There is a talent shortage out there across many key industries such as biotech, finance, software development, and more. Employers are reevaluating their hiring and recruitment strategies as they struggle to fill critical roles necessary to innovate and remain competitive. Udacity builds curriculum specifically to address these talent needs, and to ensure that every one of our students is equipped with the vital skills necessary to assume these crucial positions. Companies are extremely eager to discover talented job-seekers, and one of our core objectives is to facilitate direct connections between our hiring partners and our emerging graduates.

Announcing Udacity Talent Source

With this goal in mind, we’re excited to announce the launch of a new product that will directly connect top employers with our studentsUdacity Talent Source.

This new Employer Sourcing Tool is a profile directory of Udacity Nanodegree program students, and employers who use it can access student portfolios, review projects, experience firsthand the skills and experience on display, and even create a search for candidates that meet certain specifications, like “someone who is willing to relocate to New York City, is proficient in Swift, and has built an iOS app.”

Udacity Student Profiles

Your new Udacity profile is a powerful representation of your accomplishments, and will be a great asset as you pursue your employment objectives. When you opt-in to our recruiting services, you make it possible for top employers—verified and vetted by Udacity—to directly contact you for interviews and about available positions.

Employer interest in this service is currently very high, so we’re upgrading it to accommodate a significant increase in the amount of hiring partners using it. Now is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with the new features, so that your profile is fully optimized when employers start accessing the service next week.

Optimizing Your Udacity Profile

The new features we’ve developed offer students the opportunity to add greater depth and complexity to their profiles, while also allowing for increased flexibility and more granular control.

As a Udacity student you will now be able to:

  • Augment your body of Udacity work by adding projects you’ve created independently
  • Add a link to your personal website
  • Upload your resume
  • Add project descriptions to ensure employers understand the full measure of your accomplishment
  • Focus on accentuating exemplary projects, and rotating in other projects on a case-by-case basis, depending on the roles you’re seeking (>Toggle beneath the title of a project)
  • Have more granular control over how you communicate employment preferences about important matters such as relocation, full-time versus part-time, visa needs, etc.

Plus, don’t forget to take advantage of the additional career services inside of your Nanodegree program. These projects—built into your Nanodegree Path—help you ensure your online presence (resume, LinkedIn and GitHub profiles) is recruiter-ready They also offer vital preparatory training for interviews.

6 Best Portfolio Practices

Below we outline a series of recommended best practices to follow when updating your profile. These are tailored to Udacity students in particular, but many of the principles and recommendations we discuss are relevant for all job-seekers, so even if you’re still considering whether to enroll in a Udacity Nanodegree program, we encourage you to read on, as there is much here to benefit anyone seeking ways to enhance their hireability!

1. With projects on your profile, favor quality over quantity

Recruiters will likely only review your general information, and one or two of your projects, so you have to make that first impression memorable: choose to highlight projects that are polished, well-documented, and which display your most advanced skills. You don’t have to keep every project in your profile—decide which ones are most relevant for your search.

When optimizing your projects, here are some key ideas to keep in mind:

  • As much as possible, make sure the project is able to be viewed or demoed without having to install anything (limit friction for the viewer). Make sure that each project has a unique image in the thumbnail that showcases key features of the project.
  • It’s a common occurrence that recruiters might be less technically literate than you, so make sure your project descriptions are accessible to a less technical audience.
  • If it’s a complex project, create screenshots with the different components of the product/project and walk the reader through a story about how it works. Consider hosting the explanation and screenshots or demo videos on a separate page and linking to that page from your profile.
  • Your projects come with default project descriptions for the assignment you created, but it’s important for you to customize the description of the project to reflect how you chose to implement your solution.
  • Testing out your profile on audiences with different levels of technical knowledge (friends, family, loved ones, a trusted advisor, etc.) can be a great way to make sure you’re achieving maximum clarity.
  • Pay attention to aesthetic details in your demo: even if the project is addressing a really interesting problem, if it’s not visually appealing, easy to understand, and polished, it might not catch the attention of a recruiter.
  • Think about even little things: are visualizations being cleaned up, do colors look good together, is text covering up key parts of the project, etc. The specifics will vary depending on the project.

2. Use the career projects in your Nanodegree program to optimize your resume, Linkedin and Github accounts

For recruiters and hiring managers, your online presence is their first impression of you, so make sure all your accounts are optimized to the highest standard. Here are some great resources that will help you with this process:

    1. Resume: http://blog.udacity.com/2015/02/7-tips-need-to-know-write-stellar-resume.html
    2. Linkedin: http://blog.udacity.com/2015/02/3-goals-for-your-linkedin-profile-to-achieve.html
    3. Github: http://blog.udacity.com/2015/06/become-github-pro.html

3. Tell your story

Your story is your best asset! Expressing your personality in a professional way is how you’ll successfully differentiate yourself from other candidates.

As an example, If you are a Code Reviewer or Team Lead on Udacity, explain how that’s helped you develop your skills or perhaps helped you realize your passion for service.

4. Consider location

Willing to relocate? Consider focusing on areas where our hiring managers are currently clustered. We make this easy to do by featuring high-density locations. Opt-in to these relocation cities when you can, because hiring managers prioritize candidates that are local or willing to move.

If you are not living in these locations or cannot relocate, don’t worry: many employers are open to employees working remotely, so make sure you specify the type of employment situation you are pursuing, and then convey that to employers in the “Type of work” and “Relocation” questions. Over time, we’ll be adding more cities for relocation, so stay tuned!

5. Customize your skills

We pull a set of skills in automatically from the projects you’ve completed on Udacity. But, you can—and should—add any additional skills you have to offer. Employers are constantly looking for blends of skills, like a Data Analyst with experience designing beautiful visualizations.

6. Make yourself visible to recruiters 

There’s one last decision to make: Are you ready to be contacted by recruiters? If you’re ready to field inquiries from recruiters now, then select to opt in for “recruiter access” and get ready to start building some relationships!

As employers start to reach out to you directly, interviews are soon to follow, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of the interview services we provide. Proper preparation is the best way to ensure you perform your best during interviews. You can find out more about these services here.

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Questions? Feedback? Feel free to reach out: <career-support@udacity.com>

Are you an employer looking to sign up to hire Udacity grads? Click here.

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Author’s note:
I’m Ana! I joined Udacity’s staff recently with the goal of helping connect Nanodegree program students and grads with job opportunities at partner companies. A critical part of my time has involved talking to many students to understand what Udacity students want out of potential employers. It’s been an amazing experience to get to know you and your stories and I’m excited to play any part I can to help you get to the next stage in your careers.