You have credibility online when someone looks at your profile and thinks: this person knows their stuff!
Even when you’re an expert in your field, if people can’t see that from your online profile, they won’t reach out.
This guide will help you create a meaningful online presence and get better job opportunities, freelance clients, and a curious audience.
Why I wrote this guide
I’ve been working in tech since 2008, but until 2019 I didn’t even have a personal website. By then my public GitHub had a few tiny contributions, I had one article on Medium and gave two talks at local meetups.
It wasn’t until I started using Twitter in January 2019, that I started getting noticed and even invited to speak at conferences. That was totally unexpected. Apparently, an online presence made a huge difference! Eventually it played a big role in me going independent and working with some awesome companies.
In the last decade I’ve seen hundreds of resumes of devs from various backgrounds and experience levels. As someone screening incoming applications, you definitely pay more attention to profiles that stand out. This is because most resumes look very similar. I also regularly get questions from my mentees about getting the first job as a junior developer.
I hope these steps help you take your career to the next level 🙌
🪞 Step 1: Describe yourself - your TL;DR
Many describe themselves by their job - ‘xxx at YYY Co’. That is the easiest way to go, but it doesn’t describe YOU.
Instead, try to think of your goals and interests. Make a short bio using words such as enthusiast, building, learning, creating.
- 2D artist learning 3D
- UX enthusiast building iOS apps
Use this TL;DR everywhere where you need to enter your bio.
🗿 Step 2: Create a foundation
Own a domain with your full name or username, or as close to that as possible.
Host the simplest ‘business card’ website on your domain. You can add a blog, about page, etc later.
List all relevant links to your profiles. For example: LinkedIn, Twitter, Github, Medium, Dribble, etc. Don’t link to social accounts such as Instagram or Facebook, unless you post there about your work.
To build a simple website, you can use one of the builder services like carrd.co. These services usually charge a fee for custom domains though. The free option is to host a plain
index.html on GitHub Pages or Netlify. You can also use static site generators such as Jekyll.
Here’s how my website looked in the beginning:
It was handwritten HTML hosted on Github Pages. The current version is built on Jekyll and hosted on Netlify.
🖼 Step 3: Have a recognizable visual brand
Use the same avatar everywhere. Ideally, it should have a recognizable palette or be black & white.
Have the image file ready for upload. It’ll surprise you how often you’ll end up using it! To fit most platforms, the image should be square and looking good when circled.
Use the same, unique username on platforms where you want people to find you.
✍️ Step 4: Write articles
Articles are a good way to showcase that you’re knowledgeable in an area.
It doesn’t matter how often you write - even writing once a year is good.
If you’re just starting out and are unsure what to write about, here are some ideas:
- what you’re learning and your progress
- a problem you’ve encountered and how you solved it
For more experienced folks, you can have fewer, but longer & deeper articles. Even one in-depth article can show that you really know your stuff.
Don’t feel blocked by not having your own blog. Post wherever it’s easiest - it counts towards credibility either way, as long as you link to it.
If you write on Medium or dev.to, you can move posts to your own blog later, when you have one.
📝 Step 4.5: Submit articles to publications on Medium
Large publications take new contributors, especially from underrepresented groups.
If your article ends up getting featured, you’ll get extra credibility for free.
🕊 Step 5: Tweet about your trade
There’s one simple rule for Twitter: be helpful.
These formats provide good value:
- short summaries (of documentation, conference videos, technology launches)
- pro tips for tools popular in your industry
- did you know / nonobvious facts
- TIL (today I learned)
- unpopular opinion on the profession
Hot takes and rants don’t add any credibility if you have none so far. Use them with caution.
Most of your tweets likely won’t get traction, but some will.
And remember that number of followers != credibility, so don’t worry about it and continue posting.
You can use the same ideas for articles.
🐙 Step 6: Brush up your portfolios
If you’re a developer (and if you’re reading this, most likely you are!), make your github account look nice.
Add descriptions on all your repositories. For sample code, the description can be just ‘sample code showcasing xxx’.
Pin repositories with most stars or most contributions from you.
If you’re a designer, do the same with Dribble, Behance, etc.
🔎 Step 7: Google yourself
Search Google and DuckDuckGo by your username and by your full name. If there are many people with the same name, add occupation or location to the search query. That’s what people will do when they look you up.
Make sure the first 1–2 pages of results bring up professional links. You might have to hide or even delete accounts on old forums and other sites, if you don’t want them to show up in search results.
🤩 Step 8: Host a hype page
You are your best advocate. The hype page might be a simple About page on your site. It doesn’t have to have a fancy design. Use emoji to lighten up and break up the text.
If you don’t have a site, add these details to your LinkedIn profile.
Link to previous projects and companies.
Whenever you give a public presentation, a talk, a workshop - mention it on your hype page. Link to the slides, the recording, the sample code. Even if the event was very local and wasn’t recorded, slides are great for visibility and social proof. You can host slides on speakerdeck.com.
Link to any other appearances - if you gave an interview to a university newspaper, joined a podcast, etc.
And last, but not least - give it time.
Credibility compounds over time. Start with a foundation, and add small bits as you go along. Soon enough you end up with a complex online presence that is authentic.
The steps mentioned in this article worked well for me and they will work for you 💪 I’m very curious to hear how this helps you. Let me know!
If you’d like to take this even further, I offer personalized coaching to help take your career to the next level. Learn more about Career Coaching Packages.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the post 🙌
If you enjoy my writing, consider subscribing to iOS Code Review newsletter where I curate the best code improvement content from the community.
This post is licensed under CC BY NC SA 4.0 by the author.