7+1 LinkedIn tips for (not only) juniors in tech

Sport, history and geography geek helping the tech geeks of Mews be seen and heard around the world.

“But I have nothing to share. I don’t have experience, and nobody is interested in me.” 

Are you a junior in IT or switching careers to tech? Does the sentence above (or its parts) sound familiar? It’s perfectly normal, but also, it’s WRONG! They are interested in you; they just don’t know about you. A well-crafted LinkedIn profile is the key for anyone to notice and get to know you. 

Thanks to the partnerships we at Mews have established with organizations like Czechitas, Reactgirls, and junior.guru, I have the unique opportunity to talk to people who decided to switch careers into tech. The most discussed topic, quite logically, is how to get a job after going through boot camps, requalification programmes, or rigorous self-learning. And one thing I always talk about is LinkedIn because it’s the place where sh*t happens, and you need to be there. The people I talk to often don’t even have an account or haven’t touched it in years. And even though this article is written by someone who, until a couple of years ago, militantly refused to join this social media and is quite terrible at self-promotion, it’s a must if you want a job in tech.

BTW, is LinkedIn a social media or a professional networking tool? 🤔

What am I talking about? 

If an organization is genuinely looking for a junior, they aren’t seeking someone who has it all and will improve the company immediately. They understand that your experience is limited (or close to zero), but they look for grit, culture, and a willingness to learn. They hire you for what you can do in a year or even longer, so exposing all the information that could be even remotely relevant is crucial. 

All companies need a balance between senior, mid-level, and junior engineers, QA, or any other role. Even in these days of slower hiring, it’s the case or will be inevitably in the months to come. At the same time, if you embark on this journey, you have to expect it may take a long time, and you may land a role that is not precisely what you were focusing on.

It’s a classic joke (well, sometimes reality) regarding the required experience for a junior.

Recently, I’ve realized I keep repeating the same tips I have learned over time. And though I mentioned I’m not the best at self-promotion, I genuinely enjoy making stars out of the people around me. Luckily, as a community manager, this is an integral part of my job. ⭐ Therefore, I put together 7 + 1 steps for creating a killer LinkedIn profile if you’re at the beginning of your journey. The profile itself won’t get you a job, but it can help make you relevant to the right people. And if you ask me? I’m not particularly interested in the classic template CVs, and to be honest, I hope recruiters will stop asking for them. I check an active online presence, and LinkedIn is the key. I am sure these tips can be helpful to even more senior individuals, so let’s get to them!

As mentioned, you can’t expect LinkedIn to land you a job solely. Nevertheless, messages like this encourage me to spread the word. Radovan, who we were in touch with through junior.guru wrote: “Jan, your advice on LinkedIn works quite well. I’ve started receiving messages with offers, and my connections are growing.”

Profile & cover photo

Choose a quality photo of yourself. These days, you don’t need to visit a professional photographer. All smartphones have a good quality camera, so just stand in front of a wall, ask a friend, and there you have it. It’s not about how pretty or handsome you are; it’s about the fact that you thought about it, put in effort, and look professional. You might argue that my LinkedIn photo with the majestic mustache doesn’t fit the bill, but it somehow became my signature visual. Although time is unrelenting, you’d be surprised if you met me now. 👨‍🦲 

And if you’re actively looking for a job, add the #Opentowork banner to your profile picture. 

Think about your cover image as well. I like that when I suggest putting up a nice banner, people add the logos of the technologies they work with or a quote that defines them. However, a nice photo of something you like, e.g., nature, can add to your personality.

We connected with Tereza through junior.guru, and she completed the challenging and time-consuming Czechitas’ Digital Academy: Web. Congratulations, Tereza! Here, you can see her creative cover photo.

Make your URL slug pretty 

When you join LinkedIn, it automatically assigns you a URL of characters and numbers. However, you can adjust it, ideally to your name, so it looks clean when you share it with someone (e.g., https://www.linkedin.com/in/jan-meissner/). If you have a common name, it might already be taken, meaning you can get creative. I like the approach taken by my colleague Isabel, who also included her role (https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabelruiz-community-manager/).  

Pro tip: If your name includes diacritics, do without them. Once you share it, it breaks into a crazy URL and all your efforts are gone.

Get creative with the headline, intro & featured post 

Now we’re getting to the tricky part of writing about yourself when you feel there isn’t much to say. But as mentioned before, you have more to share about yourself than you might think.

Headline 

This is where people usually list their current role and employer. However, that’s something you may not have at the moment. Instead, write a brief description of yourself and maybe even what you’re looking for. This is the first thing anyone sees during a LinkedIn search, so make it punchy! 

Michaela, another alumna of the Czechitas’ Digital Academy: Web and her great headline.

Intro 

This is a more extended version of the headline. 🙂 Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch? Wikipedia defines it as a short description of an idea, product, or company that explains the concept in a way such that any listener can understand it in a short period of time.” It also applies to your ability to concisely explain who you are, what you are looking for, and what you have to offer. Be witty, get it checked by your friends, and have a native speaker review it. The first impression matters, and you want to pitch yourself right. 

I haven’t done a pub quiz for a long time; maybe it’s time to change my intro.

Featured 

In this section, LinkedIn allows you to share a link, one of your posts, or a piece of media. I recommend using this opportunity to highlight something that can provide additional context about who you are. For example, I added a blog post I wrote that defines my current role. If you’ve worked on a project, showcase it here. If there is an article that resonates with you, include it. You can have more than one featured item, but don’t use more than three. This number is based on zero research; it’s just my gut feeling. 

Experience & education & volunteering 

Your background is central to providing a holistic view of your professional and personal life. I’d like to believe that even though we live (and work) in the world of technology, we’re more interested in the people we want to work with. If this weren’t the case, all the companies emphasizing their unique set of values would be irrelevant. 

Choose the sections you want (LinkedIn suggests which are the most important and which are nice to have) on your profile to tell your story. On mine, I’ve selected six of the most common ones. 

You are at the beginning of your journey within tech, but you’ve had jobs or experiences before. Include them here, and always try to write a bit more than just the name of the role and the employer. Do you (or have you) volunteer(ed)? Mention it here. And even though the tech world may not heavily weigh formal education, add that here too. The recruiter (or hiring manager) may have gone to the same school or know the course you’ve attended. And there’s no shame in letting the world know you haven’t graduated. After all, how many highly successful entrepreneurs have actually completed their studies? 🤔 

Thanks to this section, I found out that my colleague was also volunteering at the Forum 2000 conference, giving us a random common history that enriched our relationship.

Skills & recommendations & interests 

We’ve already talked about it; sure, you might not have all the skills you need for your dream job, but let’s face it, who does? 🙂 You’re doing everything you can to get there. You’re already learning the technologies, so why not add them to your skills? From the discussions I have had with software engineers, I’ve received one piece of information that resonates. Even though the stack may be similar across companies, each does it in a specific way. That means during your onboarding at a new job, you will learn the specifics of the stack, and what you’ve learned in company A might not be relevant in company B. When listing your skills, remember to include soft skills – in many cases, they’re just as crucial, if not more so based on the previous sentence. Once you’ve filled in all your skills, ask your peers to “upvote” the ones you want to stand out. 

Would you like to work with us?

Not sure when you read this post, but hopefully, there is some role suited for you right now. If not, there will be eventually. ✌️

The same goes for recommendations. Reach out to your former managers, teachers, or peers and ask them to write a short paragraph about how great you are. It’s important to show that you’ve made a positive impact before. Companies often do a backcheck, so having this information readily accessible is something you can benefit from.

When it comes to interests, it serves two purposes. First, all the people, companies, and communities you select appear on your feed, so you can keep up with the inspirational entities you’re interested in. The second is again for recruiters or potential business partners to see what you’re into, and again, there may be some common interests. 

Like & share & post & NETWORK 

Arguably the most essential aspect of your presence on LinkedIn is building your network and staying relevant. Start by adding people you know from “the life before”, like your classmates, former colleagues, and friends. Then continue expanding your network in the area you’re trying to get into. Don’t be too shy to reach out to people you meet at your classes and meetups or even those you don’t know personally but may be relevant to you.  

At the same time, make sure you engage with content by liking, sharing, and posting your own. I know people with dedicated time in their calendars for this, so that may be a tip for you too. The easiest is to like the content of others. LinkedIn is smart, and its algorithm rewards the active ones. The next step is to start commenting on posts and resharing content that is interesting to you, by which you start establishing your name within the community and for the companies and people you follow. 

The hardest part is, of course, posting your own content. However, it’s not as difficult as it seems because by “your own content”, I also mean resharing content with your thoughts or sharing articles from other platforms on your page. I am always amazed at how much people in the tech world love learning and sharing their knowledge with others so that they’re not the only ones getting smarter. 💡 But be careful with that imposter syndrome creeping in again. You might write an article about “7 + 1 tips to make your code better” and think everyone out there knows this and there’s no need to share it. Wrong! You could be helping someone who wasn’t familiar with the information and also those who were. The worst thing is they will overlook it, but even then, they can still appreciate that you’ve learned something new. I’m doing the same thing right now. Very likely, many people know these things already, but I do believe it may be helpful for many others. 

* Extra tip 

Also, I strongly suggest having your profile entirely in English. Why? Because the majority of tech companies operate in English, even those with a significant presence in the Czech Republic or anywhere else. At the same time, recent years have shown us that remote virtual work is real, and you don’t have to limit yourself to employers in your city or area. These days, you can work for a company on the other side of the world, such as in a global tech hub like Silicon Valley.

Just do it 

No need for a long conclusion here, but I want to end with one thing I always tell my colleagues during their dry run of a talk for a meetup: Include a CTA (call to action) so that those who just listened to you (or read your article) can go and try it out. So, just do it. Polish your LinkedIn, include the information you want to (you’ve probably shared more revealing things on other social media platforms before 😳), and keep building your legacy!

©️ Cover photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash.

Thank you so much to Radovan, Tereza, and Michaela for allowing me to share parts of their LinkedIn profiles, and good luck in your careers in IT!

Sport, history and geography geek helping the tech geeks of Mews be seen and heard around the world.
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