If you are a software developer looking for a job change, you might have already been advised to stay active on GitHub and increase your possibility of landing that job. Also, there might be chances of you not heeding that advice. Or even if you have a GitHub profile, do you keep it updated to catch the recruiter’s eye?
Today, more and more recruiters and hiring managers use GitHub to find out more about a candidate’s skills and interests. For instance, they may be looking for specific skills or projects similar to what their company is working at.
Thus, GitHub, in addition to your resume, can be a remarkable way to make an impression on a hiring person whose interest aligns closely with yours.
In this article we are sharing 7 ways on how you can improve and leverage your GitHub for job hunting:
1. Setup GitHub profile with essential features
Setting up a complete GitHub profile will give an impression that you are well organized and committed to coding.
Therefore, ensure your profile includes:
- A good and latest profile picture of yourself. It could be a professional or a casual style photo, but not too casual like you relaxing at a beach. Also, avoid using a symbol, cartoon or Magna instead of a photo.
- A GitHub status that will act as a call to action for the recruiters so they know that you’re open to jobs. If you are currently available for new opportunities, make sure you tick the “Available for hire” option
- A short bio with past and present employers, projects you have worked on, coding languages and frameworks that you are enjoying working on, or are currently learning, and preferred companies and technologies if any.
- Links to your other portfolios like CodePen, GitLab, a blog, etc.
2. Contribute to open-source projects
Working in open source projects showcases your collaborative skills and tells the hiring manager how well you work in teams.
However, if for some reason you can’t actively contribute to open source, then consider including snippets of software that you may have developed at your professional work. Include as many features as possible. Either make some tweaks to what you have developed or get permission from your manager to publish what you have created. But, whenever possible, consider contributing to open source projects.
A GitHub repository contains all the project's files and their revision history. Whether you are a fresher or an experienced GitHub user, you can utilize repositories to manage your project's work as well as share the ownership to discuss with others.
It is advisable to tidy up your pinned repositories so that they are easy and impressive to read for the viewer. Also, add a short description to each repository such that it piques the interest of the one going through them.
You might also consider reordering your repositories with a simple drag and drop to bring the most impactful project to the top of the list.
However, if you are a fresher wondering what to include in your GitHub repository, consider working on a few demos that demonstrate your understanding of computer science concepts. This can be as simple as bubble sort or a tree walker visualization, a college project you took or a simple proof of concept.
4. Well-written ReadMe file
A well written ReadMe file makes all the difference to your GitHub repository. It should cover the necessary points like how to build or install the code, the purpose of the code, its features, the technology stack used, a link to a demo of how to contribute to the project, etc.
Keep in mind that the recruiter will not have the time or patience to decode your code or traverse through your libraries; hence the description field is of utmost importance in repositories.
Demonstrate business acumen by articulating your role in the Git in one or two sentences that capture how you helped along with the project. Think of description as the headline, on which you’ll elaborate further in the Readme file.
Keep your language in the ReadMe file professional. For example, don’t write comments like ‘I build this code using X programming language because language Y sucks’. Even if you want to express your opinion about something, put it across professionally and in a positive way.
Moreover, showing a preference for one technology over the other might limit your chances in the job hunting arena. Every company has diverse projects with varied technology stacks, so it is inadvisable to scrutinize any specific coding language. You should rather evaluate technology with an open mind.
5. Display credibility (present deliberately for the targeted job)
As a software developer, your current work or desired profile must be inclined towards a specific programming language, framework, or technology stack. If you stay narrow in your focus, recruiters can easily find you when using GitHub to match granular skills.
For instance, if Python is your thing, display Python in abundance in your GitHub activity. If you have specialization in a particular domain or technology, you might be able to showcase that too through a variety of code in GitHub. For example, your contributions to specific open source projects, or a machine learning project, financial project etc, will give an idea to the recruiter on what type of relevant roles to approach you for.
6. Stay Consistent
Your account activity is one of the first things recruiters look at in your GitHub profile. Abide by the rule that consistency is the key to success and try to avoid any giveaways of a rookie. Posting regularly on your GitHub will show your commitment, professionalism, and consistency. Inconsistent and sporadic work habits won’t be appealing to the recruiter or the hiring managers.
Some programmers display unprofessional attitudes toward open-source projects. However, through GitHub activity, the recruiter wants to see someone who maintains sharp, clear, professional and courteous communications within teams.
7. Think as a recruiter would
Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager scanning through GitHub profiles of shortlisted candidates. What do you think the recruiter would be looking for? What will catch their attention? What questions could they possibly ask seeing the profile?
For example, they might notice unit tests with sufficient and reported code coverage, proper documentation and code comments.
Additionally, you can also use the search function to check suggestions on similar profiles. By doing this you will not only know your competition, but you will also put on your recruiter’s hat from the search perspective.
Every recruiter goes to length to shortlist the right candidates. And today, GitHub is gaining their attention by enabling them to dig into the details of the candidate’s experience, skills and interests. It’s not just the code that you display in your repository, but also your approach to coding that displays your credibility as a tech pro. Include GitHub status, manage repositories and ReadMe files.
Therefore, follow the points listed in the article and make your GitHub profile attract the recruiter’s attention.
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