With more than 300 million users and 2 new users signing up per second LinkedIn is widely known to be one of the biggest networks online. LinkedIn accredits its success to the niche it caters for, that of the job market. With LinkedIn’s geographical reach of 200 countries and territories and its 100 million US user base it’s the perfect place to make a professional profile for yourself and collate your career online.
I began my professional programming career more than a year ago. As a member of this current social online generation my first stop in my job search was LinkedIn. I want to discuss how to set up or optimize your already existing LinkedIn profile in the area of Software development, programming and Computer science engineering.
Pretty straight forward. Keep it simple using your first and last name. You want to be as easy to identify as possible.
When you are found you need a professional photograph at the head of your profile. Do not use logos or other images. Research has shown that you are eight times more likely to be hired with a clear and concise profile image. Below is my current LinkedIn profile which i am working on upgrading. This is an example of what not to have as your profile picture. My image has two people in it. Its outside the NYSE with a floor trader so i thought it was a cool enough image to have on LinkedIn. Now that i have been working with LinkedIn and using it to its fullest ability i can see that this decision for an image was terrible. Time for a change. If you choose to you may add a background image to your profile. This can be a nice way of letting the viewer know what industry you are in or what your interest are.
Your title should be short and simple. As a programmer you may think that including the technology you most frequently use is a wise idea. I would advise to keep it brief and to the point. Remember you are communicating with HR Departments that may not fully understand “MS SSRS & SSIS 08 Developer”. Keep your title short and simple. “Systems developer & Analyst”, “Systems Architect” or “Database Administrator”.
Your profile summary should give a brief insight into you. Speak in the first person while elaborating on who you are, what your interests are and what you have done. It may be hard to come up with the right quirky summary but take your time with it. Keep the entire summary to 2,000 characters.
Your experience is important. It is the forefront of your LinkedIn profile and it is the one thing potential employers will be looking for when they find your profile. Below is an example of what i wrote for a 4 month contract with a company. I clearly indicated the role i was in. I linked the company that i worked for and referenced the time span with which i was there. Using bullet points i indicated again my main role in a little more detail. I then listed one of my main tasks while with the company. Always list one main task. In an interview situation you may very well be asked to talk about a project you worked on in your last job. Pick one task if there were many and highlight its importance.
I then listed the main concepts of what i undertook during my contract. It is important at either the top or bottom of your brief to fully include the technologies with which you were using. Treat these as tags or keywords and make sure it is easily seen.
Links – Projects
You should consider uploading your projects somewhere and linking them to your profile. For instance if you use github i would advise you to link your git repository to your profile so that others can see your projects and how involved you are with other projects. Regardless of whether or not you are a github user find a host online and upload your content. Dropbox is a great tool for this.
Connect with others
LinkedIn is a social network, a great one at that. If you are just creating a new profile you will be presented with the option to add all your fiends that are found through your inbox and also feature on LinkedIn. Make as many friends and connections as possible. Through all these connections you build, you constantly branching out the the wide community.
Groups are a great way to get involved in a development community. Consider starting your own group. Groups are brilliant methods of showing leadership. You may find that after time you are connecting a massive community together. This is brilliant because you can then build a personal network. If you are bold enough to start a group then begin by bringing to it some valuable content. Not interested in setting up a group? Not to worry. There are plenty out there that you can join anyway. Search for the technologies that you work with and become a member. The groups you join will be displayed on your profile. Come join my new LinkedIn group.
For me this post has served as more of a summary to the main and important features of a programmers LinkedIn profile. I will revisit this more as i conclude the update of my own profile. In the meantime i strongly welcome this as a discussion and would greatly appreciate all criticisms, suggestions and hear of some of your own experience you may have had.