LinkedIn for Career Changers

I have worked with quite a few people to develop and optimize their LinkedIn profiles, and one of the questions that I often get is “how do I make this suitable for a new career?” Lots of clients come in concerned that, because they’re trying to move to a new position outside their comfort zone, they won’t be able to use LinkedIn to find new opportunities. I am here to tell you, today, that this simply is not true. You can use LinkedIn to find new opportunities regardless of where you are in your career process; you just need to know the right techniques for you! Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for career changers using LinkedIn:

  1. Know your future career. Making a successful career transition means that you know which career you want to transfer into. So before you go running headlong to LinkedIn to look for your next job, do a little research. What skills do you need in this new career? How many years of experience? How much education? If you’re uncertain how to perform this research, Career Solutions Group can help teach you how and even do some of it for you! Knowing what backgrounds and keywords are associated with your future career will help you create a profile tailored towards that path. Speaking of which….
  2. Modify your headline. Once you know what the title of your goal position is, modify your headline to the title of that position. This might seem a little awkward at first, but it can have a huge payoff! LinkedIn’s search algorithm looks for keywords in a profile, meaning that if you want to get found for civil engineering, you’d better list yourself as a “Civil Engineer”. Nervous about coworkers noticing these changes? Simply switch off the notification button (it’s on the right) to prevent them from getting notified on their own profiles.
  3. Keep industry and location in mind. LinkedIn lists location and industry in the header of the profile, and modifying these two things can drastically improve your chances of being found. Listing the industry in which you want to work will help you turn up more often in searches. Similarly, if you are willing to move and the bulk of jobs in your position of interest are located in a different city or state, consider listing that zip code as your current location to be found more often for positions in that area.
  4. Leverage your transferable skills. This goes back to the research you did for your new target position. When looking at what skills are required for your new career, did you see any that you already have from previous jobs? Things like “superior communication skills” and “ability to collaborate with others” are pretty common in job listings, and chances are you have some skill similarities between your current role and your target position. Once you’ve identified these key phrases, use them to modify the descriptions of your previous positions in your LinkedIn “Experience” section. Don’t forget to use active verbs for an extra punch!
  5. Use the mobility of sections. LinkedIn has the benefit of not being a resume, and offers users lots of different sections to fully customize their profile. I have worked with a number of career changers on their LinkedIn profiles, and whenever their previous job experience doesn’t fit their career goals, I immediately look at the other sections with them. Do you want to become a project manager, but have spent the past ten years as an administrative assistant? Well then, besides transferrable skills, do you have volunteer experience or projects that might fit with this goal? What other things do you do that can be included in the LinkedIn profile? Having multiple sections shows depth as well as breadth, and can certainly help if you’re making a career transition.

If you want even more tips on how to use LinkedIn for the best results in your job search, email us at or call to set up your free initial consultation today! We have helped hundreds of job seekers make fulfilling career transitions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group