The New Grad’s Guide to Resume-Crafting and Job Hunting

Congratulations on completing your IT degree, whether it’s undergrad or advanced! It can be both exciting and challenging to land your first job in the field.

Here’s some advice to help you as you launch your job search:

Tailor Your Resume:

“But I don’t have any work experience – what do I even list on a resume?” To help fill out your resume, add details like:

  • Relevant classwork and / or projects
  • Link your Github to show off code samples and passion projects you’re currently working on.
  • If you tutored or volunteered, add relevant details (ie. “tutored 9 freshmen in Advanced Calculus, helping them improve their grades by 30%”)
  • Did you have a side business or work a job while in school? List it/them, adding detail: Instead of “walked neighbors’ dogs”, say something like: “provided daily and weekly dog-walking services, earning seven 5-star reviews from clients”
  • Provide details on extracurricular activities (ie. “soccer captain, 2023-2024”. List any awards you received).
  • List your relevant soft and hard skills (“fast learner”, “collaborator”, “analytical” “team-oriented” “detail-oriented”, etc.)
  • Instead of saying “good grades”, use your GPA + any academic awards (ie. “Dean’s list 2023-24”)
  • If you’ve got a portfolio of development work (GitHub is very common as a repository), link to it in your resume.
  • If you’ve completed online certifications, don’t just list them – add detail like “completed 120 hours of data analytics training through Google certificates”

    Customize your resume for each job to which you apply. Highlight your technical skills, any internships, projects, or coursework relevant to the position. Use keywords from the job description to pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Build a Strong Online Presence:

Create a professional LinkedIn profile. Use a good current head shot (with no other people in it). Use a banner image that says something about you (Pixabay and Pexels both have lots of royalty-free images you can download).

Using your newly-crafted resume, complete your profile, showcasing your education, skills, and any relevant projects or internships.

Connect with professionals in the IT industry, join relevant groups, and engage using content. If you solved a problem, overcame a difficulty in your technical education, or have a compelling (short) story, post it. People like to learn from others’ experiences and it will help elevate your presence when you post regularly.

Keep Adding to Your Portfolio:

  • Showcase your skills and projects in a portfolio (Github is popular). Include code samples, project descriptions, and any contributions you made during internships or group projects. A portfolio provides tangible evidence of your abilities.

Network Actively:

  • Attend industry events, conferences, and meetups. Networking can open doors to opportunities and provide insights into the IT job market. Don’t be afraid to reach out to technology professionals for informational interviews or casual coffee meetings to learn about their paths. Remember to invite your new friends to connect on LinkedIn.

    Get to know other technology professionals via meetups, hackathons, and alumni groups.

    Ask mentors, family members, professors/teachers, and recruiters who work with internships for help. Let them know you’re looking for an entry-level job or internship. Which leads to my next suggestion: 

Apply for Internships and Entry-Level Positions:

  • Look for and apply to entry-level positions to gain practical experience. These roles can serve as stepping stones to more advanced positions and help you build a professional network.

Continue Learning via Certifications:

  • Depending on your chosen IT specialization, continue working toward relevant certifications. These can validate your skills and make your resume stand out to employers.

Practice Interviewing:

  • Practice common technical and behavioral interview questions. Use resources like mock interviews, online coding platforms, or interview preparation tools to build your confidence and refine your responses. If you have LinkedIn Premium, take advantage of its interviewing resources.

Show Enthusiasm and Passion:

  • During interviews and in your application materials, show your genuine enthusiasm for the IT field. Share examples of how you’ve applied your skills or overcome challenges in your academic or personal projects.

    Keep working on passion projects – this is a big differentiator in the marketplace, and helps keep your coding skills sharp.

Utilize Your School’s Career Services:

  • Take advantage of your university’s career services. They can provide guidance on resume building, job searching, and even connect you with potential employers. Don’t be shy about finding your school’s alumni on LinkedIn and reaching out to those who are farther along in their technology careers.

Be Patient and Persistent:

  • Landing your first job may take time, so be patient and stay persistent. Keep refining your approach based on feedback, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks.

It’s important to remember that a job search is a journey. Each step contributes to your growth and development. You’ll meet people along the way that can become lifelong friends.

Stay positive, continue learning, and be proactive in seeking opportunities. Good luck!

Using my recruiting experience, I help technology leaders better-define their professional brand and navigate their job search. Want to know more about my signature Professional Branding Package? Click here.

Not sure yet, or you’ve got questions?  Use this link to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro call.

Writing prompts for Tech Leaders | Creating Value, Visibility, and Authority on LinkedIn

Everyone likes a good story, whether it’s about a personal adventure, a crisis averted, or a how-to article. Well-written articles not only entertain, but they offer ideas and insights for others to learn from.

My favorite LinkedIn posts happen to be just such articles: short, engaging, real-world bursts of information that offer a new perspective, a glimpse of someone else’s world. Call me a tiny bit voyeuristic, but if the success of reality TV is any indication, I’m not alone.

For tech leaders who want to become more visible on LinkedIn but who are stumped about where to begin, here are some writing prompts.


Begin with your specific area of expertise. Is it software development leadership? Corporate technology and systems? Connecting a global technology organization infrastructure? Defending an organization’s perimeter? Keep to this playing field, for consistency’s sake.

Think of a specific episode within this playing field. Without breaking confidentiality, tell your story.

If you’re not used to writing, it will feel sludgy at first. Use ChatGPT or another AI tool to get started, then customize to make it your own.

Here are some writing prompts:

  • How we transformed our technology organization from waterfall to Agile.
  • How we built a pipeline of new grads into a pool of promotable engineers.
  • How we went about choosing (pick one) a particular provider, platform technology, etc.
  • Lessons learned in implementing xyz.
  • How we groom top individual contributors for leadership roles.
  • How we partnered with Talent Acquisition to ramp up our hiring (and get the right candidates)
  • How we learned to communicate effectively with our business partners.
  • What it’s like to lead a team of engineers in a (name your space) environment: pros/cons/what works well.
  • We learned from our mistakes in choosing the wrong (insert language, ERP system, tool, unnamed vendor here)

You get the picture. And I bet you have lots more.

Here are some guidelines:

Keep it fairly high level (i.e. not too long or detailed). It should contain some color (it’s okay to share missteps), and offer some insights.

Keep it relevant to the qualities of your own professional brand. You should highlight your domain of knowledge, industry, leadership style and/or values.

What you’ll find is that by telling (and humanizing) stories, connecting with others will become easier. When you write and post regularly, it gets easier. We get to know you a little. You also become more visible, and who knows where that will lead: speaking engagements? Collaboration? A new role?

When I started writing blog posts and posting on LinkedIn, it was terrifying. I felt like I was onstage, no clothes. Out there for the world to see (and make fun of). In hindsight, it’s pretty funny. It gets easier, so I’m glad I kept going. We all have stories and insights  – why not share yours with us (and reap some benefits in the process)?


Using my recruiting experience, I help technology leaders better-define their professional brand and navigate their job search. Want to know more about my signature Professional Branding Package? Click here.

Not sure yet, or you’ve got questions?  Use this link to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro call.


Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All rights reserved.

How to DIY Your Professional Brand | Part 2 of 2

If you followed the action steps in Part 1 of this series, you’ll have reviewed and prioritized your accomplishments, taken a look at how others view you and your skills, and made notes on what you like to do. This is the foundation of crafting your professional brand.

This self-awareness functions like a roadmap. It’ll help you better describe yourself, and more fluidly answer questions about your expertise and preferences (get used to talking about yourself – it’s not bragging!). It will give a framework against which to measure potential jobs, and it will help others grasp your unique combination of skills, personality, and experience.

Let’s continue! All you really need is one crisp sentence, each world carefully selected. Having this juicy line in your back pocket will arm you for any situation, whether it’s professional (as in interview), or informal (Little League game or happy hour). Imagine the relief you’ll feel!

There’s a formula for this snappy mini-manifesto, thanks to copywriting genius, Nikki Elledge Brown. Here it is:

“ I help *audience* + “benefit* + *feature*. ”

Simple, yes? You define your audience (ideal job / company), tell them the benefit they get by hiring you, and finish with a feature offering a soundbite of how you’ll help them get that benefit.

Naturally, your professional brand will evolve over time. But this little powerhouse will work great to get you started. Which would you rather hear: a well-crafted, authentic brand statement? Or the standard, “I’m a VP at XYZ Bank”? I know which one I’d pick..

Grab a notepad and let’s dive in:

1. Who’s your audience (the WHO)?

List the kinds of companies you’d most like to work with. For me, it would be startups or early stage, growing companies, mature companies that are retooling, tech companies, entrepreneurial and innovative companies.
What are yours? In your notes, write down your potential employer or customer.

2. What benefit do you bring (the WHY)?

Why do people love working with you? What special sauce do you bring? Unparalleled uptime? Elegant code? Someone who can drop in anywhere and turn a project around?

Be accurate, clear, and juicy. Aspirational, even. This should be something that prospective employers would drool over. In your notes, list the big, headlining benefits companies get when they work with you. Be sure to use language they can identify with and get excited about.

3. What feature do you bring (the HOW)?

How do you actually achieve those results? By elegantly using the array of skills you’ve gathered? By combining your entrepreneurial experience with TONS of customer-facing problem solving? By teaching them to be smarter about their product management strategy?

It’s super important to be clear here. There are many ways to achieve these delicious goals. The ‘feature’ section tells us how YOU do it.

In your notes, make a list of what you do to achieve these benefits. Focus on what sets you apart from others who offer a similar benefit.

4. Put it all together

From your three lists, start piecing phrases together. See what you like, what resonates. Say it out loud, imagining yourself using it at a job interview or a happy hour. 

Does it make sense?
Do you feel comfortable using it?
Does it look good in writing? Is it too long, too short, too blah?
Adjust, edit, trim, swap out words or phrases until you have something that feels authentic.

6. Celebrate!
You’ve just given yourself a huge gift – a clear, authentic and memorable mini-elevator pitch! From here on out, you have a multitool to help you in social or professional settings, in job searches, in going for that promotion and in interviews. 

With your shiny new professional brand statement, you’ll now be guided as you craft a more-meaningful resume and LinkedIn profile. You have a launchpad for that uncomfortable question, “tell me about yourself” that you can use anywhere. Well done!



Still feeling like you need a trusted guide? I help technology leaders define and articulate their value, creating ease as they seek opportunities for professional advancement.

Want to talk first? Use this link to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro call.

Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All Rights Reserved.

6 Great Reasons for Having a Professional Brand

A common problem of mid-career tech leaders (10+ years in) is, “how do I fit all my experience on a few pages?” There is a tendency to put EVERYTHING into their resume and by default, their LinkedIn profile. From a recruiter’s perspective, this leads to confusion about what the person is actually best at, not to mention what they really like doing.

Here’s an example from my own career: for several years while at Robert Half International. I led a team of recruiters. I was good at it and our team was in the top 10% of the company for two years in a row. But I really, really did not enjoy the work. I’ve been a leader in many jobs, but I’m not the least bit interested in doing it ever again. So I downplay it or even leave it off altogether.

A professional brand is created by getting very clear about your professional strengths, your key contributions, and what you like doing.

Knowing what kinds of environments you thrive in, what leadership style fosters your best work, and what kind of work/life balance you need for peak productivity is important. Also – a well-defined professional brand is alive and evolving – what you like today might not make the cut later.

Here are six great reasons for creating your professional brand:

1. A clear professional brand helps you decide which qualities and experiences you’ll highlight on your resume and LinkedIn profile. You’ll be able to articulate accomplishments and weave in those experiences – both personal and professional – that make you stand out.

2. A clear professional brand makes job hunting much easier. It gives guidance as you review new roles. When looking for a new position, this clarity will help you vet opportunities.  If you know you work best in an entrepreneurial setting, you may choose not to work for a change-averse, highly bureaucratic company. 

3. A clear professional brand makes interviewing easier. It provides a framework for interviewing.  It offers coherence. With the clarity that comes from introspection, your confidence will also improve.

4. A clear professional brand helps your audience (hiring managers, prospective clients and decision-makers) better-understand the value you bring. You stand out, because you’ve taken time to self-reflect.

5. A clear professional brand makes networking easier. Once you’ve defined your professional brand, the pressure is off when people ask, “So….what do you do?” or “What kind of job are you looking for?” It’s a mini-elevator pitch, a sound bite that gives instant context. 

6. A clear professional brand can benefit your digital presence. When you take the time to honestly evaluate your skills, your preferences, and your perspectives, you’ll direct your social media posts and articles accordingly – what values do you hold dear? What lessons will you talk about?

You don’t need a logo or a mission statement to have a clear professional brand. What you DO need is self-knowledge and the ability to articulate what you bring to the marketplace, whether it’s  a new job, a promotion in your current company, or as a speaker in your industry.

A professional brand offers clarity. And your clarity will be a huge asset.

I work 1:1 with technology leaders who need help better-defining their professional brand.
Want to see if we’re a fit? 
Use this link to schedule a 15-minute no-strings FREE intro call!



Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All Rights Reserved.