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How to optimize your Github to get more interviews at FAANG

Big Tech Recruiters only care about a few specific signals

tldr; A clean photo, 6 pinned repositories, and a very active commit history are critical.

In order to understand how to use your Github to land an interview at a Big Tech company, you need to understand who your audience is. Weirdly enough, you are not setting up your Github profile page for other developers, you are setting it up for Tech Recruiters. Tech Recruiters are not engineers and typically they don’t know how to dig through the details of Github. They end up on your Github and look at a few key factors before deciding to reach out and offer you an interview.

What I go over next are the key components of your GH and how you can clean them up to start getting more inbound from recruiters from startups to FANG.

Know your Audience: At startups and medium sized companies, the engineers and technical leadership tend to dig through your GH contributions! This advice is for those targeting big tech

The photo

You should have a clean, professional, high-quality profile photo. Do not have a photo of yourself at a college party or a picture of you looking disheveled. You don’t need to wear a suit or a dress, just a clean photo of yourself in casual clothing works just fine. An avatar representation is totally ok too!

Having an unprofessional photo tells the recruiter that you are unprofessional.

Your pinned repositories

You should have 6 pinned repositories, and those repositories should have stars on them. 6 repositories will make your profile look full. If your profile lacks 6 pinned repositories it will feel empty.

After you get 6 pinned repositories on your profile, you want to get stars on your projects. Having stars on your projects tells the Tech Recruiter that you are building things that other people actually find value in. Try to get to at least 10 stars per project.

My 6 pinned repositories:

https://cdn.substack.com/image/fetch/w_1456,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2Ffa4e71da-02f4-464c-b717-219387ffcd16_1794x890.png

How to get stars?

  • Ask your friends
  • Post on Reddit/hacker news/product hunt etc.
  • Comment below and I’ll star it myself!

The Profile ReadMe

Having a profile ReadMe is ok if it’s simple and to the point, but these aren’t needed. They can be a fun and creative way to stand out, but they can also get in the way.

If you choose to have one, try to keep it on the smaller side. Avoid writing your life story here. If you have a personal site this is a great place to link it.

Contributions

You should be contributing to any repository every day that you can! Having a big wall of green squares is a great way to catch a recruiter’s eye and tell them that you are very serious about your profession. If you don’t have activity here, it makes your profile look empty.

My Github activity when I was preparing for my Google interview in early 2017

https://cdn.substack.com/image/fetch/w_1456,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F47eea6bd-ce44-4f8f-9e63-de2d3ccb1fa6_1800x418.png

Conclusion

If you are trying to land more interviews you need to tailor your Github to Tech Recruiters, not other engineers. Tech Recruiters tend to be non-technical people and look for a few high-value signals to determine whether they should reach out or not: Profile photo, repositories + stars, and commit activity.

Now you know the tricks, get out there and trick out your Github!

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