Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Senior Mindset Book

Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

Senior Engineer Mindset cover
Learn more

    Why you need a positioning statement

    High value experts use positioning statements to say what they do for whom. Most engineers don't have one. 🀨

    You're a high value expert my friend

    Your career works in cycles.

    You sign a 4 year contract, work 2 or 3 years, move on to the next job. Sometimes the company goes boom or you don't like the team – leave sooner. If it's going great, stay longer.

    Engineers are paid kinda like athletes. Play it right, add some luck, and in 10 to 20 years you could be a millionaire. πŸ€‘

    That 4 year contract[^1] is like signing a $400,000 deal at the low end. $1,000,000+ on the higher end. My current deal sits at a cool $750,000.

    Now, friend, is that a high value? Should you approach that conversation like you would a job at your local McDonald's?


    How a positioning statement helps

    Compare these two folks:

    John says he knows React. His code is good code.

    Mary says she solves business problems for Series A companies on a hyper-growth trajectory in the B2C SaaS space. She does that with React.

    Who gets the interview?

    I'm gonna guess Mary. She sounds like she's gonna be a joy to work with.

    All I gotta do as boss or business owner is to trust her expert opinion and say "Here's problems, lemme know when you need something"

    John sounds like he's gonna be a lot of work to manage. Best he can do is sling code after you tell him what you need. πŸ˜”

    A positioning statement is your tool

    You can use your positioning statement to hone your resume, narrow your job search, and boost your confidence.

    What's the story you wanna tell? What's the job you wanna do? Where?

    Apply for every React job and you're gonna have a bad time. Working at a 5-person startup is different than a 100,000 people BigTech behemoth.

    Start with I achieve X for Y using Z.

    Highlight it in your resume. Show where you've done it before. Then apply to companies that fit Y.

    You'll have a much stronger career trajectory.

    What's your positioning statement my friend? hit reply


    PS: your outwards positioning statement depends on who you're targeting. A hiring manager at a subdivision of a subteam inside a huge org looks for different signals than the head of engineering at a startup.

    [^1] 4 years is a typical vesting schedule. You leave potential money on the table by leaving early. And you incur opportunity cost by staying, if your equity doesn't pan out.

    Published on May 14th, 2021 in Interviewing, Career, SeniorMindset

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Continue reading about Why you need a positioning statement

    Semantically similar articles hand-picked by GPT-4

    Senior Mindset Book

    Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

    Learn more

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help πŸ‘‰ swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers πŸ‘‰ ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❀️

    Created by Swizec with ❀️