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Leveraging LinkedIn

Creating your LinkedIn profile is only the first step of using LinkedIn in your career. Now that you’ve built your LinkedIn profile, take some time to explore everything you can do with it, from networking, to sharing your own experience, to finding your first job in tech (and more!).

Making Connections and Building your Network​

Connect with Classmates and Epicodus Alumni​

Not only will it be helpful to see what your peers are posting, you'll also have a guaranteed way to stay in touch after graduation. You can also find past Epicodus students and connect with them.

Once you're connected, ask your classmates and friends to endorse you for the skills you've listed on your profile. They can click the + button next to the skill. Having more endorsements for the skills recruiters are looking for will make it more likely they will find you.

Help Recruiters Find You​

Recruiters often find candidates through connections and endorsements. Add connections with all of your Epicodus classmates and anybody else you know, even if they don't work in tech. The more connections you have, the more likely it is that a recruiter will find you.

On a free LinkedIn account, you can message recruiters and contacts through InMail for free as long as they have a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree connection to you. You can easily become a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree connection by joining and engaging tech groups or pages, and commenting on posts that have a lot of other comments. If you are "in the same space as someone,” then they become a degree in your network, and you’ll have more opportunity to reach out — and for someone to reach out to you.

Consider adding the “Open to Work” banner to your profile to help recruiters find you more easily.

Connect with people in your field​

A great way to build your network is to connect with people on LinkedIn after meeting them at events or meetups. You can leverage these new connections for opportunities like informational interviews, which can potentially lead to jobs down the line.

When you connect with someone after an event, it's best practice to send them a personalized message. After connecting with someone, you can continue the conversation through the LinkedIn messaging system, or even ask for an informational interview (as feels appropriate).

When asking for an informational interview, don't go into it expecting a job. This is a chance to build a new relationship in the industry and learn from someone with more experience. Use this as a time to find mentorship, ask for advice, and listen to an insider's perspective of the industry.

Here's an example approach: "It was great meeting you at the event last week. I'd love to buy you coffee and pick your brain about working as a JavaScript senior dev with KatChat. When would you be available?"

Using LinkedIn Regularly​

Creating your profile is a great first step. But it's important you also remain fairly active on the platform, especially before your eventual job search. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Follow hashtags on subjects that interest you. Anytime someone uses the hashtag you follow, it will appear in your feed. If you really like the post, you can share it yourself or simply like the post. To follow hashtags, start in the search bar on LinkedIn and type the pound key '#' followed by any topic you're interested in. For example: #startups #remoteworkers #javascript
  • Join groups of people that have shared interests. Often people post jobs in these groups to focus their candidate search. Find groups by typing a subject in the search bar and wait for a dropdown to appear. You should see the subject in Groups the third option down.

Post, Share, Like, Comment​

  • Regularly document your work. Next time you make a site you're proud of or tackle an interesting challenge, write a LinkedIn post about it! Make sure you update the Projects section to include your latest and greatest work examples.
  • Write a blog. Longer-form blog posts documenting your experience can communicate your enthusiasm, skills, interest, and personality to future employers. If you don't have a personal blog, you can post on sites like Medium. Make sure to share them on your LinkedIn feed! You can even write articles directly on LinkedIn that will automatically be associated with your LinkedIn account and show up on your profile.
  • Find a helpful resource? Others will probably find it helpful too. Why not share it on your LinkedIn feed? Make sure to credit the original author.

Recommendations​

  • Check in with potential references. Have you thought about who you'll use as references for a future job? Do your references include managers from past jobs or anyone you're not currently in touch with? Check if they're on LinkedIn and connect with them now. That way you don't have to scramble to find them later.
  • Write recommendations for your peers. If you've had great experiences working with fellow students, consider writing recommendations highlighting the technical and interpersonal skills that made them so great to work with. Preview recommendations left for others on LinkedIn (you can search Epicodus to see all kinds of past students) to get an idea of what these typically look like. Please note that Epicodus staff are unable to provide LinkedIn recommendations.

Regardless of how you use LinkedIn, make sure to keep your posts, comments, and interactions positive and professional. Again, your LinkedIn profile acts as a resume and representation of yourself to future employers and coworkers. Put your best foot forward while simultaneously showing off your investment in the industry, eagerness to learn, and interest in technical work.

LinkedIn is one of the most popular job board databases, alongside Indeed — you can find the job board by clicking into “Jobs” in the navigation bar, and then searching for any job titles in any regions, cities, or remotely that you are interested in. You can further narrow down your search by date posted, salary, on-site/remote, experience level, etc.

LinkedIn is also commonly used by recruiters to find new candidates, or by hiring managers exploring the profiles of people they have met at networking events. With this in mind, there are a few ways you can use LinkedIn as a regular part of your job search:

  • Set up alerts for job titles you are interested in. When you enter a search query into the Jobs navigation bar and narrow down any relevant filters you want, you can also set an alert for that query so LinkedIn will send you notifications of relevant new jobs that are posted. By setting alerts, you can reduce the amount of digging you have to do when looking for a new, relevant job to apply to.
  • Quick applications. While cover letters and resumes that are targeted specifically to the role you are applying to (which we’ll cover in a later lesson) are the most effective kind of application, LinkedIn has an Easy Apply feature that you can use to apply to roles posted in their database that you may be less excited about or less interested in. Some roles may also only allow you to apply through Easy Apply. Generally, it’s a good idea to keep Easy Apply applications to 15% or less of your total applications.
  • Explore company pages for more job postings. If you’ve found a position you’re interested in, but it’s just not quite the right fit (perhaps it’s too senior, not the right technologies, or has closed), click through to the company’s LinkedIn page (or even further to their website and careers page!) to explore other job opportunities they may be hiring for. You can also set job alerts on individual company LinkedIn pages, so you’re notified as soon as they post a new role.

Keep Your LinkedIn Up to Date

Think of LinkedIn as a living document. It can and should change as you advance in your education, coding experience, and career. Whenever you complete a new project that showcases a new skill or technology, add it to your Projects section. When you gain a new certification, make sure to update your Education or your Licenses & Certifications sections. Add new jobs, internships, and volunteer experience. Update your skills as you continue to grow and learn.

Not only does keeping your LinkedIn up-to-date and active help you stand out when hiring managers look at your profile or when you need to update your resume for a new role, it also allows you to keep a log of your achievements and growth over time.