[Notes] LinkedIn & Networking for Devs—A conversation between Danny Thompson & Taylor Desseyn

Notes from Danny Thompson & recruiter Taylor Desseyn's conversation on how to network and use LinkedIn as a developer to get a job in tech.

My Thoughts

I learned so much from Danny & Taylor’s conversation. Things I knew were reinforced, my understanding of modern networking is clearer now, and they helped me prioritize my next steps. If you don’t have time to watch their video or skim through my notes now, I’ve highlighted some of their most important points in this (coming Monday) TLDR Twitter thread.

Priceless LinkedIn conversation between @DThompsonDev @tdesseyn. 🦖 Mega notes thread. For full notes and links https://aaronstroud.com/notes-danny-thompson-recruiter-taylor-desseyn Hat tip to @techieEliot for link to video retweet

Notes

Q: Things a candidate can put on their profile that stands out to you?

You can follow Taylor to tweets about job hunting (link at top)

Recruiters don’t click on your profile unless your title says what you do. Give specifics—.NET, React, Java, etc @tdesseyn retweet

Recruiters don’t click on your profile unless your title says what you do “Aspiring software developer” doesn’t tell the recruiter enough. Instead, “Aspiring Software Developer Finishing Bootcamp”. Give specifics, what do you want to do? .Net, React, Java, etc

As Recruiters are searching through 150 profiles that pop up, we have to just scan the titles @tdesseyn retweet

As Recruiters are searching through 150 profiles that pop up, we have to just scan the titles Taylor thinks (not speaking for all recruiters), your LinkedIn should be a summary of your resume

3 bullets per position:

  1. What you do like you’re speaking to a family member
  2. Summary of recent apps/projects
  3. Tech used (front to back) = enough keywords to pop up on recruiters radar, but keep it readable for recruiters @tdesseyn retweet

Three bullets for every position:

  1. Describe what you do like you’re speaking to a family member (aka plain english)
  2. List summary of the main applications/projects you’ve worked on recently
  3. Technologies used (front to back) in this position. This makes sure you have enough keywords to pop up on recruiters radar, but not too many, so that the recruiter can understand what you do on a functional level.

Danny recommends you drop the “Aspiring”, it’s not helping you on any keywords. Just list what you do and be very clear about what you’re looking for. The recruiter 100% agreed with Danny’s point. You have to use those keywords so you can pop up on the recruiters’ radar.

[8:10] Taylor mentions a job finding platform that you can text him to reach out

Recruiters look at resumes and LinkedIn profiles “pretty quickly” possibly as quickly as a few seconds @tdesseyn retweet

Q: Do recruiters really only spend 6 seconds evaluating a resume/profile?

Taylor’s been recruiting 9 year, 6-7 just for engineers. He’s met close to 4k engineers now. He wouldn’t say 6 seconds, but he looks at a resume “pretty quickly”.

Title shouldn’t be “front” or “back” end. Spell out the tech you use. That’s what recruiters search for. @tdesseyn retweet

Evaluating a LinkedIn profile, title: “Software engineer | MERN Stack | Front End Developer”

MERN Stack good, but take out front end dev and spell it out. They (for the most part), they don’t search “MERN”. They want you to know React, Node, Express, Mongo. We’re not searching for the MERN wording. It is an eyeball glance.

So revise title to: Software Engineer targetting Mongo, Express, React, Node, Opportunities

Recruiters aren’t likely to dig. Make it easy for them and spell out your skills. @DThompsonDev retweet

Danny says you need to make it so easy for recruiters (spelling it out) because they’re not going to work for it to dig down and discover that you listed it on your resume in hard to reach places.

A good headshot cannot be overstated. Use the same headshot everywhere (twitter, etc). You can use a smart phone, just dress up, look the part, no bathroom selfies! retweet

Q: Do you prefer short and sweet or long and detail filled About sections?

About should be concise. Eliminate fluff words like passionate, driven, etc @tdesseyn retweet

Recruiter personally has a long one that he needs to shorten because he knows for a fact that he gets tired of reading them. (Looking at the profile they are reviewing) Shorten up Will’s About section. Remove the fluff words like passionate, driven, etc. Everything needs to be 2-3 bullet points.

Depending on where you’re at in your software career—list num of years experience with different technologies. End with “Targeting fill-in-the-blank” @tdesseyn retweet

Depending on where you’re at in your software career, list X number of years experience with different technologies. Ending with “Targeting UI/Front end roles.”

It’s like writing a paragraph or pryamid that you might have been taught in school: Broad: overall years of experience Less broad: outlining how many years of experience in the technolog(ies) you’re specialized in Narrow: what type of role are you targetting?

Q: “How much can a dev put in a LinkedIn title without being too spammy? like being a tech lead, fullstack dev and docker professional. I guess that would be a bit much. what would make sense?”

“How much can go in a LinkedIn title without being too spammy?” Put in your title what you want to be called for @tdesseyn retweet

Example “Technology lead focusing on devops and emphasis on docker”

Recruiter thinks everyone attention needs to be on LinkedIn and Twitter for networking.

Danny does not fill out applications. Network w/ hiring managers & recruiters to get to interview number 1. If you’ve got them interested, the resume doesn’t matter @DThompsonDev retweet

Danny’s only used LinkedIn for over a year and a half and that’s how he’s literally helped nearly 70 people land jobs. Danny does not fill out applications. Everything he did was networking with hiring managers and recruiters, getting himself into interview number 1. If you’ve got them interested in you, the resume doesn’t matter because they already want to talk to you.

Taylor: The feature section is where your portfolio should go. Code samples, github, a place where I can go and click to show something. Your references should be at the bottom, so in this featured section. It needs to be things that a hiring manager can click through to see your work. Front end visual stuff is easy to highlight, but put backend work there too (if that’s what you do). You can link to backend work on Github, etc.

The Featured section is the most valuable piece of real estate that you have to get recruiters’ attention and hook them @DThompsonDev @tdesseyn retweet

Danny and the recruiter agree that the Featured section is the most valuable piece of real estate that you have to get recruiters’ attention and hook them. You much showcase the things you’ve achieved and that you’re making–in a good way–not 100 Days of code (that’s not for LinkedIn), you’re not putting what you’re working on, Danny thinks hightlighting that makes hiring managers think ‘this is a work in progress, not an asset I can put on my team’.

“LinkedIn is for Strengths, Keep your weakness for Twitter” @DThompsonDev @tdesseyn retweet

Taylor strongly agrees

Follower count does not matter at all on LinkedIn. They both agree that it does not matter at all or apply to the value you bring to a company. The only thing it helps is that more followers makes more potential that have single conversations that could lead somewhere.

Looking at Will’s experience section:

Don’t lie with job titles, but make sure you use the universal industry standards. That’s what recruiters are searching for @tdesseyn retweet

Taylor: Wants to be clear, don’t lie with titles. But what does “web project coordinator” mean? Recruiters aren’t searching for that. So #1, there’s no tech in here. (Taylor reading) What does this mean? What does this company do? And how do you work in with this company? You wouldn’t explain this to your family.

Danny says tailor your job title and job description to universal industry standards.

Taylor has a junior developer newsletter that he sends out every month

He can’t help junior developers at work because there’s so much “junior” talent out there that they’re not paid to find junior developers. So he tries to give back as much as he can in other ways.

Non coding job experience: give “comparison and quantitative information”. Example: Recruited 3 times as many new members tp gym. Comparitive is important for the non-technical positions. @tdesseyn retweet

Hiring managers want people “who are chill and know how to work with people”

“Your job description is not where you write what you did, but what you achieved @DThompsonDev 🙌 @tdesseyn retweet

Danny: “Your job description is not where you write what you did, but what you achieved” Taylor loves that.

Danny uses a customer focused example one might have from a non-tech example. INCLUDE it on LinkedIn. You gotta list the things where you’ve gone beyond the minimum job roles. I’m sure you did that at some point, list it.

Taylor: Education is a whole another topic. But put it if you have it. If you had relevant stuff like like CS, put it in the About section. Taylor really doesn’t look at education.

Danny: What’s your opinion on certs? Taylor: I don’t think certs matter unless you’re in the cloud. They’re kind of a dying breed because there’s so many developers now. You could spend so much money on certs, instead just take on free work and put it in your portfolio.

Education is a huge topic. List it if you have it. Certs aren’t useful unless they’re for the cloud. There’s some AWS fatigue @tdesseyn retweet

Danny: It can’t hurt to include it and Taylor agrees. Danny things the only type of cert that would really matter is a special cert. Taylor: like a cloud cert. There’s not enough engineers that at proficient, there’s not a lot of saturation with cloud certs. So like Azure is good. There’s some AWS fatigue. If you’re on the database engineering side, you could look at that. It’s not a waste of money. (like other certs mostly are)

Q: Skills & Endorsements how important are these?

Taylor eyeballs it (if he doesn’t know you) to see where your focus is, but if you have over 100 endorsements on Node, then I figure you’re probably good at Node. For the most part, I’m not concerned with that section.

Recommendations are HUGE. Incredibly important—and not talked about enough. @tdesseyn retweet

Q: Recommendations, does that matter at all?

Taylor: Yes, it’s huge. Incredibly important and not talked about enough. You need at least one. If you have a bunch, then that really catches his attention because most people overlook this critical part of your LinkedIn profile.

Q: What do you think about the Interest section, do you actually look at it?

Taylor: No

Finishing up with the LinkedIn profile. Danny highlights the tech listed in the bottom of the About section and he loves it but Taylor is like: ‘What does that mean? Is that what you’re working on? What you want to work on? What do those tech mean?’

They agree that it should be at least written out in terms of what he did in previous/current jobs. Right now it looks like it’s included to match keywords.

On resumes, Danny prefers to list the technologies he’s proficient with instead of a summary and that usually gets him through ATS. Taylor says that’s why you have that third bullet point for each job to list the tech you used which will hit the keywords you need for ATS.

[32:35] They discuss a new profile. The non-smiling photo is the first issue that jumps out. Make the photo more warm. You could stick with the profile, but it’s just advice. Danny would at least center the photo.

LinkedIn is not social media. It’s about networking and showing how you can bring value to the conversation. Never know when one conversation could lead to a six figure job.

Looking at the About: Need more details and keywords. What specifically do you do. Taylor searches tools and technologies, not categories like (front end dev or systems administration).

It needs to be a little longer and more detailed, but not long.

**Danny: “Your About section should read in 15 seconds”**

Taylor: “I love that”

He has a ton of job experience, but no titles and descriptions. Needs titles, summaries, and technologies

[38:33] New profile

Great suit, tie, etc in profile, but they can’t see his face

Take aspiring out of the Experience

Taylor is fine with Self Employment, just call it consultant. That sounds better than self employed. For Taylor, “self employed” means you haven’t really been working, but consultant sounds like you’re actually working for people.

List any side projects you have going on and if you don’t have any, then start asking. Find somebody that needs something and volunteer your time and put that on your LinkedIn ASAP. @tdesseyn retweet

What have you been doing during the last year. Everyone wants to know this.

Q: How good is it to put out content on LinkedIn?

Danny is a huge fan of putting out content. Helps you get found by people. It helps people who find it. And it helps you hook someone’s attention. @DThompsonDev retweet

Taylor wants Danny’s opinion first. Danny says there’s several reasons:

  1. Help you get found by people. Especialy if you’re showing things you’ve achieved or your strong at. It can get you onto recruiters radar (if you’re properly describing your work like website in React)
  2. To hook somebody, you need to give them something to be hooked by. You need to have enough that recruiters can look through some things you’ve done, that makes them think “I need to know this person”. It’s kind of like a dating profile, putting the best version of yourself forward to get people’s interest.
  3. ? Not sure what the third point was

Personal brands = your reputation. You absolutely have to put out content. It’s a way for people to get to know you before they reach out to know you. @tdesseyn retweet

Taylor’s podcasts: Guidance Counselor 2.0 and The Unicorn Finders

They gave a presentation on personal brands. It’s just your reputation. You absolutely have to put out content. It’s a way for people to get to know you before they reach out to know you.

[46:30] Taylor has an idea about putting out a selfie interview where you answer the same questions typical interview questions and then you post it and improve it each month.

Taylor: Putting contact out on LinkedIn allows you to cover so much more ground as a job seeker because more people are seeing your content (especially if someone else likes it for their followers).

Danny: It literally doesn’t cost you anything. Why not do it? Taylor: Free. It’s free. It’s free.

Danny: People get caught up in people aren’t liking it. People aren’t viewing it.

[47:30] Danny talks about how to break in to the industry and the typical “Oh it’s so hard, but once you get the first job it’s easy” Listen to the link if you haven’t heard him tell the story before.

Q: Do you think people need to spend all of their time on applications or is networking?

Should I spend all my time submitting applications? “Stop what you’re doing now, listen to us, then stop submitting your resume to job postings period.” Do these things: @tdesseyn retweet

Taylor is big on “stop what you’re doing now, listen to us, then stop submitting your resume to job postings period.” Do these things:

  1. Start interviewing recruiters like you interview for jobs @tdesseyn
  2. Find yourself 3-4 of us recruiters (I have videos on this https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNqJ-P5d9RUCUsQ-grhlUHw/). Basically interview recruiters like you interview clients and afterwards let them go to work for you. @tdesseyn retweet
  1. If you see a company that has a job pop up, find employees on LinkedIn and start DM’ing developers at that company and ask who you need to talk to about it. Always establish a human connection. @tdesseyn
  2. Don’t be creepy. Find something on their profile that connects you with them. @tdesseyn retweet
  1. You need to be interviewing recruiters like you interview for jobs
  2. Find yourself 3-4 of us, I have videos on this on YouTube. Basically interview recruiters like you interview clients and afterwards let them go to work for you.
  3. What you do, if you see a company that has a job pop up, immediately go in to LinkedIn and search for the company name. Say 300 people pop up, go to the search feature for the specific city you’re in and search it and start DM’ing people at the company. Every developer at that company and ask who you need to talk to about it. They still may need you to submit a resume but try to always establish a human connection.

When reaching out, you need to have a specific purpose. Ask them a question. They’re going to reply. If you connected on a shared interest (say volunteering), they’ll realize that you’re like minded and might want to help find a way for you to work together. @DThompsonDev retweet

Danny: Thing about this, could talk about it all day, your opening message shouldn’t be a ‘hey how you doing’, you need to have a specific purpose. He’s big on building a network for the present and in the future. Might mention how someone is big on volunteering and make a human connection on that point because it’s something they have in common.

Taylor: Don’t be creepy. “Hey”, “Hey, that’s weird”. Find something on their profile that connects you with them. And if a hiring manager tells you that you were not selected, thank them and have empathy for the job hiring process. Usually people’s first choice go somewhere else so if you were their #2 and you didn’t burn the place down on your way out, you’re going to get a pretty strong look next time.

[53:30] New profile

Likes the profile.

[54:45] This is a decent about section. Again, if you have any projects this is where I would want to see it. If you’re anything Front end UI/UX, your profile needs to be littered with examples. Or testimonies.

Profile doesn’t have enough info yet to make a determination.

[56:30] Danny’s profile!

Taylor: If I didn’t know Danny [looking at this profile] I knew he was in Memphis and that he was really active in the community because Memphis chapter founder. I don’t know what GDG means, I don’t know if there’s a way to expound on that or what it means.

Danny: It means Google Developers Group but it’s so long that it would take up all of the real estate, so if you just googled it it’s the first thing that pops up. So that’s why I have it like that.

Taylor: Okay, so it has his website, email to contact him, love that, really, first initial–I love this–Danny, my thing is, software engineer, like Danny, I would like what you program the most in, what like .Net, Java,

Danny: So I’m a Java developer, but when I removed the job title at company (because of spammers) it removed that description. When I’m looking for a job again, I’ll add that back in.

Taylor: Honestly if I was you, I’d put in helped 70 people get jobs, really active in local chapter stuff, maybe expand on what GDG means, really kind of hit some high points that are very attractive to…public speaking, we all submit our profiles to calls for public speaking, right? Spoken at Google. Part of Google dev community in Memphis. Helped over 70 people get jobs. “That’s where I’d put some of that good juicy information right there”

Danny: That’s what I do with my featured section.

Taylor: Look at that, look at that!

Danny wakes up at 4am, not because he enjoys it but because he believes you should work at your job, but work even harder on yourself @DThompsonDev retweet

Your job has given you a specific task to do something, whereas when you work on yourself, that’s when you’re building your value. @DThompsonDev retweet

Danny wakes up at 4am. Hates early morning and has 4-7am as his time to work on himself. Big believer in “to be successful in life: work at your job, but work even harder on yourself. Because your job has given you a specific task to do something, whereas when you work on yourself, that’s when you’re building your value. A job can tell me what they’ll pay me but they don’t tell me what I’m worth.” “I believe in quantifying and building my worth in the time that I allocate to myself.”

Taylor: I love that.

Danny uses this Featured as his convert in section because he’s already piqed interest.

Taylor: Look at those views man, look at those views! I think people need to talk about this.

When Danny was going for his first job, he used volunteering experience as a way to demonstrate how interested and passionate he was about tech. What are your thoughts?

Taylor: I love it, I love it, looks good.

When you volunteer, you’re helping 3 groups of people. The people you’re voluntering for, the community, and yourself (it’s on your resume for decades). @DThompsonDev retweet

Danny: Reason why I’m big on volunteering:

  1. You’re helping your community, why wouldn’t you want to?
  2. You’re networking while you’re there. Other people you’re volunteering with have jobs so you’re networking with them.
  3. If you volunteer, that’s on your resume for 20 years! It doesn’t matter, so why not volunteer for a couple of weeks and then throw it on a resume.
  4. You’re helping 3 groups of people. The people you’re voluntering for, the community, and yourself. There’s nothing [else?] you can do in this universe that will help everyone and make you look good at the same time.

Taylor: 10 out of 10, 9 our of 10. I’d call you.

[1:04:00] New profile

Need more professional headshot.

In About section, Taylor loves how he describes some of what he can do but also his main focus. “I dig it, I read it, it’s short. I didn’t get distracted because it wasn’t long.”

If you’re mobile, you need to have it in Featured.

Freelance means you have projects going on. Not sure what’s worse. Freelance but no projects or you have projects going on but not portrayed correctly.

Danny, 4 steps to job in tech:

Danny’s 4 steps to job in tech: Badass LinkedIn profile, great portfolio site needs to be technical to non-technical users. You need great, tech heavy portfolio items to appeal to managers. And a resume. @DThompsonDev retweet

But to get to impressing managers, you have to impress the person who knows nothing about tech, and to get to that point, you have to impress them on LinkedIn and show them what you can do. @DThompsonDev retweet

  1. No way around it, you need a badass LinkedIn profile
  2. You need to have a great portfolio site needs to be technical to non-technical users. **Taylor: CORRECT**
  3. You need to have great portfolio items. They need to be very tech heavy because that’s what the managers look at, they’re looking at the code, github, etc. But to get to that stage you have to impress the person who knows nothing about tech, and to get to that point, you have to impress them on LinkedIn and show them what you can do. You see the steps?
  4. You have to have the resume obviously

Taylor: Agrees with him on that.

[1:07:20] New profile

No keywords in the title. What language do you specialize in or want to.

Good headshot. Taylor doesn’t care about the header much, but do what Danny did if you’re doing a custom one. All of the ways to connect with you

Danny thinks the header image is pretty messy/distracting.

About doesn’t have a specifics (tech, JS has a ton of it, which libraries, etc)

Taylor: Be OCD when it comes to documenting what you’ve done in your internship. "I breathed 17 times while coding React"

Taylor: For people with unfinished projects, live stream yourself working on your projects and then post them. Hiring managers want to know how you came about a problem and solved it. Document yourself outloud talking through how you are coding things and put it up on your LinkedIn.

[1:11:35] New profile

They love the header. Great headshot.

About, dig it but not seeing Full Stack spelled out. What do you know, what are you working on.

If the job experience isn’t specifically tech, I need to need to understand what these descriptions mean. Write it the way you’d explain it to your parents. Recruiters aren’t technical. If you can write your profile, ‘hey I help assembly technicians. They work on the carpet that is installed in churches and what I do is I go in and help them increase sending out 15 loads of carpet to 25 loads of carpet per week.’

Q: Do you think it is important for someone to list every job they’ve ever had or should they should or can limit certain positions if it has nothing to do with…

Taylor: Yeah I think limit, especially for junior folks and getting out of college, I think you need obviously your internships and because I want to see if you’re involved in college or not, but I wouldn’t go back to your senior year in highschool.

Taylor: For me, if you’re coming out of college, I would and get a technical degree, I would put that in your header.

[1:15:20] Last profile

maybe put email in header, have a smile in the profile pic what type of front-end dev, what languages

[1:16:20] Taylor mentions a conference he’s going to to break down the back end of what recruiters see on profiles

Q: How do you feel about emjois?

Taylor: I don’t mind it, not many people use them

About section clearly lists out what the person is interested in

Taylor: I want to know more about what you’ve done on a high level (laymans’ terms). What projects have you done and with what technologies.