group meetings to keep your skills up to date. Throw your name in the hat for an officer position if that appeals to you (great leadership development opportunity), potentially meet your new future boss, and maybe get a great dinner as a bonus!