Developer Musings

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LinkedIn For Developers

📅 April 19, 2018 - 6 min read

“Oh, not another recruiter!” – my co-worker said, lazily chucking their phone down. “They just spam!”.

This is an all too common phrase I hear from developers. I disagree with this sentiment because recruiters can get you good jobs and negotiate on your behalf – it’s in their best interest to do so. If you are looking for a new opportunity, LinkedIn can be a great way to connect with people who will start the hunt for you. Here I will break down not only how to optimize yourself for a new job but also hopefully how to remove a lot of the pain points of searching for one.

Clarify Why You Are Looking For a New Position

Before you set out on your voyage to find a new job, you need to know what you want. Further, it is helpful to reflect on your career trajectory and ultimately, to borrow a cliche, consider where you want to be in 2 years time.

After establishing these points you will have a clear goal to aim towards. The tricky part, however, is sticking to that goal. If you want a job that has a foosball table and bean bag chairs, then don’t settle for a company that only has hammocks. It’s a silly example but illustrates the point. In my case, I wanted to cut my commute down and spend less time in traffic in a car. Therefore, finding a company situated right outside a train station was extremely convenient and fulfilled that criteria.

I’d further recommend thinking about what sort of company you would like to work for. That sounds like a vague thing to contemplate, and it is, but this one is not meant to be specific – just in general terms. For example, some would view a workplace like Google as the God-tier level job. With its plethora of perks and benefits such as free meals, on-site gyms and of course, nap pods, it presents a view of how you want to work. Whilst that level of benefits are not available in the vast majority of cases, it’s good to recognize that you hold those kinds of perks in high regard and therefore want to optimize your next job for those sorts of things. Personally, I was looking for a company whilst having a forward-looking growth culture, also recognized that people have lives and families they want to be with. Yours will be different so have a think about what you want.

Now you have those key details, you can include those in your messages and calls with recruiters who can then look for opportunities that fit.

Automate InMail Replies

As I outlined earlier, a big problem is that people receive a lot of “InMail”. These are messages that are blasted out to a wide range of people en masse. Often, the mail is not applicable because the skills for the job they are offering is outside of your knowledge base, other times it may be that the job is not near you or perhaps it’s simply not appealing. In any case, it can be easy to see why these messages would be considered spam.

Nevertheless, InMail can provide a doorway to connect with a recruiter in a meaningful way. I’d suggest composing a few messages that you can simply copy-paste to reply to the recruiter. They will appreciate you having taken the time to reply as it means the recruiter will get back the “InMail Credits” that it costs to send them in the first place. In 90% of cases, I have found that the recruiter would ask me what type of positions I am looking for. In which case, I can reply and suggest they keep in touch with me if they come across a role that fits that criteria.

I have 3 different types of replies to InMail

  • I’m not interested

  • I’m not looking

  • I am interested

Below is my letter I send when I am not looking for a new position.

Hi X, Hope you’re well and thank you for reaching out to me with this opportunity. Unfortunately, I am no longer looking for new positions at this time as I have just accepted a new offer at Z Corp. Thank you for your consideration and best of luck with the business. I will bear you in mind when I look for future opportunities. Kind regards, Y

By having these responses pre-prepared it means I need to spend less time writing and more time gaining useful connections that I can utilize in the future. Furthermore, the friendly reply will set you apart from others they may send this InMail to. People like people, and if you’re a person who is nice, people will be drawn to you. Recruiters are people like you and me, just trying to do their job.

Update your Work History and Skills Sections

Additionally, the number of InMails you get in the first place can be cut down by updating your work history with details description of what you did at that company, what you learned and what technologies you used. The latter is especially useful as recruiters will often target you with jobs related to technologies you used most recently.

Furthermore, the skills section is important as this is one of the factors that recruiters use when sending the InMail campaigns. By pruning out technologies you don’t want to work with, you should receive less mail concerning jobs using those technologies. Put in skills you have and want to use going forward.

To truly go above and beyond and put yourself in the spotlight as a potential candidate, be sure to include any articles you have written, any open source projects you contribute to or maintain. These are all things that good recruiters will look out for, as it will be an indicator that you are a more capable candidate.

Overall these are just a few tips to help you be that little bit extra special (I know you are) to potential companies. My dad always use to say: “There are lots of baked beans on the shelf, but why do people go for the same brand each time? – Because they believe they are the best. Be the best can of baked beans”. The point is that you have to set yourself out from the crowd. There are lots of developers out there and lots of demand but it doesn’t take much to differentiate yourself from the crowd by applying the points above.

Do you have any more tips to share on LinkedIn or perhaps a grievance or two? Discuss it down below or email me at hola@joshghent.com or comment below! I’m also on twitter @joshghent where I tweet about web performance and more.


Josh Ghent

I'm Josh Ghent. I make robust apps for the web. I wrangle code at Capp & Co. I act as lead maintainer of ESFiddle and organize LeicesterJS