How to Make the Most out of LinkedIn as a New Developer

Trying to write your resume but finding yourself with too much to say? You’re not alone. Distilling your past experience into a one-page summary takes a lot of work. If you're having trouble figuring out what to cut and what to keep, you might find my last post helpful: “Out of Room? What to Cut from a Developer Resume.”

OK, so now you have a nice, clear one-page resume of relevant information. What do you do now? How do you get to tell the rest of your story? That’s where LinkedIn comes in.

Your resume is basically just the first step to get you in the door -- a tool the hiring manager can use to quickly see if you meet the basic requirements for the job. It doesn’t have to be formulaic, but it should definitely be to the point and businesslike. Your LinkedIn profile, however, gives the company a window into who you are as a person, so they can move beyond assessing your skills and start evaluating whether they’d want to hang out with you every day in the office.

two men meeting digitally

Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to be an essential part of every job seeker’s online presence. You can almost guarantee that an employer will look at your LinkedIn profile when considering you for a job. In addition, recruiters search through LinkedIn profiles based on keywords. 

Even so, many new developers simply cut and paste the information from their resumes onto their LinkedIn profiles. What’s the point of that? You were looking for somewhere to tell the rest of your story -- here it is! (Well, here and in your cover letter, but that’s another blog). 

Yeah, it takes time to fill it out completely, but the extra effort is clearly worth it, especially for career changers. So, set aside an hour, pour yourself a glass of wine, and dig in. 

A few tips:

Pay attention to your photo

You might think this is a given, but I've seen some pretty strange LinkedIn profile pictures. You don't have to spend a ton of money on an expensive photo shoot, but please make sure that your headshot is warm, friendly, and professional. 

Get personal

Instead of just repeating your responsibilities and accomplishments, discuss them. What did you like about the job? What were you praised for? Tell a story, make it interesting. Feel free to use first-person in your LinkedIn profile to facilitate this. 

Keep it positive

This open sharing has limits though! Be honest, but please, please, refrain from negativity. Talking about how you were bored out of your mind in your last position or bad-mouthing your former employer for being stingy will only make you look petty.

Fill in all the blanks

There are a ton of possible fields to fill out in LinkedIn. Think of everything you put on here as more like "conversation starters" rather than "requirements to get the job." Volunteer work, projects, causes, interests, there's a space for everything in there.

For example, if you're anything less than fluent or bilingual in a language other than English, it's best to leave that off your developer resume (unless you're applying for a job in a country that speaks that language of course). However, you can totally put "Limited working" or even "Elementary" language proficiencies in your LinkedIn. Who knows, maybe your potential interviewer is learning Mandarin too!

Connect

Finally, to ensure you are using your LinkedIn profile to its maximum potential, be sure to make those connections! Reach out and connect with everyone in your professional circle, and when you meet a new person at a networking event or other venue, be sure to connect with them as soon as possible. Be judicious though: LinkedIn is not the venue to connect with as many random strangers as possible. Only connect with professionals who you know or are planning to reach out to. 

 

We provide detailed guidance for and reviews of LinkedIn profiles in our programs. If you're interested in learning more, please click the button below to download a course packet!

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Author
Katy McElroy

Student Services Coordinator