Using GitHub to Support Your Job Hunt

Friday, November 5, 2021

Using GitHub for Job Searching

Using GitHub as a means of demonstrating suitability for a job role, is a topic that divides software developers. In our recent LinkedIn poll, 93% voted that plenty of good candidates have no public examples of their code.  

Despite this, there are undoubtedly situations where it is beneficial to maintain a GitHub that reflects the type of work you are looking for, to support your job search. It is especially critical for entry-level candidates due to their lack of professional experience. Hiring managers will want to see projects that showcase candidates' abilities. GitHub may also be important for experienced developers looking to transition to another specialty. If their current position doesn't demonstrate the skills they need for a new opportunity, GitHub is an excellent place to highlight projects related to the work they seek. Although, for more experienced developers, GitHub may not be as critical, posting high-quality projects makes great supplemental material that may give programmers an edge over other candidates.

Focus Your GitHub Content on the Job You Want

If you are actively job searching, it is critical to keep your GitHub updated with content focused on the type of work you are looking for. Likely, you are looking for work tied to a particular language or specific framework. If so, make sure your GitHub activity reflects that. For example, if you are filling out job applications for positions with experience in Python, make sure GitHub shows your work in that language. On the other hand, if you are more experienced and specialize in front-end development across multiple code types, let your GitHub show that.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

It seems obvious, but review your GitHub to ensure it reflects the way you wish to be seen by potential employers. Look carefully, and answer some questions:

  • Does the page show consistency in posting? When you are job searching, you will want to show a consistent pattern of posting. A regular practice of posting, as compared to sporadic work, will make an impression on hiring managers.
  • Does everything look professional? If job searching hasn't been on your mind in the past, it is possible that some of your communications on GitHub are less formal and maybe not 100% professional. How you work with others on GitHub may be seen as a reflection of how you will work with other members of a team.
  • Is everything accessible? Don't expect hiring managers to do a lot of work to understand what you are sharing. Be sure to fill in the Description field on every repository. In one or two sentences, explain your role and the features you added to the project. These should be expanded on in the Readme.

What Are Hiring Managers Looking For?

When you are ready to begin the job searching process, review your own GitHub through the eyes of a hiring manager. While you can't know for sure what they will be looking for, these are a few things that will most certainly be important. 

  • Functionality – This seems simple, but be sure that the code you share actually works as intended.
  • Performance – Not only should the code work, but it should also work well.
  • Readability – Even if your code works well, hiring managers will be looking for someone who can work as a part of a team. Readability is critical when working with others.

GitHub is certainly not the only way you will be evaluated for a job opportunity. However, especially for new programmers or those looking to jump into another specialisms, it may be the thing that sets you apart or convinces a hiring manager you are the right person for the job. So keep it updated, keep it relevant, keep it professional, and review it regularly to ensure it is the best reflection of your skills and abilities.

If you're looking for a new role, get in touch with one of our Software Engineering Talent Partners to discuss your career aspirations and how we can help to move your job search forward!