Decrypting the secret code of a job-winning LinkedIn Profile

Linkedin Blog post


85% of all jobs are filled via networking

LinkedIn influenced hires are twice as likely to be high demand, above-average hires


Developer – you’re on LinkedIn, right? And you had an idea that LinkedIn could be good for your professional life, even if you weren’t aware just how powerful LinkedIn could be for your career and earning potential. Trouble is, the job leads aren’t arriving, and your applications are entering the ether - never to elicit so much as an invite to interview.

The reason? Your profile. Few professionals (in any industry) appreciate just how fine an art form this realm of self-marketing is. So let’s enlighten you – this, is the secret code that lies behind a job-winning developer LinkedIn profile…

The Basics…

You’ve got 8.8 seconds to impress your potential employer. Make them count.


First, let’s begin with a little housekeeping – your profile photo and your profile description…


Perfecting your profile photo

Profiles with profile photos are viewed approximately 14 times more often than those without.


But what approach should you take with your photo? DIY selfie, or professional shoot? We’d say the latter, as there are numerous elements to get right (and to be avoided).

Research goes to show that you most certainly should…

   1. Smile – and show your teeth (that’d be something to do with the complex psychology of smiling styles – showing your teeth makes you seem friendly, genuine and willing to appease).

   2. Squinch (think the opposite to “rabbit-in-the-headlights” – less wide-eyed, a little more like a squint.

   3. Accentuate your jawline.

   4. Make eye contact.

   5. Keep your head and shoulders, or head to waist, in the frame.

While you definitely shouldn’t…

   1. Wear sunglasses.

   2. Opt for a face-only close-up.

   3. Choose dark colours.

   4. Go for high colour saturation.

   5. Select a full body shot - head to floor

And you may want to try…

   1. A bright and bold background

   2. Introducing company branding

‘Motivated’ and ‘Creative? Yeah, you and 80% of LinkedIn

These two words should be avoided at all costs. They are the most overused on LinkedIn by a merry mile, according to LinkedIn itself (followed closely by ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘track record’).

  • Passionate 
  • Successful 
  • Driven 
  • Leadership 
  • Strategic 
  • Extensive experience


Edit your URL to make it interviewer friendly

Hmm. Not too user friendly.

Grab yourself a short, customised LinkedIn URL by clicking the light grey box that features below your name.

There. Much better.

Get found - add your industry.

Add your industry to your profile tag line. It’s a basic search rule, if you want to be discovered on LinkedIn.

Let’s talk headlines…

Whilst you should keep your name as your name (absolutely no “coding ninjas”, “developer warriors” or “C++ gurus”), you absolutely should get creative with your headline.


“Award-winning Java Developer who’s worked for some of the best and brightest start-up tech brands in the world”.

Experience. Update it.

“66% of companies will hire based on experience”


Make sure your experience section is on-point (short and succinct) and entirely up-to-date. This should be complemented with recommendations (ideally from every position you’ve held).

linkedin image 3

Create (and own) a voice within your industry

The best candidates don’t approach businesses. The most in-demand (and highly paid) candidates have businesses knock at their door and recruiters who go head-to-head over head hunting them.

How? Through being heard - through being respected for their original thinking - through content creation, is how.

This is somewhat of an unsaturated space to be in right now. Even the loudest and most powerful voices in the dev world are decidedly quiet on LinkedIn (we’re looking at you, John Resig, Jeff Atwood and Paul Irish).

No time to become the John Grisham of the IT world? Then be sure to engage with the content that interests you – comment, become part of the debate, add your own thoughts. All of this activity is shown on your profile – giving a deeper insight to employers checking your profile out.


Here it is. The secret sauce – an ingredient to your self-marketing mix that goes hand in hand with content creation – getting your InMails right.

InMail response rate is three times higher than a regular email

InMails (LinkedIn messages) are somewhat of science. Get it wrong, and you’ll be considered a spammer. Here’s our almost-unfailing four steps to InMails that get a foot through the door.

 1.Send your InMails between 9 – 10 am on a weekday

This time slot has been shown to be the most responsive, while those sent on a Saturday are 16% less likely to get a response.

2.Mention a shared former employer

Referencing a former common employer in your InMail increases your chances of getting a response by 27%

This tip is another tick in the box for common ground, and can signal to the interviewer what your experience, past positions and previous company cultures could bring to their current business.

 3.Reach out to current employees

Prospects are 46% more likely to accept InMails when they’re connected to your employees

Bolster your chances of having your InMail read and your connection accepted by researching current employees and connecting with them.

4.Research the groups they belong to, sign up, and participate


You’re 21% more likely to get a response to your InMail if the person shares a group with you


But you need to ensure that the group is genuinely a shared interest – and one that you can contribute to. A few likes and disingenuous comments (or, worse still, an outright incorrect comment) can achieve the exact opposite of what you’d hoped – being put on the ‘no way’ pile of CVs before you’ve so much as applied.

LinkedIn is probably the most underutilised and underappreciated tool for career progression. Developers seemingly underestimate or overlook it en mass. Which is great news for those that have tapped into the secret code that lies behind the perfect LinkedIn presence.

Ready to make leaps and bounds in your career? We’re ready when you are. Get in touch with the Softweb team – call us on +44 (0)117 4289400, or email us via:


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