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How I optimised my online presence to get opportunities

jackdomleo7 profile image Jack Domleo Originally published at jackdomleo.dev ・Updated on ・7 min read

All my articles are first published and hosted on my blog - you can find this article here. You may also be interested in my tweets on my Twitter profile and my monthly newsletter. πŸ”₯


Why did I join Twitter?

I'm a firm believer that a good online presence can lead to a really successful career path that may open you up to better job opportunities, invitations to talk shows and tech events, new friends, a widened knowledge base and understanding of tech.

I joined Twitter in April 2020, based on advice from one of my colleagues, Andrew Baker, who said to me, "Twitter can be used as a way of following people with a similar interest to you and seeing how they go about their projects and what tech they use. It's also useful to share your own work and hopefully receive some feedback. For example, you could tweet your Cooltipz.css project and see if anyone is willing to give it a test out and respond with some constructive feedback."

So, that's exactly what I did, I joined Twitter and I was hooked, not addicted. When I started following people and seeing some of the creations on CodePen, I was amazed and wanted to be involved more.

I began creating my own CodePens (I already had an account with some pens I was trialling) and seeing what little projects I could create. CodePen picked a few of my projects to be featured on the homepage and I started to be noticed.

Likewise, I was consistently tweeting about topics that mean a lot to me - front-end development, UI/UX, accessibility, self-development, motivation and inspiration - and starting creating my niche. Although I was only receiving approximately 2-3 likes per tweet, I was being noticed and anyone visiting my profile could see exactly what I was about and had some examples of what they would expect from my tweets.

What do I mean by opportunities?

When I say 'opportunities', I'm not specifically talking about job opportunities, although they are a valid candidate. Here is a list of some of the opportunities a great online presence can bring you (I have been offered most of them):

  • New/better job
  • New friends & connections
  • Exposure to new tech
  • Offers to do a talk either at an event or on a podcast
  • Offers to affiliate promote (Gumroad, Amazon, etc)
  • Paid tweets (yes, people will pay you to tweet)
  • Free stuff (books, t-shirts, mugs, etc)
  • Recognition
  • Large following
    • Which can be beneficial if you are ever selling anything like a book or a course
  • Freelance jobs
  • Paid articles (some companies may pay you to write for them)
  • And many more!

What did I do and what am I doing?

Jump ahead a few months to now (3 August 2020) and I'm up to almost 5000 followers on Twitter, almost 150 followers on CodePen, almost 300 followers on DEV.to, almost 60 followers on GitHub and over 300 connections on LinkedIn.

I'm going to show with you a list of resources and techniques that really helped me develop a good online presence and still growing.

  • I keep my online presence apolitical
    • I want to keep my feed and my presence relating to tech and helping people. As soon as I post something about politics, not all of my audience will agree with me and I am essentially denying that audience.
  • I tweet 95% about my niche and 5% other stuff
    • My followers followed me for a reason, my niche attracted them to my profile and to click Follow, so they would expect me to tweet about that. But we are all human so it is ok to tweet once in a while about something about you.
  • I stopped casually swearing
    • When you don't swear, even in a joke, you sound so much friendlier and professional and give the impression that you are confident in what you are saying without the need for swearing to aid you.
  • Engage in other people's content
    • Not everything is about me, I take time to like and comment on other people's tweets, CodePens and DEV articles because a lot of stuff people share on Twitter is pretty amazing and is worth engaging with!
  • I began ignoring the hate and trolls
    • At about 1500 followers on Twitter, I had my first troll telling me, "Developers should not have to relearn the basics, that's wasting time. They should just remember and move on." I replied to this asking why they thought it and I very quickly realised this person's goal was to make me feel triggered and become aggressive. Never again, people like that get the Mute and are not worth my time.
  • I started cross-platform promoting
    • I try and make it as easy and as obvious as possible for someone who is on any of my profiles such as Twitter, CodePen, DEV.to, GitHub, LinkedIn or my website to be able to navigate between the different platforms - go check out my profiles to see what I mean πŸ˜‰.
  • Resize images for Twitter
    • Whenever I make a tweet with an image, I will always edit the image to have a size ratio of 16:9, so it fits better as a thumbnail on someone's feed. This means the image won't be "cut off" when in preview. Twitter users are lazy, if they can't see all your image, it's very likely they will open it up in fullscreen and even more unlikely they will give it a like.
  • I limit my retweets
    • Let it be said here that everything does not need retweeting. All your comments don't need retweeting either πŸ˜…. Keeping your profile clean of constant retweets will ensure new visitors are seeing your best content.
  • BIO
    • I always maintain a true image of myself rather than an avatar image and always use my actual name in my name with no emojis or other characters and emojis. My Twitter BIO is quite strong and to the point and ensures new visitors know exactly what I'm about.
  • My tweets are meaningful
    • It is incredibly rare I will tweet something that I don't think will have value to anyone. I will always try and tweet something that I feel will have credible value to my audience.
  • Standard username across all platforms
    • Whether it's Twitter, LinkedIn, CodePen, GitHub or DEV, my username is always the same - jackdomleo7. I have a very unique name anyway so is easy for me to know my username will always be available. My username is also very recognisable so people can distinguish me easily.
  • Standard profile picture and banner
    • My profile picture currently is so recognisable that instantly people recognise who I am (I've also been used as memes because I have the perfect "meme" face πŸ˜…). My banner on Twitter and LinkedIn are the same, to keep it simpler for me but also so viewers can recognise my brand. (You can see my profile picture and banner at the time of writing below).

Jack Domleo face

Jack Domleo banner

These are some of the primary techniques I use and in just a few months I have been opened up to so many opportunities and it can only get better, right? πŸ’ͺ

I also read a lot of books, so here are some that really helped me as a developer with an online presence:


Improve Your Online Presence by Catalin Pit



Improve Your Online Presence by Catalin Pit


Create Your Following by Danny Thompson



Create Your Follwowing (a really good course to accompany the Catalin Pit's book) by Danny Thompson


The Standout Developer by Randall Kanna



The Standout Developer by Randall Kanna


Decoding The Technical Interview Process by Emma Bostian



Decoding The Technical Interview Process by Emma Bostian

What's next?

Carry on. Why stop?

I'm doing fantastically well and can only improve to better my chances at bigger and better opportunities. I hope to be invited to tech talks, release a book and be recognised for my expertise.

Small improvements is all it takes to make yourself standout! πŸ’ͺ


Header photo by NASA on Unsplash

Discussion

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190245 profile image
Dave

When you don't swear, even in a joke, you sound so much friendlier and professional and give the impression that you are confident in what you are saying without the need for swearing to aid you.

My son's mother and I separated years ago, she swears a fair amount, but I've told our son "I really don't care if you swear, but it tells me you haven't thought things through properly, and you're not aware that there's a better way to communicate."

He'll swear at her (to her face), but censors himself when talking to me.

Appropriate language in the right context - at lunch with colleagues is fine, if that's the group style... but in office meetings is a no-no.

I've never been particularly social person, but I think the key to getting recognition is being aware of how others perceive you. Be that online or not.

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Jack Domleo Author

Thank you for sharing!

That logic and view explains what I was trying to say a lot better! πŸ’ͺ I agree in a friend's environment then it's ok, but in meetings or anything that shows your professionalism, then you're right, it's a no no πŸ™‚

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Mike Bybee

I save my swearing for FB most of the time, but I'm only there for friends and exchanging ideas; I will, however, even swear on rare occasions (not the really bad words) on LinkedIn if it's to accentuate a point that should be easy for grownups to grasp but isn't practiced. For example, one of my latest posts:

Hey colleges: CS students shouldn't have to spend twice as much time on the Stanford Prison Experiment as they do on inheritance and polymorphism.

And I still want to kick the ass of whatever person thought it was a good idea to switch one of my first degree's major requirements from Linux to an old version of Powershell, especially after the former was one of the deciding factors in my choice to enroll.

Teach what is being widely used and has forward momentum (i.e. what's going to get your students jobs now and in the future and will actually be useful once they have them), not what the department head personally prefers. And don't ever force students to spend more time on core workload than their major.

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190245 profile image
Dave

On a slightly related note, I was querying what universities were teaching students quite recently.

I had a choice to make between candidate A, no experience, still finishing his CS course, or candidate B, a junior with 6 month working history. To mitigate the lack of industry experience, A submitted his coursework.

From talking to various people, universities (in the UK at least) simply do not prepare CS students for what an interviewer is looking for in industry. Primarily they're missing clean code/SOLID principles.

The coursework was a horrendous unmaintainable mess, and frankly had I been the lecturer, they'd have failed the course. But since they weren't taught any better, I decided it'd be unfair to hold that against them.

So with that in mind, I made A an unconditional offer, paid relocation and a few months accommodation. If the universities are failing them, the least we can do is start their career properly.

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Jack Domleo Author

That's really interesting to hear! πŸ€”

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

Most of the CS grads I've worked with who actually knew SOLID principles didn't learn them in college. They either learned them on the job or through self-teaching. I wouldn't have graduated knowing them if I weren't a nontraditional student already in the industry.

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Sanjeev Sharma

Wow! That was thought-provoking. :)

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bronxsystem profile image
bronxsystem

Twitter is garbage but an active linkedin profile much more valuable.

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Jack Domleo Author

I can guarantee all of the opportunities that have come may way since April are all from Twitter. That's not because I don't have a good LinkedIn profile, because I do. Twitter is just much more active for tech πŸ™‚

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bronxsystem profile image
bronxsystem

disagree.

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leob profile image
leob

Garbage why? I have a Twitter account as well, I'm not really active on it but the followers I have (and the people I follow back) seem 90% super professional.

The (limited) interaction is all polite, to the point and professional. Zero trolls, no trolling (probably because I don't post content that elicits it).

But I can't comment on the relative merit of a Twitter versus a LinkedIn presence.

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bronxsystem profile image
bronxsystem

I posted in the morning and I am grumpy in the morning.

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Mike Bybee

@bronxsystem you must not have nearly as many LinkedIn connections as I do (admittedly, 13,500 is a lot, but I grew my network there for the reason you claim).

In 2020 in particular, LinkedIn has become an absolute cesspool of the types of political gang warfare you'd expect on Facebook or Twitter. Tons of "if you're not with us you're against us" posts on both sides of the black vs. cop debate, COVID conspiracy theories, "Trump is the greatest present in the history of the USA" posts (I mean, even if you like him, I can think of a couple just in his own party far more worthy of something like that)... And it doesn't matter how many times you say, "This is a place for professionals," the professionalism just keeps falling off a cliff. All I can do is disconnect from any first level connections liking or commenting on this nonsense (because much of what's showing up in my feed is from 2nd and 3rd level connections).

And that's not even counting all the "growth hackers" and "influencers" who have been polluting inboxes with tone deaf sales pitches for years.

There are some great tech voices on LinkedIn, but Twitter (despite all the dragons there be) has more and shouldn't be so easily discounted due to its more conversational nature (even if some trolls do try to hijack those convos).

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bronxsystem profile image
bronxsystem

err dont get involved in anything political and its fine. I guess it comes down to what your goals are. Getting your brand out there then yeah take advantage of all social media but for dev jobs its not even close, linkedin is clear winner.
Im posting so people who want to get into dev dont waste their time on twitter posting a cv. silly sausages.

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Jack Domleo Author

I'm conscious there was a misunderstanding with the term 'opportunities', so I added the "What do I mean by opportunities?" section. But I could be mistaken. πŸ™‚

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Leonardo J. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’»

Jack.. wow.

Okay, first I wanted to say that this post is very insightful and very much aligned with my current β€œposition” in growing myself in tech. I’m 25 years old and it’s been about a year (maybe a little less) that I’ve started learning how to code.

I’m rn at the point where I am managing to land some interviews, but still with no success. Thats okay, tho. I believe that attention must be earned and building a following/community is definitely the most rewarding growth hack for the long run.

As an example, I did a simple β€œmy fav resources” post here a few weeks ago, and it landed me 90 twitter followers (I had 11), almost 1k reactions, and a few emails of interesting people. Just the whole idea of creating stuff and sharing is great. At the bare minimum, it makes you sharper.

I’m thinking of niching even more to try to appeal to different publics. Maybe build a newsletter to make me grow the blogging side of it. Idk.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this stuff, I will drop you a follow πŸ₯³

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Jack Domleo Author

Hey, I really appreciate this response! Put a big smile on my face. I'm glad you're doing so well. Remember though, an online presence doesn't prove you can code 😊 so remember to focus on building projects. But adding variety, atomic habits and small changes is key πŸ’ͺ if only someone was writing a book on this πŸ˜… kidding. But absolutely keep writing articles because they help strengthen your own knowledge and understanding, especially when someone comments asking a question.

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Annie Taylor Chen

I want to celebrate your success but at the same lament that in today's world even a developer has to be social and be able to market themselves online to get opportunities. Maybe I'm outdated when it comes to social media...yes I do enjoy exchanges and advice I get here on Dev.to, but I also feel in general, social media takes away too much time.

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Jack Domleo Author

I understand your view. Social media requires self-discipline. I'm not glued to it all day. I use the Pomodoro method to focus on working on something, then reward myself with 5 minutes on Twitter for example.

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Vico Biscotti

Excellent approach. I'd say that most of it could go for any social. Value, focus, and authenticity are key for a true audience.
I left Twitter but you inspired me to give it a second try...

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Jack Domleo Author

Out of Twitter and LinkedIn, I've gained so much more value, input, connections and friends from Twitter than I ever have from LinkedIn 😊

If used correctly, Twitter can actually help improve your career outside of work 😊 That's why I love it

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Andrew Baisden

Twitter is definitely more casual and easygoing. Linkedin is a lot more serious and professional because its full of recruiters who chase you around πŸ˜‚

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Jatin Rao

That's awesome article, Jack.

Thanks for writing it up & I'm learning a lot from you :)

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Jack Domleo Author

Thank you! Very much appreciated!

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Sourabh Choure

Amazing Progress! Following you now on all cross platforms. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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Jack Domleo Author

Thank you!! πŸ™

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Abel Lifaefi Mbula

I really appreciate your writing style. You share good things that can help so many people, including me. Don't stop :).

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Jack Domleo Author

That really means a lot to me!! Thank you so much. This is what keeps me going πŸ’ͺβ˜ΊοΈπŸ™

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Laura Jane

Amazing Jack, well done! Your smashing it.

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Jack Domleo Author

Thank you! Just a few helpful tips I can offer. ☺️

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Sunil Kumar

Very nicely written article Jack. I think I can fast pace my growth using some of the tips. Thanks a lot for writing this article.

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Jack Domleo Author

Awesome I hope you do!!

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Margo McCabe

This is super helpful and straight to the point - thanks for sharing!

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Jack Domleo Author

Thank you for your feedback! I'm glad it was easy to read. πŸ™

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Adam Sawicki

Great post, I totally agree with you!

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Jack Domleo Author

Thank you!! πŸ™

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Maxim Zhukov

Thank you for this marketing bullshit. Great job, developer.

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Jack Domleo Author

You got two things right, I have done a great job and I am a developer. πŸ‘Œ All the best.

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Sergio Marcial

This was a very interesting article and i can relate a lot because i am also trying to build my online presence

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Jack Domleo Author

I hope it helps!! πŸ’ͺ

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Robotmayo

You can pry my dumb avatars from my cold dead hands.