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
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.