By Andy O’Hearn
Turn off your activity broadcasts, limit who sees your activity feed and more by clicking your name on top right –> “Settings” –> Privacy.
Change which joined groups are visible on your profile page by going to Settings –> Groups –> “Groups Order and Display” –> Member Setting. Have a LinkedIn-connected friend verify that these settings have worked, and that joining a group does not prompt an activity notification email.
Next, you can either:
a) Build up your LinkedIn profile so it resembles the resume you’re shopping around—focus on your general skills, decrease your industry-specific experience, showcase all of the new-career-specific groups you’ve joined; or
b) Just have the companies and years listed, and hide some of the industry-specific groups that you’ve joined.
The following seven suggested steps can help guide you through this delicate balancing act:
1) Become an expert on the career you want to pursue.
This will help you discover organizations that might be hiring. Use LinkedIn Today’s personalized news dashboard to keep informed on all the news in the industry you want to pursue—or LinkedIn Signal (search for specific keywords, topics or products to find the hottest trending topics in your desired industry).
2) Optimize your LinkedIn profile for your new career.
Your headline can say something like, “Experienced corporate executive seeking position in ____ management.” If your job hunt is not public, try a general headline such as “ Experienced ___ and _____ executive.” Write a very strong Summary statement; don’t force the reader to guess your new direction. Focus on explaining your “transferable skills;” i.e. people management, technical training, sales, communication, negotiation, leadership, creativity, organization, and general administrative skills. Ask a few people who have a background in this field to offer any additional tips.
3) Join LinkedIn groups related to your desired career.
If you are job hunting secretly, you can adjust your profile settings so these group memberships do not appear. Give the impression that the majority of your networking is now taking place in the field you want to enter. Look at profiles of people you admire in your desired career and see what groups they belong to. Observe group discussions for a while, and then join in.
4) Alert your network to your career change plans.
Reach out individually (i.e. customizing each message) to everyone you already know to explain your desired transition and ask directly for their support. Be very specific about what you’re looking for; ask to set up a phone call or coffee; and be sure to return the favor.
5) Talk to anyone who works or has worked in the field you want to join.
Ask your existing contacts if they know anyone in your desired field who they would be willing to introduce you to. Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to research people in your desired industry with whom you have something in common. Reach out through LinkedIn connection requests or InMail (if you have a premium account) to request a brief, informal discussion. You are looking for A.I.R. (advice, insights/information, referrals/recommendations); insider tips, must-read publications and what jobs in their field are most realistic for people to transition into. Thank people for their time.
6) Sign up for LinkedIn job alerts for listings in your desired career field.
When applying for a job in a new profession, provide a detailed cover letter that maps your experience to the job requirements.
7) Make real-world changes.
You may find that you need to build additional skills and experience to successfully transition to the new position you are seeking. If so, start to build new experiences any way you can—volunteer work, internships, blog posts, additional education, etc.
By Andy O’Hearn