As a software developer, LinkedIn is probably your least favorite social network. As everyone knows, we would rather spend our time on Reddit, Dev.to, or Hacker News. However, as much as it doesn’t rank high in our favorite social networks, LinkedIn is probably the most important platform if you want to get a programming job before 2022. This article will focus on the advantages of networking on LinkedIn and how to optimize your profile, in spite of the many downside that come with being on LinkedIn everyday.
Some of the things we will cover are how you can quickly update your resume, connect and form relationships with other software developers, get in in front of hundreds of recruiters without leaving your house, read interesting articles on tech, and learn about exciting opportunities.
It’s important to point out that LinkedIn is the number one place recruiters and hiring managers go to source for prospective job candidates and it’s where almost every tech job listing is posted first.
How do you use LinkedIn to get a job?
To get the attention of recruiters and employers, you need to have an outstanding LinkedIn profile that will catch their attention. And how exactly do you make your profile exceptional?
Below are some of the best LinkedIn practices for software developers that will ensure your profile is ranked high by the LinkedIn algorithm and noticed by hiring managers and recruiters.
1. Complete your LinkedIn profile
A LinkedIn profile that is 100% complete (all-star profile) is 40 times more likely to get opportunities in LinkedIn. This is because of the internal algorithm put in place by LinkedIn to ensure completed profiles rank higher, therefore, making you more likely to be discovered.
Here’s what you need to get your LinkedIn profile to be an all-star profile:
- Professional profile picture
- Location and your areas of interest in your summary
- Work Experience (include your current position and two previous posts, ideally)
- Fill out all of your Skills (these will help you show up in search results)
- Education Information (these can also help you show up in search results)
- 500+ connections (take it slow and work on making connections as often as you can)
2. Pick the right Keywords
Keywords are everything on LinkedIn. As I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn has an internal search algorithm that is used by recruiters and hiring managers to source talent.
To ensure these employers locate you, you need to emphasize the specific things you want to work with, such as frameworks and languages. For example, you can put keywords like Python, Sass, and Angular.js, etc., at various places on your profile.
At the same time, you need to make sure you de-emphasize skills and frameworks that you are no longer interested in working with. By limiting these keywords, you will avoid recruiters who may otherwise have contacted you for the said skills.
3. Optimize the summary section
The summary section is the only place you get to write on LinkedIn freely. So please take advantage of it. This is an opportunity to tell your story and describe what motivates you. But be careful not to be just another storyteller.
Avoid using words like “motivate.” Instead, show examples of how you are motivated, e.g., “After discovering my passion for software development, I couldn’t get enough. I started creating websites for friends and family, interned with a local business, and also became a freelance software developer. I look forward to bringing that same drive and passion to a full-time role.”
You should also include technologies and languages you want to work with.
Write in the first person (I did this and that). Let it be like you are talking to a person and explaining to them what you do. It’s essential to use your own voice and to sound natural.
Moreover, avoid going overboard with the keywords. LinkedIn’s algorithm will know you’re trying to play the system.
Finally, make sure your summary is not less than 40 words. This will ensure that it is indexed better in the internal search results on LinkedIn.
4. Add a call-to-action
Always include a call-to-action (CTA). The idea is for the hiring managers and recruiters to be intrigued and prompted to find out more about you off your LinkedIn profile. The best place to place your CTA is in the summary section.
Here are some examples of a CTA you can use:
- Contact me directly at [email protected].
- Check out my design samples at portfolioname.com.
- See my GitHub repositories at mygithub.com.
5. Draw attention to your most impressive experiences
These experiences will attract recruiters directly to your inbox. Make sure to place these impressive skills and experiences higher on the hierarchy of your profile.
For instance, if you are working in a job unrelated to software development at the moment, your “Experience” section is not likely to catch the attention of web development recruiters. But if you have taken some courses or done solo projects, make sure you draw attention to these skills and experiences.
However, do not remove your unrelated experience but rather curate your profile in a way that draws attention to the impressive experiences.
6. Highlight transferable skills
If you’re a newer software developer, your tech skills might not be all that impressive. If this is the case, make sure to highlight any skills that may transfer from your current and previous non-tech positions. Remember to show, not tell. You can do this by providing examples and citing evidence.
Below are some transferable skills, which are highly valued in any role:
- Communication skills such as writing, presenting, negotiating, teaching, and mentoring.
- Teamwork or collaboration. Show that you can be a team player by mentioning collaboration tools you’ve used. You can also give examples of ways you’ve successfully worked with clients or teams, etc.
- Problem-solving skills. Let them see that you can troubleshoot issues in new ways.
- Planning and organization skills. These skills mean you are organized in thought, communication, and workflow. Demonstrate this by showing processes you’ve developed.
- Self-discipline. This will show that you can manage multiple responsibilities, and you can multitask without getting stressed.
Also, remember to always note software and tools you are familiar with, such as Microsoft Excel, Salesforce, Asana, etc. You’ll be surprised to see how some of these skills can still be relevant in other roles.
7. Show your work
Showing your work will help substantiate the skills and experiences you have stated on your profile. This will help to boost your profile, especially if you do not have much experience.
You can show your work by adding media to the summary, education, and experience sections. This media may include documents, photos, links, videos, and presentations. You can also provide evidence of your skills by adding links to your portfolio, Codepen, GitHub, or blog.
8. Fill out the education section
The education section is vital if you have little experience because it proves that you’ve studied, acquired, and been tested on your software development knowledge. This section can also show the recruiters that you value self-improvement.
It has also been proved that people who fill out the education section receive 10 times more profile visits than those who opt to leave it blank.
The good thing about this section is that you don’t have to fill only formal college education. So don’t worry if you don’t have a degree. Fill in any other educational experience you have obtained.
9. Build your network
Most people on LinkedIn just add random people to their network. Avoid this at all costs. Instead, be strategic and intentional with the people you invite to your LinkedIn.
You are also not obligated to accept every person that sends you an invite to their LinkedIn. Search for profiles that are interesting to you or those that would most likely be interested in connecting with you.
This can be done by sharing your profile on your other social media forums or platforms where you already have an engaging audience.
Here are some profiles to consider when building your network:
- Profiles that have similar certifications to you
- CTOs in your area
- Experts in your area of specialization
- Tech bloggers
- People who attended the same events you did
10. Stay active
A dormant account is less likely to receive any views from recruiters and hiring managers. LinkedIn is a highly engaging platform so make sure you post content and interact with others on LinkedIn to expand your reach.
However, it is important to note that the way content is consumed on LinkedIn is different from other social media channels. People are on LinkedIn with specific goals such as finding jobs, learn new skills, sell services, look for a job candidate, and find opportunities to network.
This means that your content should be curated in a way that brings value to your network and is relevant to your industry. It would help if you also were intentional with your interactions with the publications on your feed.
You can also decide to add the “Author badge” by publishing some blog articles natively on LinkedIn. This badge will add notoriety to your profile and even attract more opportunities for you because you will now stand out from the competition.
You can launch a coding career on LinkedIn
These LinkedIn best practices are guaranteed to boost your profile, make it rank among the best in the tech niche, and attract the right opportunities straight into your inbox. But even if you’re not looking for a job on the platform, almost all other job applications will require your LinkedIn profile URL, and having it ready will make your job application a lot easier.
A good LinkedIn profile can also be used for branding purposes and cataloging your achievements. So be sure to use these practices to get the best LinkedIn profile in your area of specialization.