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Sarah Dye
Sarah Dye

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A Quick Guide to Updating LinkedIn

Originally published February 20, 2020 on BritishPandaChick Codes. I made tweaks to the original post so it would work for The Practical Dev.

Ready for another mission in the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge? It is time for mission two of the challenge. This mission where you will start taking the information you've been gathering to update your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is a must-have item all job seekers need to have. It isn't just a platform to network or to look for jobs. Your LinkedIn profile communicates a lot of information to hiring managers and recruiters on one page.

Most importantly it is the first place where employers are going to go to learn about you. So your LinkedIn profile is your chance at making a good first impression and showing them who you are. Today's post is your guide to updating the headline, summary, and portfolio sections of your LinkedIn profile.

In addition, you will get tips for taking the best photo for your profile picture. I'll be sharing tips and resources Code Newbie encourages job seekers to use to help them complete these mission objectives.

Mission Three Homework

The homework assignment for today's mission is updating three key items on your LinkedIn profile. Although you can more sections to your profile, this post is going to concentrate on the items most recruiters and hiring managers to look for on profiles. The three items you'll be updating are the headline, summary, and portfolio.

This mission also has a bonus objective participants can complete. The bonus objective is updating your LinkedIn profile picture. This guide is going to walk job seekers through the progress of updating their profiles to land a tech job.

If you are a non-technical job seeker, you can still this guide to help you with your profile. As I discuss skills and projects later in this post, simply use ones that fit the industry you want to work for.

What items do I need?

You will need a LinkedIn profile for this mission. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, you can head over to LinkedIn and click join now at the top right corner. If you need any help updating your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn's help page walks job seekers through the steps to creating a profile and how to use their platform.

==> Click here to make a LinkedIn profile!
==> Click here to use the LinkedIn help page!

The other items you'll need for this mission are your homework assignments for the last mission. Part one's assignment was your list of 10 companies you want to work for. Part two's homework was a list of 5 job descriptions.

If you haven't done these homework assignments yet, you can find these posts in the CNC2018 series here on The Practical Dev. These assignments will help you write information for your profile.

1. Headline

Objective one of this mission is the headline. Your headline on LinkedIn is your identity and the first thing hiring managers look at when they take a look. So you need to make your headline specific, focused, and easy to find.

When it comes to your headline, Code Newbie encourages job seekers to think of theirs as branding space. So what does a specific, focused headline look like? First, you describe yourself in the role you are looking for.

Employers hire candidates that already think of themselves in the roles they want.

In tech, job seekers searching for developer roles will describe themselves as developers regardless of what experience they have. Their headlines don't have to be a 100% match to the job titles they have now but instead, reflect the roles they want to be. Another reason for describing the role you are looking for is it puts you into the searches.

Recruiters and hiring managers will search job titles to look for candidates for jobs and message candidates that appear in the searches. In order to appear in more of the searches, Code Newbie encourages job seekers to make sure their headline closely matches the role they want. Your job description list is a great resource to help you make your headline.

If you aren't sure what to use for your headline, Code Newbie suggests using a specific skill. Skills are great keywords hiring managers and recruiters search for. Specific skills can also let them know what you like to work with. For example, a developer who wants to use Python can describe themselves as a Python developer to help them find programming jobs that use Python.

2. Summary

Once you are happy with your headline, it is time to tackle the summary box. Code Newbie defines a good LinkedIn summary as one which is honest, specific, and skimmable. Recruiters and hiring managers spent a few seconds looking at profiles and are looking for specific information.

With this in mind, you want to make sure your summary is very focused on the jobs you want and has items clear enough so hiring managers can find what they are looking for very easily. The list of job descriptions is a great resource to help you write your LinkedIn summary. You will want to use key terms, technologies, and skills for the roles you want in your summary.

Before you start writing your summary, look at your job descriptions list and see what commonly appears on the list. These are the things you will want to use in your summary.

3. Portfolio/Projects

Now it is time to add a portfolio or projects. I won't go into detail too much about this topic right now since there is a mission later in the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge just for portfolios. If you would like a little more information on portfolios, you can visit a post I wrote in Skillcrush 300 on portfolios. This post goes into more details about portfolios and tips for making one of your very own.

==> Click here to read Everything You Need to Know About Portfolios post!

Remember portfolios and projects are your way of showing recruiters and hiring managers what you know and capable of doing. On LinkedIn, I've seen job seekers do this a couple of ways. One way is just to include a link to their portfolio or Github profile.

LinkedIn allows developers to add links to the summary box. You can use the LinkedIn help page to learn how to add links to your summary box.

Are you wondering what Github is?

We'll cover Github in more detail in future posts, but Github is online platform developers use to collaborate, share, and back up code. Recruiters and hiring managers are requesting Github profiles as part of their job posting requirements to see what code you write. If you don't have a Github profile, you can click the link below to make a free account.

==> Click here to learn more about Github!

The other way to add projects is through the project section. If you don't have a portfolio yet, this is where you'll want to put any projects you've done. The LinkedIn help page walks job seekers through the process of adding projects to their profiles.

Project Descriptions

Career experts have different opinions of how many projects job seekers need to show on their profiles. Some will suggest a specific number of projects job seekers need to have while others recommend putting everything they have. There is no right or wrong answer so use your best judgment.

In the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge, Code Newbie recommends job seekers gather all the projects they've made so far and put a few of them on your profile to start. As you start adding projects to your profile, don't forget to include a description of your projects. Descriptions are the secret sauce to the projects section since it is where you can talk about the measurable outcomes that came from the experience. If you need help writing a project description, some of the items below can help you get started.

  • What is the project?
  • What technical challenges did you encounter while making it?
  • What did you use to make it? List any technologies or tools here.
  • What happened once the project was finished?

As you write your project descriptions, ask yourself if what you are writing is showing measurable outcomes. Measurable outcomes are what many recruiters and hiring recruiters love seeing when they review resumes. You can do this with your project descriptions by trying to find ways to incorporate numbers to quantify the effects that happened after a project. A job seeker looking for a developer role can quantify how much web performance improved or how many bugs were fixed.

Bonus: Profile Picture

Once you've finished all three of the mission objectives, you can try the bonus challenge. The bonus objective is updating your LinkedIn profile. Profile pictures are very important for LinkedIn profiles since it puts a name with the face.

Hiring managers and recruiters have often admitted in blog posts and articles they tend to reach out to potential candidates that have profile pictures vs ones that don't have one. There are a couple of ways to take your LinkedIn profile picture. One way is to get professional pictures taken.

This is the method many career experts recommend if you have the money. If you are on a budget, you can use your camera app on your phone and ask someone to take your picture. The goal of your LinkedIn profile picture isn't to be the most impressive picture possible. It just needs to be simple and show your face.

Before you start taking pictures for your LinkedIn profile, let's talk about how you should look.

You want to look as professional as possible. This means clean hair and wearing neutral makeup. You will want to wear a professional top. If you aren't sure what to wear, Code Newbie suggests job seekers visiting the LinkedIn pages for companies you want to work for.

You can click on this page to see all the employees that work at the company. You can look at their profiles to see how they dress then use some of the style choices you like for your own profile picture. When you take your picture, you want use a simple background and have good posture.

Take several pictures so you can see which ones you like the best. You can do this with the timer feature on your camera app. Once you've taken several pictures, take a look to see which one you like the best and upload it to your LinkedIn profile.

Although this is an optional step to complete, it is a good idea for all job seekers to have a profile picture on LinkedIn. If you aren't going to take a new profile picture for your profile, you can use the most recent professional picture you have. You can use the tips for taking profile pictures to help you decide what picture you want to use. Code Newbie only encourages job seekers to avoid using pictures that are less than 5 years old.

Keywords are your best friend!

The biggest takeaway in this post is keywords. Keywords are what will help recruiters find you when they are searching for candidates. It all comes down to algorithms and how they work.

The right keywords are what hiring managers and recruiters use to find candidates. So Code Newbie encourages job seekers to be as blunt as possible about their skills. Code Newbie admits talking about the skills one has might not be easy.

However, job seekers need to remember that talking about their skills isn't about reinventing the wheel. If you need help with your keywords, Code Newbie provides a few questions to help job seekers get started. Before you start doing any of the mission objectives, answer these questions in a Google Doc or on a piece of paper so you can reference this list as your work on portfolio objectives.

  • What languages do you use?
  • Are they any frameworks you use? Which ones?
  • What have you built?

There are a couple of great resources to help job seekers talk about their skills and use keywords on their LinkedIn profiles. Code Newbie provides a couple of links in this mission that list keywords and share tips to help job seekers with their job search. You can use these links to help you update your LinkedIn profile.

==> Click here to read How to Make Your Resume Better with Keywords & Phrases!
==> Click here to read Important Job Skills for Software Engineers!

Code Newbie Podcast Corner

LinkedIn is the go-to place recruiters and hiring managers go to in order to find candidates for roles. Although this platform is what they like to use the most, recruiters look at hundreds of profiles a day. This means they don't spend a lot of time reading profiles in a lot of detail.

Instead, they skim profiles very quickly. These few seconds are what make them decide to reach out to a candidate or move onto the next one. With this in mind, you must make sure your profile sets the best first impression right away.

As you update your profile, you want to evaluate the kind of impression your profile gives off within a matter of seconds.

You also want to check that you are ready for the job you want even if you are feeling a little bit of impostor syndrome. The Code Newbie podcast has released several episodes about finding a developer job. In this mission, Code Newbie recommends job seekers listen to episode three in season two.

This episode is an interview with Eddie Washington. Washington is the recruiting lead at Genius and shares lots of tips on finding a job and how job seekers can use LinkedIn to help them land a job.

==> Click here to listen to Eddie Washington's episode on the Code Newbie podcast episode!

Recommend Resources

There is a lot of advice when it comes to LinkedIn profiles on the web. In this mission, Code Newbie suggests several resources to help them with their LinkedIn profiles. If you need help putting together your profile, you can watch this video on Red Rocks Community College. This video walks viewers through the steps to creating a LinkedIn profile that will get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

Next, there is Udemy. Udemy has lots of courses job seekers can take to find a job they want. Code Newbie recommends one course in this mission.

This course shows job seekers how to use their LinkedIn profiles to raise their brand. It shows job seekers what content, pictures, videos, and slides they can use in their profiles.

==> Click here to learn more about A Developer's Guide to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile!

Although this mission doesn't cover a lot of information on portfolio sites, Code Newbie provides a resource to help job seekers interested in creating one. This article on Sitepoint doesn't just share tips job seekers can use to create a portfolio site that will help them get hired. It also explains why a portfolio site is an important resource job seekers need to have as well as examples to inspire job seekers on how to set up their portfolio sites. This is a good way to get a head start on the portfolio mission that is coming later in this series.

==> Click here to read How to Create a Portfolio Site That Will Get You Hired!

Time for some self-care!

Finding a job these days can be stressful. Many often can refer to job searching as a job itself with the work it takes to get hired. In order to relieve stress, Code Newbie encourages job seekers to try yoga.

There are several health benefits to doing yoga. The American Osteopathic Association put together an article on the physical and mental benefits of doing yoga.

==> Click here to learn about some of the health benefits of yoga!

Yoga doesn't require a lot of equipment. All you need to do yoga is an empty space on the floor, something comfortable to wear, and a mat. If you don't have a yoga mat, you can use a towel or do yoga exercises on the floor. You might also want a pillow close by since it can provide some cushion for some of the yoga moves.

Yoga is a very beginner-friendly activity for people to do since it doesn't require a lot of time or money to do. Thanks to YouTube, there are plenty of ways to try yoga for free. Code Newbie recommends looking at yoga videos on YouTube and picking some to try.

I suggest job seekers search Google Play Store or the App Store for yoga and fitness apps. These apps offer a variety of yoga workouts that fit different schedules and budgets.

==> Click here to see yoga videos on YouTube!


Congratulations! Your LinkedIn profile is now updated with the right keywords so recruiters and hiring managers can find you. Although we only covered the most important elements of a LinkedIn profile, you can use this time to update and fill out the rest of your profile sections.

Once you are satisfied with your profile, you can ask other job seekers for feedback. You can post a link to your profile in the Code Newbie Facebook group or tweet the link using the hashtag #CNC2018. Remember this will be the start of many updates to your LinkedIn profile.

Once you are done with your profile, you want to reflect on your own profile. What stands out to you? What would you be able to do differently?

Use these questions to help you analyze your new profile and get ideas on what you can do to make it better. Don't forget to take a look at other profiles within your industry to get ideas of what you can do to make your profile better.

Now that we have a new LinkedIn profile, it is a perfect time to start talking about networking. The next mission of the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge is all about learning how to talk about oneself at networking events. This mission is going to have advice, tips, and even scripts to help job seekers get practice talking about themselves at a networking event. Code Newbie even will share resources to help you find networking events to attend in your area.

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