In my work helping job seekers land new opportunities, I often encounter job seekers who are hoping to make a complete change in career paths but not sure how. In an earlier blog post I shared one of the biggest challenges faced by career changers, as being not having the right mindset of believing they can indeed be a fit for a totally new type of career.
Mindset is HUGE when it comes to feeling confident about such a big transition but it’s not the only strategy to consider. Linkedin® is a great resource for career changers who have an idea of their next target move.
Here are 10 ways for career changers to leverage Linkedin® in the job search:
1. Include Target Keywords
Just because you don’t have the industry experience yet, doesn’t mean you don’t have the right profile or transferrable skills. If you’re ever going to be found or considered for your next move you’ll have to brand appropriately which means including the best target keywords in your profile. The Summary section is a great place to subtly slip in keywords that will help you be found by those searching people in your target industry. Add a paragraph of career interests that is keyword rich by simply writing: “Career Interests: Keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword phrase, keyword 3,” etc. Ultimately, you want to start molding yourself into your new target-self whether this means adapting your profile story to communicate a new you or gradually weaving in target industry lingo.
2. Volunteer in Target Industry and Add as Recent Experience
Your recent experience is of paramount importance because the reader or hiring manager wants to feel you are up on current trends and practices. If your current job is non-industry related, consider picking up a target industry volunteer role as well. Linkedin® allows you to have multiple current positions at once. By bumping your more relevant target industry volunteer role into your top position (even if it is unpaid), you are branding yourself as current in your target industry. This alone will speak volumes in the rebrand process.
3. Join Target Industry Groups
Networking is key in a career change and the best way to network on Linkedin® is by being in the groups relevant to your target. Linkedin® boasts hundreds of groups and allows you to join up to 50. It is recommended to join the max of 50 as it will give you the most exposure to all the people in your target industry. Wide reach where networking groups are concerned will definitely be your best move.
4. Organize Target Contacts
Sure you’re on Linkedin® and have a robust network but do you really know who can help you make this move? If you’re like most people, chances are you’re doing a whole lot of connecting with very little attention to who exactly, might be able to help. Linkedin® allows you to “tag” your connections as a way of staying organized. Go through your Connections 1 by 1, tagging everyone near or within your target industry. Then start to plan your strategic outreach even if it’s a series of “getting back in touch” messages.
To tag a contact:
- Go to your contact’s profile.
- Scroll down to just below their photo and click the “Relationship” tab.
- Click on “tag”
- You will be able to create a tag or check the appropriate tag box if one’s already been created.
5. Add Related Role/Industry Project
One of the best ways to demonstrate your capabilities, transferrable skills or target industry knowledge is by showing off your work. The proof is in the pudding, right? Add a relevant project or presentation to your profile to help enhance your new desired brand.
6. Apply Target-Specific SEO Strategy
Being found is only achieved if your SEO strategy is in tact. See some of my previous posts for all the SEO profile pointers but in particular be sure to add skills (using the Skills profile section) that are relevant to your target industry. These skills will help bump you up in results when someone is searching in target industry as well as contribute to your new brand when someone comes across your profile.
7. Share Target Industry Content
One of the best ways to stay top of mind with people who are in your target space, is content sharing. Every time you find an interesting article or produce content around your target industry, be sure to share it on your Linkedin® feed. By posting to your feed, you are letting your connections know what’s on your mind and you will start to be associated as someone who has interest, knowledge, passion or expertise around the content you’re posting. When you share via your feed you are also able to post to specific groups. This is a great way to expand your reach with the right contacts and people within your target space.
8. Connect with Strategic Industry Recruiters
Recruiter strategy should always be a part of any job search (even if you don’t particularly have a thing for recruiters). These are the people who know about opportunities before they hit job boards so you’ll definitely want to be on their radar when they come across a fit for your profile. Don’t connect to any and all recruiters but rather do advanced searches around specific industry recruiters and connect with every one you come across.
9. Research Your Alumni Groups for Target Industry Contacts to Engage
One of the best ways to connect with new contacts is by finding common ground. Alumni groups whether school or company alumni is common ground worth leveraging. Spend some times in all of your alumni groups identifying and tagging the best contacts. Then, reach out using your common ground as a point of introduction. If you’re in the same Linkedin group you can also message non-connections directly and privately without requiring an InMail or paid subscription.
10. Change Your Perspective
If you’re still feeling like you’re just not capable of reinventing your brand on Linkedin®, I’d tell you to adopt my father’s favorite saying and make it your mantra: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will start to change.” Mindset will still apply and you have to really believe you can become your target brand. So start to change the way you look at your profile and others will as well.
Was any of this advice helpful? If you’re a career changer who’s been struggling, leave me a comment on how you’ve used Linkedin® to overcome your job search challenges.