by Natalie Davis
Software Engineer, Netlify
May 10, 2021
When someone as cool as Cassidy invites you to a "hot new platform" and tells you she's excited about it, you just join the platform, no questions asked. And that's how I wound up on Polywork. I'd seen it mentioned by a couple of people on Twitter, but I had no idea what it was. As I started to explore it, and invite others to join me there, I was describing it to them in this way, "Think LinkedIn, but with personality". I now think that was completely wrong.
Creating a profile was straight forward. Tell your Polywork virtual assistant who you are and what you do. (I chose the weird virtual assistant, because honestly, weird is the best). Then I moved on to the badges. Badges are a way for you to identify achievements or highlight skills you have and opportunities you might be open to. So I was scrolling through the badges and selecting the ones appropriate to me (Dog Mum, being one of the most important) and every so often I'd see a badge that would give me a new goal in life, like "Sued by Kanye''. (There's a real story behind that, I later learned, one of the Lead Engineers working on the site was sued by Kanye, but you've got to discover the details on your own). Someone I know showed me his profile where he was proudly displaying his "Bad Golfer" badge.
Badge of Humor
There are funny badges, big deal right? Well, yes, it is a big deal. Seeing a bit of light heartedness right out of the gate signaled that Polywork is a place that isn't only interested in my github contributions and Big Tech Company work experience. This is important to me, because I'm not interested in spending time in any space that makes no attempt to recognize me outside of VS Code. Instead, I have an opportunity to showcase the things that make me unique, while increasing the likelihood that connections I make on the site lead to opportunities that are right for me.
Connections That Matter
So I filled out my profile and selected my badges. Then I didn't touch my profile for a couple of days. I didn't really know what to do from there. I didn't make a post and I made one connection which was really just me and my friend figuring out how that worked. I LOVE that if someone wants to connect with me, they are going to have to tell me why upfront and it will have to align with the things I'm open to connecting over. Can't waste my time with Senior Developer positions in that you'd never actually consider me for just because you need to meet your outreach quota. This makes connecting with others intentional and valuable in ways that other networking sites lack.
Profiles and Posts
Today I sat down and started posting to my profile and that's when I got really excited about the platform. As I began to add milestones, I also began to get a more clear vision of the steps I've taken to get to where I am now. It was a fantastic moment of self reflection and celebration. I'm excited to check out the profiles of people who are doing things I want to do in the future and following the digital footsteps of their journey. There are other options in profile organization coming, but the current chronological view works really well for someone like me, an early career developer, with limited work experience. It's nice to be able to lay out some touch points that demonstrate the work I was doing before I got hired because, on Polywork, the job/title isn't the point, the skills and talent are.
Looking Forward 🚀
So no, Polywork isn't LinkedIn with personality. LinkedIn is broken for people like me who are just starting out and drowning in a sea of "20 years experience in React only please" job listings. I've got big hopes for Polywork. I hope it becomes a place where we can redefine what it looks like to network and find talent. I also have high hopes for the Polywork community. They've engaged with me in a way that's made me feel included in their target market and in the company's thought process. That matters precisely because I'm not an industry leading tech superstar. I'm probably a lot like you. I'm a community member who is excited to be welcomed into this space and made to feel like my voice matters because, like yours, it does. Polywork gets that. So I'll be on Polywork, showing the world who I am, what I can do, and the steps I take to do it. I hope we see each other there!
Want to check out Polywork? You can use this link to skip their waitlist