3 Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for a Job in Tech with Mike Rapp

Feb 28, 2024
Jessica Grande

At Nashville Software School, we provide our students and graduates who are still on the search for their first job in tech with opportunities to dive deeper and continue their education while on the job hunt. These graduates are referred to as Seekers. 

At Nashville Software School (NSS), students are equipped with many different skills to tackle a job search after graduation, including best practices and pointers from our team of Career Development specialists who work with them to fine tune their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Even with our team at NSS to help support the students in their preparation for a job search, it can be hard to remember all the important tips they learn during their time in bootcamp after graduation. That’s why we’re thankful for community members like Mike Rapp, who volunteer their time to come and speak to our Seekers group about the helpful tips, reminders and insights to using tools available to them during their job search! 

Mike’s career in design spans various industries, from games and insurance to banking and healthcare. Currently serving as the design lead for Walmart Health, he has left his mark on the tech and healthcare sectors. With roles at HCA Healthcare and Verily, part of Google Health, Mike brings a wealth of experience and entrepreneurial spirit, having run his own agency for a decade. Recently, he shared insights on securing a job in tech, emphasizing the pivotal role of platforms like LinkedIn, and now we’re sharing them with you so you can apply these tips to your own job search! 

Connect with Recruiters

Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool for recruiters. 

Mike stated that keeping the 'Open to Work' status active signals to recruiters that you are open to opportunities, attracting recruiters actively seeking potential candidates. "Half of my connections are recruiters, but I don't even know [them,] never met them, don't know who they are. I just connect to recruiters whenever they contact me or whenever they find me. I don't care who they work for. I don't care how long they've been a recruiter. I just connect with recruiters and see what happens.” 

Always, always, always invite [and] accept invitations and ask to be connected to people who are recruiting. 100% of recruiters will say, yes.” - Mike Rapp

He stresses the strategic nature of networking, laying the foundation for fruitful professional relationships by adopting a fearless approach through connections on LinkedIn. ”[Networking] works. Also…have fun,” he encourages the Seekers at NSS. “Want to work for Disney? Go to Disney on LinkedIn, look for the people [who work at Disney on] LinkedIn, look for the engineers, look for the recruiters, and just ask if they can connect.” 

Regularly logging into LinkedIn and actively seeking new connections is essential for visibility with recruiters. Mike says that anyone on a job search can make 100 of these types of connections on LinkedIn in a very short period of time and  will have built a pretty good list of connections. “What happens is all of these things behind the scenes work together in their algorithm to highlight you on [the recruiter’s side of LinkedIn],” he shares. “You keep moving up and moving up and moving up on their ranking without having done anything other than just click buttons.” 

Optimizing the Skills Section on Your LinkedIn Profile

"Actively adding and updating skills enhances visibility, contributing to effective profile optimization." Drawing parallels between the skills section and search engine optimization (SEO), Mike explains the importance of accurate information on a LinkedIn profile and resume alike. "These skills are how the algorithm searches through all of the available candidates that are on LinkedIn and starts to stack rank them in order of possible match." According to Mike, the more skills listed, the better your chances of standing out in recruiter searches.

Skills are a key factor for recruiters in reaching out to candidates, stating that specific skills can prompt recruiters to reach out with relevant job opportunities. Tailoring skills to match job opportunities is a "strategic move for attracting recruiters." Stressing the importance of keeping skills updated, Mike affirms, "Regular updates ensure your profile remains relevant and aligned with industry trends."

"If you have skills in PowerPoint, add that as a skill. If you know Angular, add that as a skill. If you know some application that runs Angular, add that as a skill,” he explains. “Keep adding your skills, all of those things move you up in the stack ranking."

When discussing job postings on LinkedIn, Mike points out that "LinkedIn provides insights into how well your listed skills match job requirements." This, he suggests, guides individuals on areas to improve or skills to acquire for better job prospects. Skill gaps are opportunities for learning and improvement and can be used as a roadmap for personal and professional development. 

Optimizing Your Resume for LinkedIn

Uploading your resume to LinkedIn can also act as an important source of metadata for recruiter algorithms. "I've always put a sidebar [where I list my skills] on my CV or resume and it always works. " A list of skills can also be helpful when applying through an applicant tracking system. Acknowledging the balance between personal preferences and effective SEO (search engine optimization), Mike shared that finding this equilibrium ensures that "your profile stands out to both recruiters and algorithms."

Your resume is an opportunity to showcase your expertise. “This is where you can be pretty extensive if you just work at it and give yourself a little bit of credibility for what you know," he explains. However, when it comes to accomplishments on your resume, Mike says the shorter, the better. “You'll notice that descriptions are really short and to the point and use action words. Shorter is better than longer,” given the time recruiters typically have to look over resumes individually. He stresses the importance of making your resume “scannable” for recruiters to quickly get the information they need. 

Mike also suggests adding visual elements, such as company logos as icons next to job entries and other icons can make your profile visually appealing and help it stand out. When it comes to Resume / CV design, Mike encourages developers to find a “UX buddy” to assist with this. “As an engineer, it can be really hard to make your stuff look sexy [and] fun,” Mike laughs. “It's super helpful to find a UX person [that can help] make your stuff look good, especially when you're in a pitch for a job. Find a UX buddy.”

By following these LinkedIn strategies, Mike Rapp has established a network of recruiters which allows him to stay informed about job opportunities and industry developments. Incorporating these tips could position your LinkedIn profile as a useful tool for attracting recruiters and matching job opportunities during your job search in tech. Thanks, Mike, for these helpful tips on optimizing Linkedin for a job search in tech! 

If you’ve got a topic that you believe would be helpful to our Seekers at NSS and would like to take the time to invest in our graduates, visit our website to learn about all of our volunteer opportunities at NSS! 

Topics: Learning, Analytics + Data Science, Web Development