There are now over 600 million people based all over the world registered on LinkedIn, making it an incredibly powerful resource for any career changer. It’s worth considering carefully how its various features can help you navigate the process of securing a successful transition.
In the first instance, it’s as a research tool that LinkedIn will support your efforts, to help you find out key information about the sectors you are interested in and also help you identify and contact people who might be able to offer personal insight and guidance.
Research your new industry
- You can ‘Follow’ organisations that interest you and then keep up to date with what they are doing by checking their regular updates on your homepage feed.
- It can be particularly useful to join discussion groups, a very effective way of gaining insight into specific sectors, help you understand the topical issues and trends, and of course, show your interest in and motivation for a particular sector or role.
- Review the profiles of people doing the kind of jobs you’re interested in and take note of their career trajectory to get a sense of the different routes that can lead to a given role and organisations where you can gain relevant experience. The Alumni section on LSE’s LinkedIn profile can be very useful to easily filter LSE Alumni by industry, employer, job role, location, studies and/or skills.
- One of the most useful things you can do is talk to someone who has first-hand experience of the industry you wish to move into.
- You can find LSE alumni on the LSE Alumni group or via LSE’s profile. Don’t be afraid to contact them directly – writing a personal note rather than leaving the default text – and ask if they would be willing to share insights on how they got their job, the skills needed to be successful, recommendations on how you might proceed with your search. Make clear you’d appreciate a discussion over the phone or to meet face-to-face, whatever works for them. Such conversations can open up new avenues to explore and make you aware of roles you would not otherwise have known about. They will also prepare you for future discussions with recruiters by helping you speak the language of a new sector, understand elements of your background that might be of interest that you had not appreciated before, and also understand what you can do concretely to fill any gaps in skills or experience.
- Don’t forget to also reach out to your current LinkedIn network of friends, family and colleagues to explain to them about the proposed transition and ask for their support. Prepare your pitch, and make sure everyone knows what you are looking for; you never know who they might be able to put you in touch with!
Update your profile
- It’s important that any potential employers looking at your profile see something there that resonates with your interest in their role. While your professional headline is usually your current job title and organisation, you can edit this to suggest greater relevance to the job you are hoping to move into: use keywords rather than a job title.
- Use the summary section to give a brief explanation of those elements of your experience that are most relevant, highlight the area you are hoping to move into, and what you enjoy doing most. Stress key transferable skills you know are sought in your future career area.
- Since you don’t have direct work experience in the sector you’re aiming for, think about how you can show your interest in other ways; through the companies you are following, the groups you are involved with, the sections you choose to include as part of your profile. Have you done any relevant volunteering? Have you been involved in individual projects which relate to this new sector? Can you highlight skills which you have identified as being relevant? Can you ask for recommendations that are pertinent to your new area of work?
- This also means of course that there is a greater chance of your profile cropping up in any search list!