How to Build a Powerful Online Presence for Career Success
Have you made a new year’s resolution to find a new job? Receive more passive approaches for work that might suit you? Or even just to tidy up your social media presence slightly?
If so, you might be wondering what the best channels to concentrate on. Should you be tweeting (or xeeting?) more on whatever Twitter is called nowadays? Is your TikTok tip top? And how can you make sure that your online presence showcases you in the most flattering light?
Probably the most important of all the social media sites for career opportunities, it’s crucial to have a solid LinkedIn presence. If you’re actively looking for work, it’s important to have a profile that stands out when recruiters run their searches, and ideally to put in some searches and reach out to prospective employers yourself. Even if you’re not hoping to attract headhunters (we know that some developers get flooded with messages on LinkedIn), internal recruiters and hiring managers will often search for a LinkedIn profile associated with a promising CV to “verify” it, so keeping your LinkedIn at least up-to-date is a must.
As a rule of thumb, your LinkedIn should be a fairly close duplicate of your CV. It should list the same jobs, in the same order, and mention your key skills used in each role. LinkedIn is suited to being slightly briefer than a CV, but make sure all the keywords are included as lots of headhunters work by searching LinkedIn for technical keywords.
If you want to attract more traffic towards your LinkedIn profile, get more active on the site. Writing posts on topics that interest you can start a conversation. The algorithm likes comments (a lot), so commenting on other people’s posts and producing content that sparks a conversation could help you move up in the rankings. Setting your profile to ‘Open to Work’ will also make you more visible to recruiters.
There are three in particular we’ll mention here, but as a general rule, sharing your technical knowledge online is a very good thing. It showcases both your ability and your willingness to collaborate with the community. If you want to stand out, building a solid presence on at least one of these (and including a link on your CV) is essential.
GitHub. You’re probably already familiar with GitHub, given that it’s one of the most popular source code repositories in the world with over 100 million users.
Employers will often peek at a prospective hire’s GitHub profile to assess their coding skills, their contributions to open-source projects, and the extent to which they engage with the developer community.
As a rule, make as much of your work visible on Github as you’re able to. There are obvious limits to this — much of your professional work may be proprietary and therefore can’t be shared. In this case, it’s a good idea to populate your Github profile with any open source projects you’ve worked on in previous roles or in your spare time.
Stack Overflow. You’ve probably asked plenty of questions on Stack Overflow over the years. It’s a really great thing to give back. As above, not only will this showcase your knowledge, but it will highlight what a friendly, collaborative person you are.
It also comprises elements of the traditional job board; companies will advertise and outreach for their vacancies through Stack Overflow’s employer branding offerings. If you want to truly feel part of the developer community while boosting your profile with employers, Stack Overflow is the place to be.
Dev.to. Dev.to is a community platform for developers to share knowledge, learn from others, and discuss various topics related to software development. Dev.to allows contributors to write articles, so to an extent you can showcase whatever avenue of knowledge you want here.
These are just a few examples — as above, the more you can engage publicly with the community online, the better!
Other Social Media
As a general guideline, you’re well advised to maintain a clean and professional image across all your social media platforms, as it is not unheard of for employers for hiring managers to go “snooping” beyond your LinkedIn. Before you post anything online, ask yourself “would I want my future boss to see this?”
On top of that, you can leverage the big social media sites to help your job search. Your social network will in all likelihood contain lots of people in the tech world (friends you’ve made while studying or in previous jobs), so there’s every chance that someone with a role for you might stumble across you.
Consider using Twitter (or X, if you insist) to engage in conversations about tech news or concepts — but as above, keep it clean and friendly! Alternatively, you could share content related to coding on Instagram or TikTok, allowing you to position yourself as a well-known thought leader in the tech world. Accounts like @allthecode have built a sizeable following by doing just that.
Experienced individuals often assess your social media presence to gauge how you might contribute to a team and organisation. If your current social media content doesn't align with the professional image you want to convey during interviews—such as excessive holiday and partying posts—it might be best to temporarily set your profiles to private during the interview process. Social media can serve as a window into your personality, so adjusting your visibility can optimise your chances.
Recognise that social media can be a valuable tool to showcase a hardworking and impactful persona that aligns with a company's values. Winning competitions, showcasing personal growth, and aligning with the company's culture can enhance your application. However, preferences vary among clients and hiring managers, so if you are going through a recruiter ask them what the hiring manager likes to see. For instance, if applying to a company like Red Bull, content showcasing adventurous activities like skiing stunts might positively influence your application.
An online portfolio is practically essential for UI/UX Designers, but creating your own careers-focused website can be a great option for software developers too. Consider it an opportunity to combine much of what the sites above offer — LinkedIn’s online CV, GitHub’s code showcase — in a single place, on your own terms.
You could go all out and create a digital CV, as animator and designer Robby Leonardi did back in the day. That said, it’s not easy to get a novelty CV right, and you’ll want a conventional one to hand either way!
One More Thing…
The final piece of advice, though it may seem obvious, is to include links to your LinkedIn and any other pages that you’ve put significant energy into on your CV. Having made the effort to help these sites showcase your ability, it’s crazy not to make it as easy as possible for the end reader to discover them once your CV is on their desk. Plus, the additional traffic will help you appear organically in more searches.
Our friendly and knowledgeable team of consultants are more than happy to provide advice on how to get your profile noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. Drop us a message from your spruced-up LinkedIn profile