I attended a Meetup last night, put on by Code Oregon Careers @ The Tech Academy here in Portland, that focused on empowering junior developers to improve their job search strategies by leveraging GitHub as a self-marketing tool. The event was led by Michael Allen, Outreach Director for The Tech Academy. He was extremely generous with his time and offered some really neat insights. For those of you unable to attend, here’s a brief recap of my notes.
GitHub Profile Info
Include a decent, professional picture of yourself smiling. If you’re reluctant to post a photo of yourself, know that a photo of your pet dog, Ollie, is better than the stock avatar that GitHub provides. It should be personalized at the very least.
- Add your full name, so it appears above your username. Nothing wrong with having a weird username (e.g. maxobaxo), but you should also have your real full name there as well.
- Include a location. This helps potential employers know you love in the same place where they’re hiring. If you’re about to move and look for a job in a new place, go ahead and list that soon-to-be-home place as your location.
- Add your LinkedIn URL, github gives you a spot to add one URL address.
GitHub allows you to feature up to 6 specific repositories on your profile page, and you should take advantage of that; here’s where I found Michael’s guidance really helpful and unique. Instead of using those 4-6 featured repo slots to highlight your best repos, create 4 new repos with README files that point the reader to specific projects for specific reasons. I’ll explain in a little bit more detail below, but feel free to check out Michael Allen’s GitHub profile as an example.
Create the following four repos that will contain only a README file. In each of those README files add descriptions of your work and links to respective project repos. The whole idea of these README files is to curate your content for potential employers — so make sure to document each project really well and make them easy to navigate (e.g. a link back to your main README in all project READMEs). You should basically structure each of these READMEs to include an objective (your target accomplishment), the steps you took to build it (overview of how you accomplished it… high-level, please), and the result.
- Projects in Progress
Portfolio: Here is where your README should discuss and link to all of your best work, personal and/or team projects you’ve done, hackathon work, volunteer work, etc.
In Progress: Here you can do the same as your portfolio but for works in Progress, it helps provide the caveat that these projects are far from perfect, but they reflect what you’re currently focused on.
Coursework: Now do the same thing, but for projects you’ve created in Bootcamp or online tutorials or whatever. The idea is it’s from an educational environment, to show you’re always learning.
GitHub.io: And again but these are specifically projects being displayed at your github.io. For more info on how to use this: GitHub Pages.
He gave us examples of other profiles to checkout that may not follow these guidelines to a tee, but will be helpful nonetheless: Sylvia Maguina / Jerry Wardlow