The following guidelines are specific to how you can approach your personal branding on the 3 most used branding sites for your job search:
- LinkedIn: make it easy for employers to find you and get to know your story
- GitHub: add your personality to your profile
- Twitter: show your brand through your engagement and discussion
- Miscellaneous: consider blog posts, open source contributions, or speaking at a meetup as a way to add to your brand
LinkedIn is specifically set up to utilize algorithms and context to help employers find potential candidates and vice versa. As we look at LinkedIn today, we’ll talk about how you can passively use it for your job search – how do people find you? How do they know who you are? It all has to do with how you tell your stories and the particular keywords that you’re using. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, now is time to set one up here.
Dissecting the Profile
First Look: The top of your profile is an opportunity to make a great first impression. When a recruiter or potential employer clicks on your profile, they see 4 initial things:
- Your picture: Headshot of just you (not your friends, family, or pets!) and the same photo across your multiple profiles. Don’t have a professional-looking headshot? Check out this post with tips on how to take your own!
- Your headline: What your expertise is
- Your location: Where do you want to be? If you want to work in San Francisco, list San Francisco
- The first few sentences of your summary: This is why it’s so important. Make those first 100 words stand out.
- This is your expertise
- What do you want your brand to be?
- When recruiters do a search, what keywords do you want to lead to you?
- Consider “Software Developer,” “Back End Engineer,” or “Front End Engineer”
You can combine your past experiences with new skills like “Software Developer Former Educator”
- Consider adding in languages/frameworks you specialize in
- Any keywords here should be consistently displayed throughout your profile
Summary: This is the story that you’re telling: who you are (as a developer, worker, teammate, individual, etc.), how you got here (why software development, why now), what’s next (what are your longterm career goals/ambitions). Your story is one of the few places in the profile where you can introduce yourself as a whole person and should be told from a high level.
Tips for an effective summary:
- Keep it to 2-3 short paragraphs, 2-3 sentences per paragraph
- Write it in first person
- Provide a call to action – what do you want people to do when they see your profile? Do you want them to look at your code, website, email you?
- Put your email address right there in the summary. Once you get a job, you can take it out, but don’t create any blockers right now
Examples: What can a LinkedIn summary look like?
- Merge your past experience with your new career path:
- “Combining marketing experience with a love for data, I’m a software developer looking to…”
- What are your motives?
- “My love for helping people led me to develop apps that focus on the user experience…”
- What do you enjoy working with? Mention your specialities (aka keywords):
- “Along with my experience in client-side development, I have been learning and working with Node, Express, Knex, PostgreSQL and RESTful API creation to fill out my server-side experience.”
Still need convincing that you need a summary?
- The summary allows you to show up in search results
- Remember: 82% of business decision makers said that presence in search results was an influential factor when vetting people online
- A summary is an easy way for someone to learn specifically about you when searching for candidates
Work Experience: As you list your past experiences, your accompanying description should not be bullet points. Why? It doesn’t read as well on LinkedIn and interferes with keyword searches. LinkedIn is also built out to be a storytelling platform, so use it that way. Write in complete sentences and paragraphs. Think about how you read across a computer screen. You want your profile to be easy to scan since recruiters only have so much time to look at them.
- Focus on applicable and transferable skills; Again, consider keyword searches
- Instead of listing tasks, discuss value of your past work.
- What value did you bring to this company?
- Link to the name of the company
- List Turing under experience but clearly state that you’re a student in the description of the experience.
- Avoid using the word “student” in any titles
- Describe your experience while at Turing; list technologies and value you’ve created through your project work
Education: Under education, make sure to include Turing again as this ties you to the Turing alumni page, which allows our Turing network to grow so that future students can seek out where alumni work just like you are
Personalized URL: Edit your URL with your name. Use just your first and last name, no numbers – you don’t want to open yourself up to any age discrimination.
To edit your URL, click on “edit your public profile” on the righthand side of the screen. From there, you’ll see an edit button for your URL. If your name is taken, use your middle name, etc. but it should be consistent across all social platforms. This is also easy to put on resumes and business cards.
Nice to haves: Don’t spend a ton of time on these extras, but consider how they may add to your profile.
- Projects: any visuals are helpful. Recruiters aren’t going to see this on their first look. They will see it on their second sweep
- Skills: list all the technologies you use even if you haven’t been endorsed for them, but they should be in the lower part
- You can make your LinkedIn in multiple languages to address and attract different communities. This is effective if you’d like to work abroad
Career Interests Button: Below your summary, on your personal dashboard, there is an option to update your career interests to let recruiters know if you’re actively, passively, or not looking for opportunities. You can update this if you’d like to let recruiters know more specifically about your interests. Be warned – you may open yourself up to lots of contacts if you click it on, and they may not always be helpful. But this would also increase your conversations with recruiters, which at the very least could be a good learning opportunity.
Add Connections Your network & their relevance to the job you want DO matter – start connecting with peers in the industry!
- Aim for at least 100 connections
- Quality over quantity
- When adding Turing staff/alumni, please include an introductory message.
- Engage with your connections by liking, commenting on, and/or sharing their updates.
- As you continue to grow in your development at Turing, share your own updates, whether they be blog posts or links to projects.
Examples of Effective Alumni LinkedIn Profiles
You already have a GitHub profile – make sure it looks good!
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Add a headshot photo rather than using the avatar to look more professional. It’s also helpful for it to be the same photo you use on your LinkedIn or other branding sites to show continuity of your story and let employers know they’re finding the same person.
- Complete your GitHub profile with:
- Your name (especially if it’s different from your username)
- Link to personal site once you have one
- Twitter handle
- Include your email address so that anyone who sees your profile can immediately reach out to you
- Create a ReadMe for your profile so that other developers can get to know you
- Pin your best projects to your profile page and keep it up-to-date
- File issues on all your repos for things that need fixing up
Here are some additional resources, but don’t feel pressure to make this too fancy. It’s better to be tasteful and understated with answers to some basic questions than to look too busy. Check these out:
- Martin Heinz’s Build a Stunning ReadMe for your GitHub profile. Note: be careful with the emojis. His are very subtle and tasteful. If you’re not 100% positive yours are as well, better to leave them out.
- Gapur Kasim’s How to Create an Awesome GitHub Profile ReadMe. Note: some other interesting widgets that you could stretch for. Don’t go overboard, and if they don’t highlight what you want, tell the story you’d like, better to leave them out.
- Andres Villegas’s Creating a Standout GitHub Profile ReadMe. Note: again, be careful with the custom images. Ask someone you trust to tell you if they look professional/add to the experience.
Make sure that all of your projects have a ReadMe. Think about the ReadMe as encompassing a few things:
- It’s an advertisement of your work. How can you highlight important accomplishments and challenges?
- It’s documentation. If someone else were going to use your project, what do they need to know?
You don’t have to have a Twitter account. But a lot of software developers (aka the people you want to connect with) are using Twitter, so we would highly recommend that you create a profile if you don’t have one already!
Twitter allows you to:
- Display your brand visually and through written content
- Engage in conversations that reinforce your personal brand
- Include a headshot of you
- Include your personal website link, email, and mini, high-level bio introduction
- Consider what your profile says about you to someone that has never met you
- Search for topics interesting to you (“webdev”, “edtech”, “diversity in tech”)
- Consider how you would approach a conversation at a party. Listen, observe, then evaluate when is appropriate to interject with your opinion, perspective, knowledge.
- Add to the conversation
- Start your own conversations
- What’s important to you?
- What content can you share?
- This isn’t about self-promotion per se, it’s about connection
Follow From this post 15 Twitter Accounts Every Web Developer Should Follow:
Front End Developers:
- Catt Small (@cattsmall)
- Harry Roberts (@csswizardry)
- CSS Tricks (@Real_CSS_Tricks)
- Jen Simmons (@jensimmons)
- Rachel Andrew (@rachelandrew)
- Nathan Yau (@flowingdata)
Ruby on Rails Developers:
- DHH (@dhh)
- Justin Searls (@searls)
- Sarah Mei (@sarahmei)
- Colin Jones (@trptcolin)
- Thomas Fuchs (@thomasfuchs)
- Trek Glowacki (@trek)
- Egghead.io (@eggheadio)
- Jason Fried (@jasonfried)
- Free Code Camp (@freecodecamp)
- The Practical Dev (@ThePracticalDev)