How to use LinkedIn as a developer to get a job in tech
• Originally published at scrimba.com
Can you picture it? Opening your LinkedIn on a Monday morning to warm messages from recruiters inviting you to interview.
This post will show you how to make that vision a reality by optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
Once your LinkedIn is in tip-top shape you will also learn how to reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn. Not sure what to say? Don't worry! We've included message templates for you to adapt. Remember - you will be much more likely to find success by making a personal connection with a recruiter than by cold applying 🥶
4 tips to optimize your profile
You can spend a lot of time fiddling with options on LinkedIn but when we spoke to Austin Henline from LinkedIn he explained these are the 4 that matter most.
- Have a professional headshot
- Write a great summary
- Make your headline the job you want
- Set your industry to "Software Development"
Let's break it down 👇🏻
Have a professional headshot
Who would you reach out to?
- No avatar -> might assume inactive
- Group photo -> don't know who is who and looks unprofessional
- Professional background
People want to connect with other people (yes, recruiters are people too!) and latch on to friendly faces.
Should you meet someone in-person, it would be helpful if they know what you looked like as well!
Here are our guidelines on what makes a compelling LinkedIn profile picture:
- Crop the headshot (shoulders up)
- Wear whatever you're comfortable with
- Make sure the background is clean
- Full body picture
- Pull a silly face 😝😜
- Leave stuff lying around in the background
"But Michael! I don't have access to a professional photographer!"
I hear you!
With your phone camera and natural sunlight, I am confident you can take a decent portrait. The trick is not to worry about the background at this stage.
Once you have a handsome headshot, you can easily remove the background from your photo using remove.bg.
Then can add a flat or gradient color background using Canva.
Write a great summary
Your summary is probably the first thing someone will read after your name so it's important you make it clear what skills you have and what roles you're interseted in. You should also provide some context aroun your career and mention what you've been up to (even if the experience has nothing to do with tech.)
Your summary is also an opportunity to include keywords which will increase the discoverability of your profile. Cramming keywords probably isn't a good look 🤔 but if you can naturally include job titles you want or skills you have (that recruiters might be searching for) in the description then that's AWESOME.
Writing a summary of yourself is never easy so we've come up with a 5-paragraph framework to help get the ball rolling:
- ✅ A hook You need to hook the reader and reel them a compelling opening paragraph. Ask yourself “what will really entice the reader to read on?”
- 👶🏻 Your past In your second paragraph talk about where you've been and what you've been doing
- 🧑🏻 Your present Write about what you're currently working on (for example a project or new skill)
- 👴🏻 Your Future Show the reader where you want to go. If their role is a good fit they will probably feel like there's a strong alignment and reach out
- 🎨 Your skills This is a great tip by Austin (the LinkedIn employee we spoke to.) In the last paragraph, write a comma-separated list of skills and technologies you've used. Doing so will help you appear in searches and allow recruiters and employers to see your skills at a glance without having to look deeper into your profile.
Make your headline the job you
Let me be clear:
If you have written so much as a line of code, you are a developer.
I give you permission to call yourself a developer in your LinkedIn headline!
It's vital that you you do.
Did you know? Recruiters have a different version of LinkedIn to us where they see a limited amount of information before deciding to click deeper into your profile.
Say you are working as a customer support agent and preparing to transition into tech. If a recruiter sees "Customer support agent" they might assume you're not a developer. Worse, you'll never show up in their search results because they searched "Frontend web developer" not "Customer support agent"
If you are looking for a Frontend Developer position, include it in your headline:
️ ℹ️ Tip LinkedIn headline's are limited to 220 characters. To bypass this, upload a banner image with more information about yourself. Include your contact information to make it even easier to contact you!
Set your industry to "Software Development"
If you are brand new to LinkedIn or transitioning from a previous career your profile's Industry might be wrong.
Make sure to set it to Software Development for the best chance of being discovered for, uh, software development jobs!
The industry setting helps the LinkedIn search engine to connect you to relevant opportunities, connections, and content. It also allows others, such as recruiters, to find your profile when they filter their searches by your selected industry.
Once you implement the optimisations described above, there is a good chance recruiters can find your profile. Now let's make it obvious you're open for work and ready to mingle!
Set your profile to "open for work"
LinkedIn has two options to indicate you are "open for work"
You can indicate to recruiters you are open to work but not broadcast this on your profile (good if you don't want to know your boss you're looking)
You can indicate to recruiters and the world you're open to work with a special avatar pictured above
It's totally up to you but remember to indicate you're open to work! Otherwise you can expect crickets 🦗!
A certificate can indicate you have the knowledge to get the job done without a degree. As someone newer to tech I recommend padding your profile out with any certificates you might have - for example a certification of completion from Scrimba's Frontend Developer Career Path.
Announce your certificate
Don't forget to write a post announcing your certificate. In general, writing posts is a great way to extend your network. It's possible LinkedIn show active profiles more favourably in the search results but that is not confirmed.
"But Michael! I don't know what to write!"
Well, it's best to keep it short and sweet. However, you will want to include to following key pieces of information:
- Provide context You can provide context by briefly describing your goals, such as, "I'm working toward transitioning into tech, and I just reached a major milestone!"
- Announce the certificate After you've provided context, in a new paragraph, announce the certificate: I just earned "WRITE YOUR CERTIFICATE HERE!"
- A call to action Finally, provide a call to action so that readers will know how they can help you. For example, you could write something like, "I'm now on the search for my first role. If anyone is hiring, has contacts, or knows of any positions available, please let me know!"
In the post, provide a picture of the certificate.
This way, at a glance, while others scroll through their feed and come across your post, they will know it refers to an accomplishment. 🎉
To ensure your post gets the most reach, include hashtags relevant to your certificate at the bottom of your post. For example, if you earned a Front-End Web Developer certificate, you could include the following:
Before reaching out to a recruiter, let's first understand the difference between the two types, internal and agency recruiters.
Internal vs. agency recruiters 🤔
- An internal recruiter works at the company where you are applying. Internal recruiters have other responsibilities besides recruiting, such as reviewing job applications and supporting candidates through the job process.
- An agency recruiter works independently (externally) from the companies you are applying. Agency recruiters work with several companies and are heavily commission-based, so there is a high incentive to help you. 😉
How do I find a recruiter?
To find recruiters on LinkedIn, in search, type technical and recruiter and add your city. For me, the search is "Technical Recruiter New York.”
How to reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn?
Once you have found a recruiter, your next step is to send a personalized invite.
Taylor Desseyn, a leading recruiter in the field, advises us to follow three steps when contacting recruiters:
- Admiration and flattery
- State a specific amount of time that you want to talk to them
- Ask the specific question that you want to ask
You can successfully lead your message with admiration and flattery by first looking at the recruiter's LinkedIn profile to learn more about them.
Once you have learned of their accomplishments, where they have worked, what schools they attended, and what they post in their activity, you can best customize the opening paragraph of the invite.
Now that you've warmed them up and got their attention, state a specific amount of time you require, such as three minutes, to discuss your question.
With a properly optimized LinkedIn profile, you're automating promoting yourself 24/7, resulting in a continual flow of employment opportunities coming directly to you!
Let everyone know if you are open to work or hiring by adding the corresponding banner to your profile picture. Or, to be discrete, you can adjust the settings to let recruiters know that you are open to working without the flashy banner.
You can have recruiters discover you by optimizing keywords in your profile, and you can also open up more work opportunities by being proactive by reaching out to and building relationships with local recruiters.
By posting certificates as you earn them, you are sharing your accomplishment and providing a call to action, letting your network, recruiters, and potential employers know, which may result in others reaching out to you for even more work opportunities!