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7 Steps for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile for App Developers

Michael Sabo, Resource Development Manager – Houston, TX

The majority of hiring managers evaluate an app developer’s various social media accounts before moving a candidate forward in the hiring process. Taking the time to create a top-notch LinkedIn profile allows you to put your best foot forward in the world of social media. Based on my experience working as an IT recruiter, I’ve put together seven key steps for app developers to follow when building their LinkedIn profile.

1. It all starts with the photo.

Whether we like it or not, the profile photo is the first thing anyone will see when viewing your LinkedIn page. Not only is it important for you to have a profile photo, but it is just as important to make sure it is a professional photo. Unfortunately, an unprofessional photo has the possibility of disqualifying you from a company’s hiring process. At times, it feels like LinkedIn is becoming a social media platform very similar to Facebook but it is important to steer away from this. A good rule of thumb is to have your profile image portray who you are at work. You are probably not bringing your friends and family to work with you every day, so they shouldn’t be in your professional photo. A few other things to avoid include: sunglasses, night time photos, selfies, cropped photos, hats, or large jewelry.

2. Aim for concise summaries.
After your photo, the second most important information resource is the summary section. This is another place in LinkedIn profiles where I’ve seen candidates starting to lean towards a more informal direction and I would advise against it. The summary section of your profile provides you with an opportunity to give a brief synopsis of your technical skill set as an app developer. This section should highlight your skills and experience, rather than leaving this valuable piece of real estate blank. I do not recommend including personal facts or hobbies in the profile summary, they are distracting to those viewing your profile.

3. Highlight your experiences & expertise.
The experience section of your profile is the place to showcase your professional experiences. Hiring managers & IT recruiters search LinkedIn for their specific needs relevant to their open role for an app developer. Make sure your profile includes details on your previous roles, technology tools you have used, and projects you and your team have completed. Include any text decks you’ve used in the past, mention specific applications you’ve coded for, and include details on any ops systems you’ve used such as ERP, CRM, or BI. For your past projects, add as much information about a project that your previous company will permit. If you can’t mention specific project details, include the technology you used during the project. I advise that app developers only list tools they’ve recently used, not every technology touched throughout their lifetime. If an IT recruiter finds your LinkedIn profile because you listed .NET as a skill but you haven’t used .NET for 10 years, there will be an issue later in the hiring process.

4. Get recommendations.
Adding featured skills and endorsements to your profile are both very valuable. From the perspective of a hiring manager or IT recruiter, the skills and endorsements section of the profile gives us a lot of insight that we would usually have to ask for through a formal recommendation. It saves the hiring manager time, which is a huge plus for you in the long run!

5. Point out your accomplishments.
Any accomplishments or awards that you’ve received from previous organizations are worth mentioning. My key recommendation in this section is to only list major awards received. Annual companywide recognitions are a great example. Awards such as Employee of the Month typically don’t carry enough weight, and will clutter your profile.

6. Keep networking.
I highly recommend using LinkedIn as a networking tool for all app developers. When networking on LinkedIn, remember to keep it professional. The right way to get noticed on LinkedIn includes joining groups and updating your profile with relevant industry news. You should connect with family, close friends, colleagues, and fellow alumni. Only connect with people you know, or with people you could add value to by creating a relationship with. I advise against sending cold connection requests to people you don’t have a relationship with. It can be detrimental to the way people view you on LinkedIn.

7. Evaluate your profile for any career red flags.
Once you have crafted a high-level LinkedIn profile, go back through and look for any red flags that you need to address. As an IT recruiter, a huge red flag is if a candidate’s LinkedIn profile doesn’t match the resume we received. It makes us wonder why you chose to add or delete certain material. Additionally, make sure all of your dates line up throughout the profile. Gaps in your career timeline are a major concern for hiring managers. Don’t leave it up to hiring managers and IT recruiters to try and fill in the blanks, it causes you to be easily rejected as a candidate.

The more time you put into your LinkedIn profile, the more value you will receive from it. Following the above steps will help you craft a LinkedIn profile that creates an amazing snapshot of your professional experience and expertise.