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Brian Jenney

Brian Jenney

November 12, 2022

How to Network on LinkedIn as a Software Developer

Everyone and their mother is telling you, as a software developer, to do 2 things on LinkedIn:

  1. Learn in public

  2. Network

They're not wrong. These strategies have been proven to work when it comes to landing new roles. I "networked" my way to my current role. I also got referrals which led to interviews at amazing companies like Air BnB and Google, even AFTER getting rejected at first when they looked at my resume!

Unfortunately, the gurus on LinkedIn will tell you what to do.... but not how. Which leaves most people DM'ing total strangers and asking for favors which leads nowhere.

Networking is basically just making friends online

But you're probably not making friends. Instead you're:

  • Adding forgettable comments under posts

  • Creeping into hiring managers DMs

  • Not offering value

  • Creating posts that don't capture any attention

Luckily, these are fixable issues and I'm going to give you some tips to help you stand out, write better posts and actually create relationships through LinkedIn.

Here's how, step by step:

Step 1: Comment as a strategy

Maybe you're a little shy and don't feel comfortable posting... yet. That's ok. Targeted comments can expand your network and validate you as a developer.

Pick a few popular accounts within tech on LinkedIn to follow that are active (this is important). Turn on the notification bell for when they post.

When this person posts, be one of the first with a VALUABLE comment.

Bad example: I agree!

Not-so-bad example: Funny, I was just solving this same issue on an app I'm working on currently. I like your approach and I think I'll try that out. Thanks! Here's a link in case anyone wants to check it out [link]

The first comments on high traffic posts stand out and lead to connection requests, actual engagement with the original poster and a bit of a credibility boost for you.

Step 2: Your first DM should never ask for anything

Holy fish cakes. How many DMs do I get per week asking me to look at a resume from a person I've NEVER met.

Why?

Instead, DM the person a relevant article you read they might find interesting. Maybe a free course dealing with a topic they said they are researching. A coupon to the local computer museum. Hell, anything besides an ask for a favor.

If they respond, keep your conversation short and polite. Likely this person has a lot of DMs.

They will inevitably say "Thanks!" and you follow up with "Very welcome. I thought you might like [x] because of your post on [y]. Have a good one!"

Now, the next time you slide in their DMs after hearing about a job at their company, it's much easier to ask if they have time to set up a quick chat to learn more about it.

Step 3: Write posts people actually read

People are interested in code for sure. But they are infinitely more interested in the person behind the code.

When you are learning in public you may think an image of your portfolio and an ask for feedback will get engagement. It certainly can, usually in the form of criticism since everyone has an opinion. Maybe it also sucks, and you don't really want people looking at it.

What works better is the story of your journey as a developer. So instead of waiting for your portfolio to be done, document the journey.

Example:

So redux doesn't actually suck.

Today I incorporated ReduxJS into an app I'm working on.

I know I'm supposed to hate it, but I actually found it kinda fun. Here's what I learned:

  1. Thing 1

  2. Thing 2

  3. Thing 3

Curious, how do you like using Redux and any better alternatives?

The most important thing when you post is that first sentence. Readers have their attention spans completely borked from scrolling all day. Write a controversial statement or a quote from a famous developer perhaps.

Write simply, use white space between statements and lists when possible.

Short and sweet.

Lastly, ask for advice. People love offering their suggestions for whatever library came out this week. This leads to genuine connections with readers and makes DMs even easier to slide into.

I don't just write. I get developers hired, promoted and teach them the concepts that unlocks their potential. 

  1. ğŸ˜Ž Tired of endless tutorials? Get your hands dirty with challenges guaranteed to level you up as an engineer 🚀

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