Skip to main content

How to Translate Open Source Contributions into Career Opportunities

It is important to keep track of your open source contributions and show the impact you have left on the projects and organizations. By organizing your work, you will be able to talk about these meaningful contributions on your resume and in job interviews.

In this guide, we have created a table that you can use to categorize and keep detailed notes for each contribution you have made. We will break down each of these table components and talk about how to use this in your resume and job profile, and you can see a full example at the end of this guide.

Personal Information

In this section of the table, you can include information like your name, email, GitHub profile, LinkedIn profile, OpenSauced profile, blog, etc. When it comes to the professional profiles, think about which profiles you want to show off to employers that highlights your skills and experience relevant to the types of jobs you are interested in.

SectionDetails
Personal Information
Name
Contact Information
LinkedIn
GitHub profile
OpenSauced profile

Career Goals

If you are new to the industry, you will want to list out which area of tech you are interested in pursuing. If you are looking for your next tech role, then you can list your current role or the role you wish to switch to.

If you are looking to level up in your role, you should list it in this section and list out the key skills required for that next level. You should also link to a few job posts to get an idea of key skills are required for that next level you are working towards.

SectionDetails
Career Goals
Desired Job Role[Your Desired Role]
Desired Job level[Junior, Mid, Senior, etc]
Key Skills to Develop[Skills to Focus On]
Industry/Area of Interest[Frontend, Backend, Fullstack, ML, AI, etc.]
Example Job Links[Link to desired jobs]

How to Match Job Requirements to Your Current Skills

A common mistake for many job seekers is to send out the same resume template to all jobs. But in today's tech market it is important to stand out and tailor your resume to match your skills with the requirements listed.

In the previous section, you identified desired roles and key skills needed for those jobs. When you are reading through job descriptions, you will want to identify key skills that are repeatedly mentioned and add that to your career goals section.

As you fill out the remaining sections for project contributions, check to see if the contributions match the common skills requested in those jobs. If not, then you have just identified a skill gap and will need to find projects and issues that will allow you to strengthen those skills.

Finding Open Source Projects to Contribute to

After you have filled out the career section of the table, you will want to find open source projects that align with your goals. You can use the explore feature on OpenSauced to explore new repositories in a variety of topics like JavaScript, Python, and Machine learning.

Explore Machine Learning projects in OpenSauced

Finding a good project to contribute to takes time. So make sure to look at the frequency of contributions to the project and the types of issues and features the project needs help with. If it aligns with your career goals, then start off with smaller issues and then move to larger features over time. You will also want to join the project's community chat room or Discord channel to connect with other contributors and core team members of the project.

Open Source Project Contribution

In this next section, you will want to list out the meaningful contributions you have made to different open source projects. This can include documentation, code features, bug fixes, etc. Remember that, you will want to list out meaningful contributions that match the goals you laid out earlier.

Basic Project Information

For each project contribution, you will want to list out the project name along with the PR and issue links. Then you will want to describe in a few short sentences why you chose this project and how it will help you with your career goals.

SectionDetails
Project Name[Project Name]
Project URL[Project URL]
Why This Project?[Reasons for Choosing This Project]
Type of Contribution[Code, Documentation, Community Support, etc.]

Learn and Development

Once your contribution has been approved and merged into the project, you will want to reflect on what you have learned during this process. What types of new skills or technologies did you learn while working on this issue? What challenges did you face? How did you interact with the community when you needed clarification on an issue or needed help with the pull request?

Keeping track of this information is helpful because you can reference these experiences later when crafting your resume. Potential employers will want to see how you work with others, how you problem solve and how you deliver solutions in a project.

Feel free to link to the pull request and issue discussions as references on how you worked with contributors in this project.

SectionDetails
Learning and Development
New Skills Learned[List of New Skills]
Challenges Overcome[Challenges Faced and Resolved]
Community Interaction[Meetups, Discussions, etc.]

Contribution Tracking

For each project contribution, you will want to list the date and brief summary on what the issue was and how you solved it. It would also be good to list out any acknowledgements you received from other contributors or core team members on the project because it highlights the impact you left.

SectionDetails
Contribution Tracking
Date[Date of Contribution]
Contribution Summary[Summary of Contribution with Links]
Feedback Received/Milestones Achieved[Feedback and Achievements]

Using the Highlights Feature to Track Your Contributions

The Highlights feature is the place you can display your favorite open source contributions, and share your open source story.

OpenSauced Highlights

You can use this feature to help you track the open source contributions that you are most proud of and share your accomplishments with your network. All of your highlights will appear on your OpenSauced profile, so sharing your profile is another way to let potential employers see the types of contributions you've made and the highlight you've identified as the most important.

Using the Lists Feature to Add People You Interacted with During Your Contributions

The Lists feature enables you to categorize, monitor, and analyze different groups of contributors within open source projects.

You can use this feature to create a list of people you interacted with during your open source work. If you continually work with the same individuals, then they can act as referrals and references for jobs.

Lists can also be used to track other people in your network to reach out to about their contributions.

lists-page

Using the Insights Feature to Track the Repositories You Contributed to

The Insights feature is a comprehensive view of a project's health and individual contributions. You can use it to track the repositories you contributed to or to track repositories of open source companies that are hiring.

insight-pages-demo

Networking and Professional Development

Some larger features can lead to networking and other professional development opportunities, like speaking at meetups or writing for tech publications. It is important that you list out who you mainly corresponded with for each contribution and any opportunities that came from this contribution.

If you have corresponded with the same core contributors and maintainers over the past few contributions, try reaching out about collaborating on other projects together. You never know where an opportunity will lead.

SectionDetails
Networking and Professional Development
Contacts Made[Contacts Made and Their Roles]
Insights Gained from Networking[What You Learned from Networking]
Future Networking Opportunities[Planned Networking Activities]

Using Your OpenSauced Dev Card for Networking

Your OpenSauced Dev card serves as your "open source business card" to showcase all of your recent open source activities. You will find recent activity concerning the projects you contribute to, frequency of pull requests and projects you are interested in.

You can easily share your Dev card on social media platforms like X/Twitter and LinkedIn to gain attention from potential recruiters and hiring managers.

OpenSauced Dev card

Reflection and Next Steps

In this section, you will want to reflect on what went well with this contribution and areas in which you struggled with.

It is important to tie these reflections back to your career goals and desired job roles you defined earlier. If you are weaker in skills that are required for the jobs are seeking, use future open source contributions as a way to strengthen these skills.

SectionDetails
Reflection and Next Steps
Key Takeaways from This Project[What You Learned]
Areas for Improvement[Areas to Work On for Future Projects]
Next Project/Contribution Goal[Your Next Goal in Open Source Contribution]

Using the Highlights Feature to Update Your Professional Profile

After each contribution, you will want to update your LinkedIn profile and resume to highlight what you have done recently. A lot of recruiters and hiring managers are on the look out for talented individuals on LinkedIn, so it is important to keep your profile up to date of your recent accomplishments.

The Highlights feature allows you to post about your recent open source contributions on OpenSauced and share it with other social media outlets like Twitter and LinkedIn.

OpenSauced Highlights Feature

SectionDetails
Resume and Professional Profile Update
Updates Made to Resume/LinkedIn[Details of Updates]
Key Accomplishments Highlighted[Key Points Highlighted]
Future Plans for Profile Enhancement[Plans for Further Enhancing Your Profile]

Example Chart for Frontend Developer

SectionDetails
Personal Information
NameJane Smith
Contact Informationjane.smith@email.com
Professional Profile (LinkedIn/GitHub/OpenSauced profile)LinkedIn, GitHub, OpenSauced
Career Goals
Desired Job RoleFrontend Developer
Key Skills to DevelopReact.js, CSS-in-JS, Web Accessibility
Industry/Area of InterestWeb Development, UI/UX Design
Open Source Project Contribution No.1
Project NameAwesome React Components
Project URLGitHub Repository, OpenSauced Insight Page
Why This Project?Interested in learning about creating reusable UI components.
Type of ContributionImplemented a new responsive carousel component.
Learning and Development
New Skills LearnedStyled Components, Carousel Design Patterns
Challenges OvercomeOvercame performance issues with large datasets.
Community InteractionParticipated in design discussions on the project's Discord channel.
Contribution Tracking
Date2023-03-10
Contribution SummaryPull Request #456
Feedback Received/Milestones AchievedPositive feedback on the elegant design; milestone: merged into main branch.
Networking and Professional Development
Contacts MadeConnected with project maintainers and frontend enthusiasts.
Insights Gained from NetworkingLearned about upcoming trends in frontend development.
Future Networking OpportunitiesPlanning to attend the project's monthly virtual meetup.
Reflection and Next Steps
Key Takeaways from This ProjectImproved skills in component design and collaboration.
Areas for ImprovementIntend to deepen knowledge in state management with Redux.
Next Project/Contribution GoalContribute to a project focused on enhancing web accessibility.
Resume and Professional Profile Update
Updates Made to Resume/LinkedInSuccessfully implemented a responsive carousel component, enhancing user experience and receiving positive feedback. Demonstrated expertise in React.js and CSS-in-JS.
Key Accomplishments HighlightedHighlighted successful implementation of the responsive carousel.
Future Plans for Profile EnhancementAttend frontend development conferences and workshops.

Additional Resources

If you're looking for more resources about the job hunt, check out these OpenSauced posts: