LinkedIn Profile Optimization – A Web Developer's Guide to Attract Opportunity
As a web developer, an optimized LinkedIn profile can bring numerous opportunities directly to you. After implementing invaluable optimization advice from industry experts who reviewed my profile, I now receive a steady flow of enticing prospects in my inbox.
In this article, I’ll share the insights I’ve gained to help you optimize your profile so that you can achieve similar success.
Hello, my name is Michael. Like many others, I am a self-taught web developer on a journey to transition from my current career into the tech industry.
Although I haven’t finished learning front-end web development, I am already earning side income by writing articles and providing code reviews. How did I accomplish this? One of the ways is through an optimized LinkedIn profile, which helps bring monetary opportunities directly to me.
In this article, I will share with you what I learned from having my LinkedIn profile reviewed by employees from LinkedIn and Microsoft, recruiters, and a tech celebrity during livestream events. 📺
Why should you optimize your LinkedIn profile?
Having a LinkedIn profile in today’s industry is arguably just as important as having a resume/CV.
By optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you will not only stand out from the crowd of other web developers but also help attract recruiters, hiring managers, and additional opportunities directly to you. 💸
How you should treat LinkedIn
Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn is a professional work-related platform, and it should be treated as such. Refrain from posting personal social content, your opinions on controversial subjects, and anything else that may hinder your reputation.
You have a right to voice your opinions, but you should consider posting them on other social media platforms. It is not in your best interest for potential hiring managers to dismiss you from employment opportunities simply by judging you based on your posted content. 😬
LinkedIn Profile Sections
To optimize your LinkedIn profile, I will guide you through each of the following LinkedIn profile sections:
- How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile Picture and Banner
- Open to Work Banner
- Headline Section
- Location Setting
- Featured Section
- Activity Section
- Summary (About) Section
- Experience Section
- Education Section
- Licenses and Certifications Section
- Projects Section
- Skills and Endorsements Section
- Recommendations Section
- Honors & Rewards (Accomplishments) Section
- Creator Mode
- Post external links in the comments
- Change the default profile URL to your name
- Separate Profile for separate languages
- LinkedIn Learning
- LinkedIn Skill Assessments
💡 Tip: Did you know many recruiters are not programmers? Keep this in mind to better optimize your LinkedIn profile.
How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile Picture and Banner
In this section, you’ll learn how to optimize your profile picture and banner on LinkedIn to make your profile look more professional.
How to Optimize your Profile Picture
Your profile picture is easy, so we’ll start with that. Since the absence of a picture or an avatar in its place may be perceived as a red flag to hiring managers, use a real picture of yourself (don’t be shy). 😏
Use a close-up picture of yourself in professional clothing, as you would in an interview, from the shoulder area up, and a professional-looking or blank background.
How to Optimize your Banner Image
For your banner, your goal is to convey a clear picture of your desired job role.
When creating a custom banner, here are things to consider:
- The banner image should reflect your desired job role, not contradict it.
- Other people viewing your profile may not be programmers.
- Everyone will not recognize tech icons without the corresponding names.
- Add contact information as an alternative method to be reached.
- Incorporate a hobby to spark conversation.
An unintentional mistake I made was to use on my blog’s logo as a banner, which included the word “self-taught” in big letters. Danny Thompson brought to my attention during a livestream review that it wasn’t in my best interest to broadcast that I am a self-taught developer, as it can be seen as a red flag to hiring managers.
Other banner image mistakes include unrelated tech images such as nature scenery or having no banner at all. Remember, you want your banner to reflect your desired job role.
Adding contact information
Another thing I learned while having my profile reviewed is that recruiters have a limited number of monthly LinkedIn InMail credits available to reach out to potential candidates. So, adding your contact information to your banner, such as your website, email, and phone number, creates an alternative means of reaching you without having to utilize their InMail credits.
This will not be for everyone, but it is definitely worth mentioning. Recruiter Taylor Desseyn told us of a developer who incorporated his time as a sound engineer for the Backstreet Boys in his LinkedIn banner. This caught the attention of a recruiter who contacted the developer due to their music industry experience, ultimately securing them a tech job. So, if you have a personal, non-tech-related experience or hobby that could potentially spark a conversation, consider including it.
💡 Tip: Recruiters have a limited number of InMail credits, which they use to reach out to potential candidates. Providing your contact information in your LinkedIn banner provides an alternative method for others to get in touch with you.
Open to Work Banner
If you are feeling brave, you can display an “OPEN TO WORK” banner that proudly displays your availability to everyone.
However, since this is a delicate topic, and everyone’s situation varies, there is an option that allows you to maintain the privacy of your open-to-work status. There will not be a displayed banner, but recruiters will know you are available to work. 🤫
To set the “Open to Work” banner on LinkedIn, follow these steps:
- Log in to your LinkedIn account and navigate to “Edit job preferences.”
- Fill in the fields, such as job titles, location types, start date, and employment types.
- Now, for visibility, choose whether to share your open-to-work status with all LinkedIn members or only with recruiters. Selecting the first option will display the “Open to Work” banner on your profile picture, while the second option keeps it private.
- Click “Save” to apply the changes.
Note: Please proceed with caution when selecting your open-to-work status, regardless of whether you choose to display the banner or not, as LinkedIn has a disclaimer stating they cannot guarantee complete privacy. Use this feature at your own risk.
Of course, you can get more descriptive and tell a little about yourself, but the main goal is to provide specific keywords.
The reason for including keywords related to your skills and desired job role in your headline ensures that you appear in relevant search results of recruiters and employers.
For my LinkedIn location setting, I initially set it to Brooklyn, New York, which is where I am based. When LinkedIn employee Austin Henline reviewed my profile, he explained that setting my profile to Brooklyn limits the searches I appeared to just Brooklyn.
By modifying my LinkedIn location from Brooklyn to the New York City Metropolitan Area, which includes Brooklyn, I substantially expanded the range of job searches in which I appear.
To optimize your LinkedIn location setting most effectively, select the broadest range that encompasses the specific location where you live or desire to work.
How to change the location setting on LinkedIn:
- Click on your profile picture or the “Me” icon at the top of the LinkedIn homepage.
- Click “View Profile” to access your profile page.
- In the “Intro” section, click the pencil icon to edit your information.
- In the “Location” field, enter the desired location or select from the suggested options.
- Click “Save” to apply the changes.
💡 Tip: Optimize your LinkedIn location setting by choosing an area that covers a broad radius, ensuring your profile appears in more job searches.
The Featured section is the place to proudly display your achievements, awards, best original projects (not direct copies of tutorial projects), and similar content to showcase yourself in the spotlight. This section is arranged horizontally, scrolls like a carousel, and enables you to rearrange and pin your most recent content to the beginning/top.
Examples of content to feature include:
- Testimonials received
- Awards or recognitions received
- Published articles or blog posts
- Appearances (such as Livestream events)
- Presentations or conference talks
You can optimize your Featured section by including all relevant materials that demonstrate your skills and experience. Additionally, include content that you believe will effectively grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
I display all of my colorful article thumbnails with external links to each, in the Featured section, transforming it into a visually appealing scrolling magazine rack. 📰
💡 Tip: Showcase your best content in the Featured section to capture the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, and remember to update it frequently.
It’s vital for you to keep your LinkedIn profile active because a profile without activity will display a “hasn’t posted lately” message in the Activity section. Recruiters and hiring managers are hesitant to reach out to profiles without activity because they are uncertain whether their attempts to make contact will be successful.
You can keep your profile active by:
- Creating posts: Share updates, articles, or insights to showcase your expertise and engage with your network.
- Leaving comments on posts: Interact with others by providing valuable feedback, asking questions, or sharing your thoughts on their content.
- Sharing posts: Amplify the reach of interesting content with your network, helping spread valuable insights and knowledge.
- Attending LinkedIn Livestream events: Participate in live video events hosted by industry experts, companies, or influencers to learn, network, and engage with others (Taylor Desseyn has great ones).
- Publishing articles: Write long-form content on LinkedIn to demonstrate your knowledge, share your experience, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Having an active profile will increase your visibility to recruiters and hiring managers, and since they know you frequently use the platform, they will not be hesitant to reach out to make contact with you.
💡 Tip: Keep your profile active to avoid the “hasn’t posted lately” message in the Activity section, which may discourage recruiters and hiring managers from attempting to contact you.
Summary (About) Section
Everyone seems to have various opinions about what to put in your About section. From what I gathered through my profile reviews and research of LinkedIn documentation, the overall idea is to craft it like an elevator pitch.
So, what is an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a short speech briefly describing your background, skills, goals, and unique value, typically around 30 seconds to 1 minute (the length of time spent in an elevator with someone).
If you alternatively prefer a more detailed approach to crafting your About section, I recommend following the guidance of LinkedIn employee, Austin Henline. He advises providing five paragraphs that contain the following:
- A hook: A captivating opening statement that grabs the reader’s attention.
- Your past: A brief overview of your previous experiences and accomplishments.
- Your present: A description of your current role, responsibilities, and ongoing projects.
- Your future: A statement outlining your career goals and aspirations.
- Your skills: A list of your relevant technical and soft skills showcasing your expertise.
The Mistakes I made
To further improve your LinkedIn About section, consider the constructive feedback I received from recruiter Molly-May Gallagher. Enhance your LinkedIn summary by clearly stating desired work, highlighting key technical skills, focusing on relevant experiences, detailing current role technologies, and removing unrelated information for a concise, impactful summary.
Also, be sure to clarify your desired job roles to avoid confusion. Alishah Novin from Microsoft pointed out that listing multiple roles, like technical writing and front-end development, as I did, can make your true passion unclear, leading to potential missed opportunities.
💡 Tip: Include keywords relevant to your industry and desired job role in your About section to increase search results visibility.
To best optimize the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile, list your experiences relevant to the job roles you are currently seeking (not all of your unrelated tech roles). For each experience listed, be sure to include details for each, including company name, duration, and a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements.
💡 Tip: If you are currently in college or recently graduated and lack work experience, you can highlight your volunteer experience, club experiences, and projects in your profiles Experience section.
In the Education section, list the degrees and diplomas you have earned, along with the schools, colleges, or universities you have attended. You also have the opportunity to include any additional relevant information, such as participation in activities, societies, or honors you have received.
To best optimize the Education section, emphasize relevant coursework, highlight achievements, and explain the impact of education on your career trajectory as it relates to computer programming.
💡 Tip: If you have a time gap between jobs due to a career transition or break, you can create a positive spin on it by adding supplemental work experience such as completing Bootcamps, earning certificates, studying, and freelancing.
Licenses and Certifications Section
This section lets you showcase your professional certifications, licenses, and achievements. As a web developer, I’m sure you have completed many online courses that issued certificates from schools such as freeCodeCamp, Scrimba, Sololearn, and similar. You can add each of your earned certificates in this section and link to them (I have my linked certificates stored on GitHub).
To add a certification, go to your LinkedIn profile, click “Add profile section,” select “Licenses & certifications,” and enter the required details such as certification name, issuing organization, issue date, expiration date, and associated credential ID.
As a developer, you are definitely going to want to utilize this elusive yet extremely valuable LinkedIn feature, the Projects section. I wasn’t even aware this section existed until LinkedIn employee Austin Henline revealed it during a YouTube Livestream.
The Projects section allows you to showcase your work, giving you an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and expertise. For each project, be sure to include a brief description and the technologies used (remember, not all recruiters and hiring managers are programmers). You can also provide a link to the deployed project or repository, which allows others to view it.
I decided to showcase my deployed Tetris project. I followed freeCodeCamp’s game tutorial, taught by Ania Kubow, and took it to the next level by adding styling, sounds and music, a scoring system, and more.
When users click on the link to the deployed project directly within the LinkedIn app, they are instantly mesmerized as they suddenly take control of the falling tetrominoes trying to clear completed solid rows. My hope is that they become momentarily lost in the game, and when it ends, they click back to my profile and think, “We have to hire this guy!”
To access the LinkedIn Projects section and add projects:
- Click on “Add profile section”.
- Click on “Recommended”.
- Choose “Add projects”.
- Fill in the project details, such as the project name, description, and date.
- You can add your top 5 skills used in this project.
- You can add media such as images, documents, sites, or presentations
- Click “Save” to add the project to your profile.
💡 Tip: To best optimize your LinkedIn profile, include unique projects in your Projects section that will captivate and draw the interest of recruiters and hiring managers.
Skills and Endorsements Section
Be sure to add skills that are most relevant to the job roles you are seeking, and prioritize obtaining endorsements for them. The more endorsements you accumulate, the more credible you and your profile appear to potential employers.
Be sure to utilize the Recommendations section of your profile by asking others you have worked with to provide them. Just like receiving endorsements for your skills, having recommendations will also help increase your credibility and will make your profile more appealing to recruiters and hiring managers.
You can also write and provide recommendations for fellow LinkedIn members in your network.
Honors & Awards (Accomplishments) Section
In your LinkedIn profile’s Honors & awards section, you can showcase your achievements, awards, and recognitions. Be sure to add ( and earn ) relevant honors and awards, as this section demonstrates additional credibility to potential employers, further optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
Honors & awards may include:
- Coding competition awards
- Scholarships and grants
- Community leadership roles
- Technical writing achievements
- Speaking achievements
- Mentorship roles
If you are a content creator, turning on LinkedIn Creator mode provides additional tools such as a “Follow” button, analytics, profile topics, and a set of creator tools that you can use to optimize your LinkedIn profile further.
The Follow button provides LinkedIn members with an alternative option to connect with you. Once you surpass five hundred connections, a “500+ connections” displays, whereas there is no limit to the number of displayed followers.
Analytics includes your post impressions, profile views, followers, and your search appearances. You will gain insights into your content’s performance by selecting date ranges from a week to a year and choosing from a list of demographics. This information will help you clearly understand who is engaging with your content, allowing you to make informed decisions about your content strategy.
Creator mode allows you to showcase five “Profile Topics” that highlight your expertise, making it simpler for audiences to understand your focus, enhancing credibility, and attracting a targeted audience.
Creator tools include:
- Collaborative articles: Jointly written articles by multiple authors on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Live: Real-time video streaming feature on LinkedIn for engaging audiences.
- Audio Event: Virtual audio-based discussions or presentations on LinkedIn.
- Newsletters: Periodic publications sent to subscribers, sharing updates and insights.
- Follow link: Button on LinkedIn profiles for users to follow and receive content updates.
The collaborative article is a new feature where the LinkedIn team creates an AI article, and invites select members to participate by adding their valuable insights.
As an active LinkedIn member, I was recognized and invited to participate. As I continue to add value to these collaborative articles, I currently have a “Top Writing Voice” badge displayed. However, I hold this badge for a minimum of 60 days, and if LinkedIn members stop finding my insights valuable, they will take the badge away. (No pressure, right? 😅)
At this time, collaborative articles are by invitation only, but they mentioned LinkedIn members who engage with them by liking or reacting to them will be considered.
In this section, I included a few additional LinkedIn tips I have learned that are worth sharing with you.
1. Post external links in the comments
When sharing content that is located on other platforms using links, do not put the link directly in your LinkedIn post. Instead, add external links in the comments of your LinkedIn post. This tip came from a LinkedIn employee who explained that doing this significantly improves your post’s reach/performance on the platform.
2. Change the default profile URL to your name
For a more professional URL, you have the option to change the default one created to your name. My original URL was “https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-larocca-9315a3202/“. I have since changed it to “https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaeljudelarocca“
Here are the steps to changing your profile URL:
- Click on your profile picture or the “Me” icon at the top of the LinkedIn homepage.
- Click “View Profile” to access your profile page.
- In the “Intro” section, click the pencil icon to edit your information.
- Scroll down to “Edit public profile & URL” on the top right and click it.
- On the new page, under “Edit your custom URL,” click the pencil icon next to your current URL.
- Enter your desired custom URL and click “Save” to apply the changes.
3. Separate Profile for separate languages
If you speak more than one language, you may be filling out your profile multilingually. Doing so will quickly deplete your allotted character limit for each section and may cause confusion for others viewing your profile.
As an alternative, you can create separate profiles for each language. Maintaining a profile for each language provides the advantage of personalizing them to attract diverse job opportunities in their respective languages.
Here are steps to add a profile in another language (desktop/laptop version only):
- On the top right, click on “ME.”
- Then click on “View Profile.”
- Finally, on the right, click on “Add profile in another language.”
4. LinkedIn Learning
With a premium membership, you can access LinkedIn Learning, an online educational platform offering a wide range of courses. Upon completing these courses, you will receive LinkedIn Learning certificates, which optimize your LinkedIn profile by displaying your skills and professional development to prospective employers and connections.
You can take advantage of a free trial period to explore the platform by signing up for a one-month LinkedIn Premium membership. (You can take LinkedIn Learning courses from Dylan Israel, a successful graduate of freeCodeCamp and a LinkedIn Learning instructor.)
5. LinkedIn Skill Assessments
Skill Assessments are FREE tests offered by LinkedIn to evaluate your proficiency in various skills. A corresponding badge will be added on your profile when you pass a Skill Assessment test. If you fail the test, no worries! You are allowed to retake them after three months.
To get an idea of what taking these tests are like, you can watch Kyle Cook’s (Web Dev Simplified) recorded Livestream YouTube videos taking them.
Kyle Cook (Web Dev Simplified) LinkedIn Skill Assessments:
Special thanks to Scrimba and the industry experts who reviewed my LinkedIn profile and provided valuable, constructive criticism, which enabled me to optimize it, resulting in a continual flow of opportunities coming directly to me:
- Danny Thompson – Tech Celebrity!
- Austin Henline – LinkedIn
- Taylor Desseyn – Recruiter
- Alishah Novin – Microsoft
- Molly-May Gallagher – Recruiter
- Leanne Rybintsev – Scrimba Livestream host
As a web developer, having a LinkedIn profile is equally important as having a resume. Creating and optimizing a LinkedIn profile will help you stand out from the competition, draw the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, and attract a wealth of opportunities directly to you.
Once you have created and optimized your LinkedIn profile, you must stay active on the platform, as inactivity can be seen as a red flag for recruiters and hiring managers. You can stay active by interacting with posts through creation, commenting, and sharing them. You can also attend and participate in LinkedIn Livestream events to keep your account active.
Remember, LinkedIn is a professional platform and should be treated accordingly. Refrain from posting, commenting, or engaging in any form of communication that could potentially damage your reputation.
You can further enhance your LinkedIn profile by increasing your credibility. Make sure to include your honors and awards, consider taking LinkedIn Skill Assessments and courses, and ask for endorsements and recommendations from your network. Also, be on the lookout for new features you can take part in to boost your credibility, such as collaboration articles that award exclusive badges.
Most importantly, don’t just take my word for it: regularly update your profile, discover what works best for you, and also observe how others have effectively optimized their LinkedIn profiles. If you or someone else has further optimization tips that I haven’t covered, please share them so that we can all have the best-optimized profiles, leading to daily opportunities coming directly to each of us.
Other articles I’ve written related to LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Profile Optimization With Austin Henline
- Revamp Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile: Expert Tips to Get Noticed and Hired
- LinkedIn Review with Danny Thompson
- Create a LinkedIn profile that gets noticed by tech recruiters
- How to use LinkedIn as a developer to get a job in tech