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Hire me! How a novice programmer can put together a cool resume and LinkedIn profile

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As you know, Java programmers are now in high demand. And not only Java programmers. Around the world, the number of jobs for coders is growing. In the era of digital transformation, the Internet of Things, big data, and other innovations, the industry needs more and more technical specialists who know a programming language and have the skills to create software. Hire me! How a novice programmer can put together a cool resume and LinkedIn profile - 1 Therefore, it is not surprising that many developers have been feeling like a hot commodity in recent years — recruiters are chasing after them on social networks, finding their contact information, and sometimes enticing them with job offers that are simply obscene in terms of financial gain. However, not all coders enjoy such popularity among recruiters. Only those who have experience, skills, and theoretical knowledge, which are exactly the things that employers are interested in. And people who know how to "sell themselves" and can demonstrate that they have all of the above, regardless of whether they actually do. But for some reason, recruiters aren't forming a line to go after developers lacking vast experience, who are only taking their first steps in building their career. In a previous article, we already talked about how a junior developer without a lot of experience can increase his or her chances of finding a job. Today we'll continue this topic, but we'll come at it from a slightly different angle. Specifically, we'll talk about how to present and "sell" yourself. In other words, we'll work to improve our self-presentation skills and explain how to look as professional as possible using a resume and a LinkedIn page, perhaps creating an image of a rising coding rock star that every recruiter should be throwing a six-figure contract at. Hire me! How a novice programmer can put together a cool resume and LinkedIn profile - 2


We'll start with tips on how to complete a resume, since it is the most important document when you're looking for a job.
  1. Size matters

    Many recruiters note that a resume shouldn't be too long or too short. Two pages is considered ideal. What's more, an inexperienced programmer should use these two pages to document as much information as possible about his or her practical experience, including every third-party project, even the most insignificant. If you have too little practical experience, you can devote more space to listing all of your theoretical knowledge. Experienced coders, on the contrary, should respect the time of those tasked with reviewing resumes and should avoid overloading their resumes with verbose descriptions and unimportant additions.

    "Be concise. Every couple of months, I come across a resume that looks like 'War and Peace' — a paragraph of ornate prose only to say that the candidate was involved in debugging," complains a DEV Community user who goes by the handle 'jeikabu'.

  2. Let me tell you a story

    In order for the resume to make the right impression on recruiters and employers, it must tell a story. This story should, first, be understandable, and second, it should be one that the reader (i.e. the person making the hiring decision) likes. The resume should show the candidate's trajectory, his or her goals, and a desire to progress to the level corresponding to the job opening. For example, if an applicant with front-end development experience is seeking a position in the backend, then his or her resume should explain why such a switch makes sense for both the applicant and the employer.

  3. Individual approach

    Another good tip from many recruiters is to "tweak" your resume for each individual position so that the story "told" by the resume fits it exactly. You don't need to rewrite everything every time — it's enough to highlight the sections and projects that may be more relevant.

  4. Skill cloud

    A skill cloud is a list of keywords that are meant to reflect all of a candidate's basic knowledge and skills. It makes sense to include all programming languages, tools, frameworks, libraries, and even concepts with which you are more or less familiar. Many programmers recommend using the most specific and narrow terms when creating a skill cloud. For example, instead of just indicating JavaScript as a second programming language, it is better to name all the JS specifications you can work with, e.g. ES5, ES6, ES2017, etc. It is also recommended to gradually remove from your skill cloud any technologies, tools and frameworks that are now considered obsolete and not too popular.

    Keywords in a resume are useful for another reason, says a DEV Community programmer: "Don't forget that a resume must suit two different target audiences: first, the HR folks, and only then — technical specialists. Many HR folks do not have a technical background, so when they look at a resume, they simply check it against the list of keywords they were given."

  5. Call me!

    A resume's main purpose is to convert views into job offers, right? Accordingly, your contact information should be present on each page of your resume. It should be clear and have a nice format. Be sure to include your phone number and email address. Links to your Github and LinkedIn profiles are desirable. It would also be nice to add some call to action (CTA), inviting recruiters and HR folks to call right away, without any delay.

LinkedIn profile

A serious and well-formatted profile on LinkedIn, a social network for professional relationships, is almost more important than a high-quality resume. This is because, unlike a resume, where someone can write just about anything, your LinkedIn profile is public, which creates a more complete impression of the person and sometimes makes it possible to fact-check claimed work experience. Hire me! How a novice programmer can put together a cool resume and LinkedIn profile - 3

  1. Take everything to 100

    Your LinkedIn profile should be 100% complete. This is basic advice, but it can have a critical impact on your popularity and demand in the professional world. The fact is that LinkedIn's algorithms prioritize profiles that are 100% complete, and, accordingly, they penalize profiles where something is missing.

    For your LinkedIn profile to receive an "All-Star" rating, you need to fill out the following sections: profile photo, location, industry, description of work experience (at least your current position and the previous two), skills (at least three), and education. You must also have a minimum of 50 connections (LinkedIn friends). That said, the social network itself quite actively pushes users to complete their profile by sending reminders and displaying prompts. As a result, it shouldn't be particularly difficult to do. Still, you should not ignore this advice.

  2. Confessions of a programmer

    The Summary element in the About section is your only opportunity to talk about yourself freely — don't neglect it. This is a chance to tell everyone your story and create the impression of goal-oriented and motivated professional.

    At the same time, in attempting to demonstrate your enthusiasm, avoid sprinkling too many templates and clichés in your story. For example, don't call yourself "goal-oriented" and "motivated" :) Instead, it's better to give an honest description of yourself and your goals, and to briefly describe the most important technologies and programming languages that you have worked with.

    It is best to write in the first person, as if talking to an interviewer during a job interview. You can use keywords, but don't get too carried away. LinkedIn's algorithms can identify and punish profiles that try to be deceptive.

  3. Where is your proof?

    Evidence that supports the words in the profile description and in the resume is especially important for programmers who don't yet have much experience working in permanent positions. You can demonstrate examples of your work by attaching media files to different sections of your profile, including the Description, Work Experience, and Education sections. LinkedIn lets you attach documents, photos, links, videos, and presentations to your profile.

    Hire me! How a novice programmer can put together a cool resume and LinkedIn profile - 4

  4. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression

    Advice from Andrew Brown, experienced developer and CEO of ExamPro: "The upper LinkedIn banner is a large blue rectangle situated right above your profile photo. It can be replaced with specially created graphics, and I highly recommend doing this. The banner is your most effective tool to create a good impression. The banner should quickly and and as efficiently as possible communicate your specialization. For example, my specialization is AWS Cloud Computing, and my banner screams this to everyone who visits the page," notes the expert.

    Hire me! How a novice programmer can put together a cool resume and LinkedIn profile - 5

  5. Eliminating competitors

    Another very unobvious, but rather useful tip from experienced programmers and those in the know: remove the "People Also Viewed" section on the right side of your profile. This sidebar shows just what the header implies: it shows member profiles of other people that have been viewed by the visitors to your profile. Most often, this will include user profiles that have a lot in common with your profile: similar skills, specialization, etc. This means that this section will often contain links to your competitors — other programmers with the same skill set being sought by recruiters and HR folks when searching for a suitable candidate. Since there's no point in promoting your competitors, it's better to disable this feature. You can do this in the Privacy & Settings section.

Remember, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. Instead of an epilogue

In general, there are a great many ways to "spruce up" your resume and present yourself well on LinkedIn. These tips could go on and on. But in addition to polishing your profile and creating the coolest resume possible, don't forget that a programmer with even the most ideal LinkedIn profile will not be particularly successful in finding a job if he or she doesn't prioritize skills and practical experience. So, don't get too carried away with creating the image of a rockstar coder. It's better to really become one, especially since the CodeGym course makes that so easy to do.
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Chrisantus Makokha
Level 32 , Nairobi, Kenya
9 May 2020, 05:54
Great advice Brian. I will do keep this in mind in the future when lookig for a Java programming job.