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How to Optimize Your Profile and Build a Developer Network on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network where you can connect and build relationships with other professionals in your field. A strong developer profile can lead to potential job opportunities and more connections in this industry. But how do you go about optimizing your profile and building a developer network on LinkedIn?

In this article, I will walk you through each of the sections for a LinkedIn profile and show you the best ways to optimize them. I will also share tips on how to build relationships with other developers on Linkedin.

🔗Table of contents

🔗What title should you use on Linkedin?

A lot of people will say that titles don't matter, but in reality titles do play a role in our society whether we like it or not. If you are currently working as a software developer, then your title can say Software Developer or Software Engineer at XYZ company. If you are a lead, staff engineer, senior, etc., then put that in your title.

If you are looking for your first job, then use "Software Developer" and list the technologies you are comfortable with. You want to avoid titles like "Aspiring Developer" or "Soon to be Developer" because that may disuade potential employers from looking at you before they are given an opportunity to understand what you have accomplished as a web developer despite not yet finding a formal role.

🔗How to Optimize Your Profile and Background Images

When it comes to your profile picture, it is important to remember that you are interacting with other professionals in your industry. You want to choose a clean head shot that would be acceptable in professional settings.

Avoid using pictures of you partying in college, or pictures that don't even show your face.

You don't need to spend tons of money on professional head shots. You can even have a friend or family member take a head shot of you wearing a nice shirt.

🔗Is it Ok to Not Include a Profile Image?

If you want to optomize your profile, it is very important to include a profile image.

A lot of hiring managers and recruiters are actively looking for developers and your profile image helps put a face to the skills and experience listed. By omitting that image, you might get passed over for potential opportunities.

🔗Do I Need a Background Image?

A clean and simple background image can help your profile standout. Canva is a free design tool that you can use to create a Linkedin banner. They have dozens of free templates to choose from that you can customize and apply to your profile.

Here is what my LinkedIn profile and banner image looks like. Jessica Wilkins Linkedin profile image for article

🔗How to Create a Custom Linkedin URL

Linkedin has a feature where you can customize your profile URL making it easier for people to find you. To learn how to create a custom URL, please read through this Linkedin article.

When it comes to naming your URL, I would suggest keeping it short and simple. I would suggest using your name and occupation like this: Jessica Wilkins Linkedin custom URL for article

🔗How to Optimize Your About Section

This section is your opportunity to provide a short background on who you are professionally. It is best to talk about the types of projects you have worked on and tools/languages you are most familiar with. It is also good to talk about how you are involved with the community. For example, you might want to highlight your participation in open source projects, or your experience as a content creator.

Here is my current "About" section:

"I am a classically trained musician turned software developer who enjoys building solutions to unique business problems. I primarily work with React and TypeScript to provide clean efficient solutions to build better software products. I am actively involved in giving back to the community by participating in open source projects like freeCodeCamp. I have also written over 100 technical articles on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python and career development."

🔗How Long Should the About Section Be?

I personally like "About" sections that are a few sentences long. You can also have 2-3 paragraphs for your "About" section. However, I don't think it should be any longer than what can be read in a minute or two because the goal is to provide a brief overview of who you are, not a complete autobiography.

🔗What is the Features Section on Linkedin?

This is a section on your Linkedin profile where you can show off some of your recent projects and articles. In my opinion, it can act as a small portfolio, and is often underutilized by software developers.

Here is a screenshot of my features section. jessica wilkins features section linkedin

I chose to list my Black Excellence Music Project and a couple of my top performing freeCodeCamp articles. This is a visually appealing way to show potential employers and recruiters your top work.

🔗How to Optimize Your Experience Section

This section should be reserved only for work experience. There are other sections in your Linkedin profile where you can add volunteer experience or education.

Just like on a resume, you would place your most recent jobs first. Try to focus on highlighting significant contributions you made to the projects.

Here is an example from my experience section on Linkedin.

  • Implemented a light/dark theme solution for the This Dot Labs website
  • Performed accessibility audits for the This Dot Labs website and provided solutions for increasing performance and accessibility scores
  • Performed extensive smoke testing for client applications and reported bugs and feature requests to the rest of the development team
  • Built out several UI examples for a client's documentation page

If you have freelance experience, talk about the types of projects you built for them, and how you added value to their business.

🔗Should You Show Unrelated Tech Experience on Your Linkedin Profile?

If you are a career changer like myself, there is nothing wrong with showing your previous work experience from another industry. That shows potential employers that you have worked in a professional setting before and have been gainfully employed for the past few years.

As long as you place your relevant tech experience at the top, then you will be fine.

🔗How to Optimize Your Education Section

If you have a college degree, even if it is not in computer science, definitely list that on your Linkedin profile. If you have certifications, like the AWS certification, then list those as well.

There is some debate about whether or not to list certifications from online courses like Udemy. In my opinion, there is no harm in listing those, but it won't carry as much weight with employers and recruiters as AWS certifications, bootcamp certificates, or computer science degrees will.

🔗Should You Have Recommendations on Your Profile?

Yes!

When people can vouch for your work, it goes a long way with future employers and recruiters. This will be especially helpful for those looking for their first full time software job who have done contract work or freelance work in the past.

🔗Should You Take Linkedin Skills Tests?

There is a section on Linkedin where you can take different skills tests in areas like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. If you pass those tests, then you can list them on your profile.

These skill tests don't hold a lot of weight with recruiters or potential employers because they will provide their own skills tests during the interview process. There is no harm in taking them if you want to, but doesn't add a whole lot to your profile.

🔗Exploring Other Sections of the Linkedin Profile

We have covered all of the core sections of the Linkedin profile, but there are additional sections you can choose to add.

Here are some sections you might consider exploring:

  • Volunteer experience
  • Projects
  • Organizations
  • Publications
  • Courses

You can find all of these additional sections when you click on the "Add Profile" button at the top of your Linkedin profile.

For more information and suggestions on how to optimize your profile, I suggest you watch Danny Thompson's Linkedin series on YouTube.

🔗How to Connect With Other Developers on Linkedin

There are many ways to build out your network on Linkedin. One common way would be to send a connection request to another developer.

If you have been following someones' work online, or previously connected through a conference or online meetup, it would be a good idea to connect with them on Linkedin too.

Here is a sample message you can send along with your connect request.

"Hi, this is Jessica Wilkins and I enjoyed talking with you at the last Women in Tech meetup. I would love to be able to connect with you here on Linkedin too."

Now, when that person receives that connection request with a personalized message, they will be more inclined to accept. If you just send a connection request to a complete stranger without a personal message, then you will most likely be ignored.

Another way to connect with developers, is by commenting on and sharing others' posts.

If someone is sharing an article or posting a hot topic, feel free to jump in the conversation. If you really enjoyed the article, then share it and/or reach out through personal message letting the author know you enjoyed it.

Those small gestures will go a long way to build connections over time.

🔗Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed that article on optimizing your Linkedin profile and building connections with other developers. Linkedin is a very powerful tool and can help you advance in your career.

If you are interested in connecting with me on Linkedin, then please visit my profile.


This Dot Labs is a JavaScript consulting firm that enables companies to build and improve their digital technologies with confidence. For expert architectural guidance, training, consulting, engineering leadership, and development services in React, Angular, Vue, Web Components, GraphQL, Node, Bazel, Polymer, and more, visit thisdot.co

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