All posts by Mallory Rowan

LinkedIn Level Up: 7 Ways to Improve Your Social Presence

LinkedIn Level Up: 7 Ways to Improve Your Social Presence

Over the past decade, it’s become a natural part of the hiring process to look up candidates on LinkedIn. For developers, having a weak or untouched LinkedIn profile can be worse than not being on the platform at all.

Want to make sure you shine when a recruiter or hiring manager lands on your profile? Follow these six steps.

Create a top-notch profile summary

Your profile summary is the first piece of content people see when they visit your profile. Take the time to fill it out properly with all of the information someone needs to know about you on first glance.

When writing your summary, think of the common hiring request, “Tell me a bit about yourself.” In an interview scenario, you would probably touch on your past jobs, specific skillsets, applications used, languages spoken, and career goals. It’s also a good practice to inject a bit of personality to give people an idea of who you are outside of work.

Quantify your job descriptions

Lots of developers make the mistake of providing company names and employment periods and nothing else. You should see this section as an opportunity to share everything that’s already on your resume plus anything that couldn’t fit.

Keep a focus on what you actually accomplished while working at each place, and quantify if whenever possible. Make it explicitly clear what the result of the work was, not just a description of the task. This means replacing bullet points like “Rewrote front-end code” with “Served as lead for code overhaul of website, leading to 75% faster page load.” These metrics prove that you influenced the company’s success instead of clocking in and out each day.

Ask for recommendations

When you’re moving on from a project or workplace, it’s quite common for a manager to offer a letter of recommendation. By the time you end up needing it, it’s usually awkward to reach out since it’s been too long since you worked with them or they’ve also moved on from the company.

Instead, ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn before you move on. These endorsements appear on your public profile, showing future employers that past managers liked you enough to recommend you to others. If possible, ask people to focus on soft skills, which are harder to describe through resumes and job descriptions.

LinkedIn has a handy guide on requesting recommendations. And, don’t feel limited to just managers. Ask team members for kind words as well.

Link to portfolio projects

If your work is available live on websites, link directly to these under your accomplishments section. If you’ve completed projects that aren’t easily linkable, create your own portfolio website or use a platform like Slideshare to showcase your work. This is also a great place to include hackathon and personal projects, if you have any of those.

Including samples of your work on your profile is a great way to attract the right contacts based on your capabilities. It can weed out offers from industries you’re not interested in or help narrow in on the ones you are.

Be sure to ask permission from past employers to avoid posting anything confidential.

Don’t underestimate volunteer work

As a developer, you probably have friends and family asking for favors all the time. While it’s nice to be able to say ‘no’, consider using these opportunities as a way to build the volunteer section of your LinkedIn profile.

You don’t have to be doing development work for charities to volunteer your time. Revamping your friend’s business website or contributing to an open source project are just a few examples of work that can fall into this volunteer category without long-term commitments.

Splurge for a professional photo

If you’re a developer, chances are you know someone who has a DSLR handy. Utilize your connections or do a quick online search and find someone who can give you a headshot that captures your personality in a professional way. Whether it’s a conscious decision or not, seeing a high-quality photo gives the impression that you’re more professional, experienced, and even qualified for a particular job.

Better yet, use your profile photo as an opportunity to showcase your ability by creating a cartoon version of yourself or showing off web design trends in a smart way. Get creative and use it as another opportunity for your profile to shine.

Optimize for search engines

Using keywords wisely throughout your LinkedIn profile can help you be easily found through Google and internal search. Terms like “Austin front-end developer” or “javascript web developer” are two examples of keywords that narrow in on a tactical level.

Keep these in mind as you build your profile. Mention them in your biography, past jobs, volunteer section, skills, hobbies, and anywhere else you can squeeze them in. Once you feel you’ve completed your LinkedIn makeover, revisit all text and evaluate your keyword inclusion.

Also, get your connections to endorse you for skills relevant to these keywords by endorsing them first. This sends a notification suggesting they reciprocate the nicety. The more endorsements you get, the more chances you have of ranking for those skills.

Your profile is never “complete”

Taking these steps to improve your LinkedIn profile is a great way to step up your game, but it doesn’t mean you’ve crossed a finish line.

You should be jumping on LinkedIn at least three times a week to connect with familiar faces and engage in industry groups. Take the time once a month to revisit your profile and see if anything needs updating or if any links need replacing.

Consider your profile a work in progress, and always tweak it whether you’re looking for work or not. This guarantees that recruiters and future managers stumbling on your profile will be impressed with what they find.


What will your next opportunity be? Find it on Authentic Jobs.

Your Guide to Non-Awkward Networking

Your Guide to Non-Awkward Networking

Everyone dreads them: the cringe-worthy networking events. You’re never quite in the mood for it, and it’s always (unfortunately) just what you expected.

But networking is critical to the job search—a recent survey showed 85% of jobs are filled by networking efforts.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to network without attending events that make you want to crawl under the table. Below are six options for designers and developers to grow their communities.

Engage with your peers

The more you engage with your peers, the more your network grows. This can include current co-workers, casual acquaintances from university, or new friends you make in the industry. Connect with them on different channels to make it easier to re-engage regularly. Follow them on Twitter, add them on AngelList, and connect with them on LinkedIn. And don’t be afraid to ask for their personal contact information to stay in touch.

Spending time with peers is a win-win. You can extend your network, and they get a chance to expand theirs. And who knows – your peer may come across a contact or a job opening that may not be right for them, but they’d be willing to put in a good word to get your foot in the door.

Connect regularly with mentors

We’re all familiar with the expression “time flies”, and there’s certainly truth behind it. It can feel like just yesterday you went for lunch with a mentor, but in reality, you’re long overdue to reconnect.

If you’re thinking of changing jobs, now is a good time to reach out. Mentors are often well-connected in a different way, and they can act as the bridge between you and your dream job by introducing you to their connections or recommending different skills to level up.

Every time you see your mentor, show them how eager you are to learn and the steps you’ve taken to grow since last speaking. Growing this relationship and a solid reputation will go a long way when their CEO buddies are looking to hire.

Not sure where to find a mentor? The best way is to let the relationship develop naturally. Try reaching out to a teacher you really enjoyed or someone in a career position you’d like to have one day.

Attend industry events

No, not awkward networking events. Keep your eye out for local happenings that relate to your industry. Meetup and Startup Grind are a great place to start. Poke around Twitter, agency websites, or coworking spaces to make sure you’re not stuck hearing about events after they happen.

Participating in conferences, hackathons, and workshops are another great way to meet a targeted group of individuals without the uncomfortable atmosphere of “we’re supposed to be networking right now.” You’ll get to know leaders and peers in your industry, discover new roles you never knew existed, and even learn a thing or two.

Make sure you take the time to trade contact information, so you can connect on different platforms once the event ends. The great thing about industry events is it’s not limited to new graduates or interns. You’ll find yourself connecting with designers, developers, managers, or even executives who can help you get a seat at the table.

Join online communities

Joining online communities allows you to connect with influencers on a global level, and discover new opportunities you didn’t know existed. As a designer or developer, the world of freelance and remote working provides endless options for employment.

Finding industry groups on LinkedIn, Reddit, Slack, Facebook, or other online forums is a way to engage with potential employers and peers on a daily basis. Explore Dribbble, Hacker News, and Twitter for new opportunities to shine. Don’t be afraid to engage in the group; you never know who’s watching and willing to hire.

Reach out for a one-on-one

Networking events can be intimidating with so many people to meet and so little time. Instead, try browsing through industry contacts online and narrow in on a few key people to connect with. Reach out to them with a personalized, thoughtful message and see if they’d be open to meeting for coffee or lunch. Taking the time to reach out on a more personal level can catch their attention more than a handshake in a room full of noise.

Don’t limit yourself to those who are hiring in the community. Connect with anyone who’s of interest: someone who has taken a career path you envy, a fellow graduate who landed a huge opportunity right out of school, or a team manager at the company you admire. Getting one on one develops a more personal relationship and allows you to connect on a deeper level. You can understand their role, what skills they value, and what steps they think you should be taking.

Build your personal brand

Building your personal brand in a visual field is an important element. Pick the social networks that you think you can excel at, and create a personal brand more than a personal profile. Showcase your portfolio work, connect with others in the industry, and let your personality shine through. By having an active online presence, you open up doors without realizing it.

Note that creating a personal brand isn’t a free pass to leave behind other networking opportunities, but it shows future employers your past work, your dedication, and your willingness to put in work. The more you grow your channels, the more you’ll have opportunities knocking.

Getting out there

You could argue one method over another all day long, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about putting yourself out there.

Find ways that feel comfortable for you, and do your best to use them to your advantage. If you’re introverted in a group setting but excel one-on-one, don’t try to force huge events that will make you crumble. Alternatively, if you in front of a large group, try to find industry events that give you those opportunities.

Regardless, networking comes down to connecting with other like-minded individuals. Always be yourself, and you’ll find what works best for you.


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Acing Salary Negotiations as a Remote Worker

Acing Salary Negotiations as a Remote Worker

You’ve made it this far. You’ve gotten through the HR screening, the interviews, and the reference checks. The offer is on the table (or coming shortly), and you know this could be a mutually beneficial relationship if you move forward.

Before making any decisions, make sure you’re prepared for proper negotiations with these simple steps.

Know the market rate by location

Conduct your own research to have a strong understanding of the market rate in both your city and your employer’s city. This is important to do so you can come into negotiations balancing your skillsets and the current market rate. If you’re working with a company outside of your country, stick to local currencies and consider how the cost of living differs.

Knowing the market rate in your city gives you an idea of what you would make if you accepted a full-time position locally, while looking into the employer’s city provides the rate they would be paying non-remote workers in the same role.

There are a lot of online resources that allow you to search specific job titles, years of experience, company size, and set regions. Check out Indeed Salary Search, Glassdoor, and Salary.com to get started. For an employer’s perspective, read Buffer’s Medium post on how it calculates remote worker salaries.

If you have time to prepare, it’s beneficial to explore other location rates before going into negotiations. As a remote worker, prospective offers could come from anywhere. Your employer needs to understand a better offer could come around next month if they’re not meeting a global standard—and maybe you would rather hold out for that offer and the higher compensation

Restate your value from a new perspective

At this point, the company has read through your resume and spoken to your references. Ultimately, the recruiter is sold, but the negotiation process is an opportunity to “re-sell” yourself from a new perspective.

Now is a good time to remind both yourself and your potential employer of the value you offer.

Don’t focus on what you’ve achieved in the past because that’s what brought you to the table. Focus on your unique value and how you see yourself impacting the company’s long-term growth. Be confident you can make a difference and show enthusiasm about the opportunity to join the team. Remind them of the guaranteed return on investment of your employment, and your negotiations will start off with a respectful offer.

Provide a strategic range

Do you hit them with a cold, hard number or propose an open range? It’s the ultimate salary negotiation question.
Some candidates prefer a range with their desired salary in the middle, hoping for the offer to “meet them halfway”. Some employment specialists lean towards providing a single number, because potential employers take advantage of the lower end of the range you offer.

But why not let them?

The trick here is how you set your salary range.

When hoping for a $75,000 salary, it’s natural to spit out a range of $70,000 to $80,000. Instead, try setting the bottom of your range to what you actually want. In this example, we would offer a range of $75,000-95,000. By doing this, your employer feels like they’re getting a deal at $75,000, and you walk away with what you wanted. If they meet you halfway, you score some extra cash on top or alternatively, they may offer additional benefits to balance your request.

As long as you keep the “low” number reasonable based off your research and the value you provide, employers rarely come back with a refusal to meet you somewhere within your provided range.

Look at the whole package

Once you’ve conducted research and put your numbers on the table, it’s easy to forget about perks that aren’t reflected in the salary. Keep these in mind throughout your negotiations.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Is there an opportunity to travel like you’ve always wanted to?
  • Does the company offer flexible hours that fit into your early riser schedule?
  • Does it allow you to manage an incredible team of skilled individuals?
  • Can you work on your own projects on the side, if desired?
  • How will this position help you progress in your career, learn new skills, or gain important experience?

While negotiations focus on financial compromise, keep these other components in mind. When evaluating two options, Company A may provide 20% more compensation but Company B might be the best choice because it fits your lifestyle and makes you excited to work.

Making your decision solely based off the numbers could mean finding yourself searching for something new in no time.

Be willing to walk away

There’s nothing more valuable than knowing your worth.

Negotiations are an opportunity for give and take, but ask yourself whether you’re giving too much, what value exists beyond salary, and if the job is the right step in your career.

These questions are what’s going to help you decide if a company’s final offer is the right decision for you. Sometimes you may just land your dream job, but other times you may be clouded with compliments before realizing someone is taking advantage of you.

See how their offer compares to what you feel you’re worth. If it’s not adding up, speak up, but accept that you may have to walk away.


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