7 Steps to Making a Marketable LinkedIn Profile

Job seekers — the age of endless applications and cover letters is dead. There’s a better way to find a job in tech.

Use. Social. Media.

Why?

You have so much unrestricted access to recruiters (like me!), hiring managers, and developers on LinkedIn and Twitter. Why not use that access to land yourself a job?

This five-part series will help you take small, actionable steps to build your network, educate yourself about the market, and create the connections you need to land your next job in an easier (and more enjoyable) way.

LinkedIn is going through a renaissance right now. There’s no better platform for generating organic networking connections. To use LinkedIn most effectively, you need to start by making your profile marketable.

1. Create a great banner photo.

Cover photos are important because they’re the first thing you see. Effective banner photos tell a story. I’m a big fan of my buddy Dan Thompson’s banner for this reason. His banner guides your eye left-to-right starting with his contact information, a silhouette of the Tampa skyline, and some words that describe who he is.

What’s the story?

“I’m Dan. I’m a friendly, helpful wine enthusiast from Tampa — and I’m approachable.”

He accomplished all of that in one photo!

At a minimum, include your contact information.

Even if you’re not a graphic designer, you can still make a great banner photo using a tool like Canva.

2. Write a keyword-rich title.

It’s the first thing recruiters read when they search for candidates. Humor me and type “.net developer” into LinkedIn’s search bar, then filter it by your location.

Notice any trends?

The people who show up in your search likely have some combination of “.net developer, software engineer” and a list of their core competencies in their titles.

That’s because this is exactly what recruiters like me do when they search for potential candidates. If your title doesn’t reflect the job you want, you’re not gonna get the job.

3. Flesh out your “Featured” section.

The “Featured” section is your opportunity to highlight your work. I know you’re thinking, “Taylor, what should I put here?” Here’s the deal. You need to use your Featured section to start a conversation. Give me something to reach out to you about. That might be your website, your projects, or your blog.

What NOT to include: hold off on the resume and cover letter for when we’re already talking. I know that might seem strange, but you need to think about it from a recruiter’s perspective.

What’s more impressive, a living, breathing project that you’ve built, or a cold dead black and white resume? Show me the shiny to get me in the door. Then we’ll talk about your resume.

4. What about the “About” section?

Think of the “About” section as an extension of your Title. It’s not the most important piece of your profile, but it should show a little personality. I use some self-deprecating humor in my “About” section. One of my connections describes herself as “a software developer who likes pineapple on pizza.”

Short. Sweet. Engaging.

Ride your vibe in the About section.

5. Show Career Progression in your “Experience” section.

Talk to five different recruiters and they’ll tell you five different ways to write your experience section. That said, having talked to thousands of developers myself, the most effective use of the experience section I’ve seen is as a condensed resume.

Your job titles should demonstrate career progression. Include your projects. Each project should have three bullet points:

First, outline the project (or the project you worked on if it’s past experience) at a 30,000 ft. view. Describe it like you’re trying to get your mom to understand what you do.

Second, detail the specific tech you mainly used on the project.

The third bullet point should be the whole tech stack and all tools you used on the project from front to back.

The trick is using enough technical jargon to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, but describing the projects in layman’s terms for us stupid recruiters to understand.

6. Recommendations don’t MAKE your Profile…but they help.

Here’s the deal. If you don’t have any recommendations, it’s not like I’m moving on from your profile. However, if six or seven people took the time to write a recommendation for you, I’ll probably shoot you a message.

Recommendations suggest you’re pretty good, or at least that you know how to develop relationships. Don’t be shy to ask for recommendations from people who are willing to give them. They’ll only strengthen your profile.

7. Your “Interests” section is full of ice-breakers.

I’m a huge fan of networking through Direct Messages. In part 3 of this guide, I’ll dig into the ins and outs of how to DM effectively, but I’ll leave you today with this thought: when you’re reaching out to a recruiter, it’s important that you take some interest in who they are as a person. If you take the time to check out some of their interests, you can use them to get their attention. You might notice a recruiter shares an interest with you.

Let’s say, for example, you want to reach out to someone and you notice South Carolina football in their “Interests” section.

Which ice-breaker would you respond to?

“Hi John, I am looking for a job.”

OR

“Hey John, I noticed you’re a South Carolina football fan. I am too! How about that receiving core this year?”

On your profile, be mindful of what your interests say about you. Don’t overthink it, but remember: recruiters want to talk to you as much as you want to talk to them. Give them something to open a conversation with.

Want to catch all five parts of this guide in one place? I gave a complete talk about How Social Media Can Help You Land Your Dream Job on egghead.io HERE.

I’m a recruiter! I match job seekers with folks who are hiring. Check out my job board and more guides at taylordesseyn.com.

I host a daily podcast called Guidance Counselor 2.0 where I talk to job seekers, hiring managers, and tech industry professionals about all things jobs HERE.

Tweet at ya boy @tdessyn.

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Sr. Recruiter Advocate at Vaco in Nashville, TN

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