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LinkedIn is a great tool to improve your career. It isn’t just for recruiters and salespeople, either. As a software developer, you can use it to improve your career, and in this article I’ll explain how.

Highlight the Skills and Technologies You Know

The world of software development is very skills-based. By that, I mean that there are lot of skills and technologies to learn as part of your career. Two software developers with the same number of years in the industry may have completely different skill sets. One developer may be experienced with Microsoft SQL and .NET technologies, and the other may be a web developer who has experience with HTML, CSS, AJAX and JavaScript.

So how does this benefit you and your LinkedIn profile?

You can add skills to your profile that represent the skills and technologies in the software development industry. Of course, you would only add those that you know. So, if you’re the web developer in the earlier example, you could add all of your web-related skills and technologies into the Skills section.

This has two main benefits. The first benefit is that people who browse your profile can see what skills you are proficient in. This makes it easier for finding a job, and also if recruiters or head-hunters want to contact you (which does happen occasionally).

LinkedIn Endorsements 1

The second main benefit is that it allows people to “endorse” you for these skills. LinkedIn has a feature that allows your connections to endorse you for a skill, which is basically confirming that you know the skill. A message pops up for them, asking “Does Mr Smith know about Java?”, and they click on Yes if that’s true. You then get a little +1 for that skill on your profile. The “Java” skill in this example would be replaced by whatever skills you’ve listed in your profile.

This also allows the skills with the most endorsements to appear at the top of the list, highlighting what others see as your strong points.

Link to your Projects and GitHub Profile

As a software developer, it’s both easy and common for us to create projects on the side, which is something separate to our regular job. We could do this for several reasons:

  • To experiment with a new language or technology
  • To test out a new idea for a new product or website
  • To try and replicate an issue you have found

If you have any of these projects made public, such as a website you’ve made, it’s a good idea to link to them from within your LinkedIn profile. This way, other people can see examples of your work.

Another way of showcasing your work is by using the code repository site GitHub. If you have a profile on there, you can also link to it from within your LinkedIn profile. People who visit your profile can see a history of the code you’ve worked on, as well as the kind of work that you have done on it (such as fixing bugs or making enhancements).

It’s Similar to an Online Resume

You might have heard people wonder why LinkedIn is used at all. It’s just a copy of your resume, right? It just has your education and work history on there, so why use it?

Well, I think another way to look at it is that it’s an online version of your resume. This can be an advantage. Your LinkedIn profile can be as long as you need it to be, where resumes are usually only one to two pages. Your LinkedIn profile¬†can contain more details, such as projects you’ve worked on, a photo, and a full history of your experience, which are things that are not normally added to a resume.

The interaction on LinkedIn is something that is not possible with a resume. You can connect to other people on LinkedIn, which allows you to speak with them and expand your network. You can join groups related to your technologies. You can also find jobs on LinkedIn – but that’s a topic for another article.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this article and have discovered some benefits of using LinkedIn for your career.