You Are Your Own Best Hype Person

Learn how to accurately and effectively advocate for yourself and grow in your career by recording your accomplishments.

February 26, 2018 • 1726 words • 6 minute read • Read on Medium

At some point in your career, you’re going to have to prove to someone that you’re worth it: worth hiring, worth promoting, worth the raise, worth taking a risk on. If you’re lucky, you might have someone who has seen your work first hand, who believes in you and can vouch for you.

But even if you have the most supportive and engaged manager in the world, they still won’t know everything you do and all the valuable contributions you make — unless you tell them.

Gif of Blanche

Gif of Blanche from TV show The Golden Girls laughing with the caption “Damn, I’m good.” (source)

Just because you do the work doesn’t mean people will magically know about it (even if it’s open source). Someone has to tell them why what you do matters, and it might as well be you.

You are the only person with complete insight into everything you do. You are the person who can most accurately and effectively hype yourself.

Hyping yourself isn’t about pride. It’s not about puffing yourself up, or making yourself look better than you actually are.

Hyping yourself is about accurately explaining the value that you contribute. It’s about saying, “Here are all my accomplishments; here is what I’ve been up to; here are the ways that I’ve been growing and will continue to grow.” You demonstrate to others why you’re worth it and you show up with the receipts to back every claim you make.

Keeping a Hype Doc prepares you to advocate for yourself well.

A Hype Doc is a running list of all your accomplishments and successes. It’s a place where you keep track of your growth, and regularly jot down the things you’re proud of doing.

A Hype Doc is not a resume or a promotion packet or a formal self assessment — but it’s certainly helpful when filling those out! While you can (and should) share your doc with others, the primary audience of your Hype Doc is always yourself — it’s for you to know what you’re doing and why it matters, so that you can present yourself well.

Gif of winning

Clip from music video for “Alpha Girl” by JRSCK, featuring three women on a tennis court singing with the caption “All I do is win.” (source)

What goes in a Hype Doc?

Anything and everything you’re proud of doing or that shows your growth! This can include:

Gif of brushing shoulders off

Gif of Vanessa from TV show East Los High dancing and brushing her shoulders off. (source)

How do you keep a Hype Doc?

Ultimately, a Hype Doc is only useful if it works for you, so follow whatever process and format suits you best. That said, a few things to consider:

Don’t just take my word for it — lots of other Squares also keep Hype Docs!

Ameya Acharya, Software Engineer

Headshot of Ameya

Headshot of Ameya Acharya.

I find my hype doc most useful for noting the small fixes I’ve made that I’m not expected to do, like upgrading the Ruby version of an app, updating a poorly written test when I see it, etc. Typically I find I won’t forget which big projects, PRs or design docs I worked on. The hype doc serves as a way for me to track the extra ways that I contribute, especially since these “small wins” are not usually tracked in formal level requirements.

Eric Muller, Software Engineer / Engineering Manager

Headshot of Eric

Headshot of Eric Muller.

From an engineering manager’s perspective, we spend a ton of time collecting feedback and evidence (design docs, pull requests, tech talk recordings, blog posts) for promo packets. A well-written ‘hype doc’ is a huge boon to that process for your lead — I liken it to ghost-writing your promo packet. The best manager in the world doesn’t have the capacity to know everything you’ve done and (more importantly) doesn’t have all of the context on what you’re proudest of. A well-maintained hype doc is more than a list of impressive accomplishments, it highlights what’s ‘most you’ and deserves more of the spotlight simply because it’s a set of accomplishments you’re proudest of or worked hardest for.

Example from my own most recent promo packet: I asked my manager to highlight a ten line PR to add a button. Ho-hum, routine and inconsequential iOS development. Why was I proud of it then? It stemmed from an actual onsite visit to a Square seller where my product manager and I worked a lunch shift. While there, we felt a pain point firsthand and I fixed it as soon as I could. When the change went live, the owner sent us this:

> Our lives are forever changed. On behalf of the entire staff….THANK YOU!!!

What are your best tips and practices for keeping and updating a Hype Doc? Share them with us below in the responses!

P.S. Do you love learning about technology and developing as an engineer? Send us your Hype Doc and join us at Square so we can learn and grow together!


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