7 tips how to improve your GitHub profile to find a job in IT

Did you know that anything you do online leaves a personalised digital footprint? This is a unique trail of data created while using the internet and employers are actively looking at it to find proof of your professional skills. Our research of over 50,0000 candidates indicates that IT professionals can do so much more to improve theirs, starting with GitHub.

If you are seeking a role as a developer you should be maximising your GitHub account. GitHub is a code hosting platform for version control and collaboration, letting you and others work together on projects from anywhere.

We have created a list of 7 practical tips on how to improve your chances of employment or new contract:

1. Make sure your profile has following

  • Profile picture
  • Your status. You may want to include a call to action if you’re open to jobs
  • Bio – past and present employers, projects you have worked on, or languages and frameworks you enjoy using, or are currently learning. Include the type of company or kind of projects you would be interested in the future
  • General information and links to your portfolio, Github, GitLab, CodePen, or blog

Bonus tip 1: Untick “Keep my email address private” in the email settings of your account so people can easily contact you.

Bonus tip 2: Tick “Available for hire” if you’re looking for jobs.

2. Repositories

It is worth spending some time tidying up your pinned repositories so that they make the best possible impression on a viewer. You can change the position they appear in by dragging and dropping them. When you click into each repository, you can add a short description that will be visible on your profile, so you want to add something that tells them a little about the project and piques their interest.

3. Contribute to open source projects

It is a clear indication that you are involved in collaborating with others on open source software. Regular contributions are a good way for hiring managers to assess how well you work in teams.

4. ReadMe profile

A well written ReadMe is one of the most important parts of a good repository. The reading is necessary for others because it tells people:

  • What the code is for
  • How to build / install the code
  • How to contribute

5. Contribution chart

This is one of the first things a recruiter looks at. The heat map with activity gives a representation if you are passionate about coding. People who love to code have steady patterns that correlates with their success in the workplace.

Contribution chart from Github
Contribution chart on Github

5. Contribution activity

Commit messages are essential for communicating why your code was changed. It displays your communication and documentation skills. Be clear, specific and demonstrate how you added value.

6. Make your GitHub content accessible

Typically, GitHub isn’t the first place decision-makers look to fill roles in programming. Rather, it’s a handy tool for fine-matching skills and verifying that a candidate possesses them. If you’re using GitHub for advancement, you will want to present your projects and account activity in a way that’s clear and accessible. Don’t expect anyone to decode your code or read through your libraries. Instead, make sure that every repository you work on has the Description field filled in. Here (and in the Readme file) you want to talk about the features you wrote into the project. Demonstrate business acumen by articulating your role in the Git in one or two sentences that capture how you helped along the project. Think of Description as the headline, on which you’ll elaborate further in the ReadMe.

7. Present deliberately for the job you want

Usually your desired work is tied to a specific language or framework preference. If JavaScript is your thing, stick to JS with your GitHub activity. A more experienced programmer might be able to show specialisation in server-side or front-end development work across several types of code. Since recruiters look to match granular skills with GitHub, you’ll get the most mileage when you stay narrow in your focus.

Bonus tip: The types of projects you choose relate to the type of work you’re willing to take. If your profile has a good representation of open-source projects, it gives a sense that you’d might work for a non-profit or public sector agency.

1.6. Make yourself look as credible as you actually are

Basically, this means avoiding the giveaways of a rookie. First and foremost, make sure your page shows a pattern of habitual posting. Anything that suggests sporadic or inconsistent work habits is not a good look. Keep in mind that your account activity is one of the first things people see on your account.

Believe it or not, some programmers carry bad attitudes into open source projects. Makes sure your communications are always clear, professional, and courteous. Team-mindedness is something recruiters want to see.

1.7. Use the search function to check on similar candidates

The purpose here is twofold. In doing so, you’re researching the competition, and putting yourself in the shoes of the decision-maker from the search perspective. Giving your profile a little SEO love helps with on-site recruitment–which is not the primary use for GitHub in this context, but as the platform evolves into ubiquity, happens more often in the earlier stages of the game. A simple exercise like putting yourself in the shoes of a hirer scanning profiles will only benefit your overall look on the platform.

Download our full guidebook for IT professionals on how to optimise your Digital Footprint here.

Here at PitchMe we use data from your Github account, a number of other sources and more to build you a real-time snap of your skills, what we call a SmartMe profile. We’ll then present your profile anonymously to employers, including only relevant information about experience and skills to match you with a job suitable for your skillset.

Sign up now and build your SmartMe profile in minutes.

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