updating these five aspects of your LinkedIn profile so that it supports your career change should be a priority:
1 - Rewrite the Headline for your new target industry and/or role
If you don’t customize the phrase that appears right below your name, it can default to your current title and company. That’s sufficient if you want to continue working in the same industry and role. However, if you aspire to change careers, you don’t want your old industry and/or role to be the first thing potential connections and employers see. (Your headline may be the only thing employers, recruiters and other potential connections see if you appear in search results, and people decide not to click since your headline isn’t relevant.)
For example, let’s say you are currently a marketing manager at a bank, but you want to do marketing for a media company. You could change your headline to include your marketing expertise overall – e.g., Marketing Manager | Partnerships | Direct Mail | E-commerce. This takes the focus away from banking, which isn’t relevant, and highlights your marketing expertise, which still fits.
2 - Highlight new activities in the About section
Similarly, when you summarize your background in the About section, open with the most relevant and substantive qualifications for your new field, even if your experience in previous industries or roles is lengthier. You want to catch the reader’s attention early, since they may not read everything, or even if they do, once they see you in the old industry or role, they won’t see you as a potential fit for something new.
For example, you might have 20 years of experience at the bank, but you could still open with your enthusiasm for the latest media trends. If you are working at all in your new industry (even if it’s a side consulting project or volunteer work), highlight that first. If you have certifications or are an active member of a relevant professional association, that can also legitimize your interest in the new field. If instead you open with a laundry list of your old experience, expertise and skills, by the time they get to the new stuff, they will see you as a newbie and therefore a hiring risk.
3 - Showcase your new expertise in your Activity
In addition to the About section, your Activity – e.g., posts you write, comments on other posts, videos or presentations you attach – can be tailored to the new career and showcase your expertise. Being active in your new field is also a good way to make and expand your network in that field. An insider may take note of your insights and make introductions for you to others.
For example, you could summarize insights from books or courses you are taking to learn about your new field. If you conduct informational interviews (and you should), you could highlight key takeaways from these meetings. You don’t need to produce content from scratch – you could follow executives in your target function or dream companies and comment on what they post.
4 - Include substantive consulting, part-time or volunteer work in Experience
The work experience you include in the Experience section doesn’t need to be paid or your primary job, as long as it’s substantive. Yes, you could also put volunteer work in the Volunteer section, but then it might be overlooked. Your goal is to catch the reader’s attention early before they have formed an opinion about you as being too deeply embedded in your old career.
This also includes how you organize the description about your current job — if some aspects of your job are more relevant to your new career than others, highlight these first. For example, a client of mine made a career change from financial services to education. It seems like a big pivot given she had decades in her original industry. However, in her last job, even though the bulk of it was financial, she also had some mentoring and training activities which she listed first.
5 – Speak to your new audience with relevant keywords
Whether it’s your headline, summary, activity, experience or other section, review what you include and how you describe it from the perspective of your new target field. Avoid jargon that only applies to niche areas. Generalize your skills so that multiple industries can see your value.
Visit www.rapidezwriter.com for more advice. Also check our expert services.
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