This guest post contribution is from Richard Munn.
Recruitment has been going increasingly digitised in recent times. No matter what sector, there are plenty of opportunities to be found online, whether it is through virtual career fairs or by being part of professional social networks such as LinkedIn. A profile on LinkedIn is like a glimpse into your experience and skills, including your educational background and overall professional journey. Recruiters and head hunters have increasingly begun to use LinkedIn and other social media to find the best talent for the job.
A LinkedIn profile can prove to be useful in multiple ways in a straightforward job search. But how can professional platforms like LinkedIn be used when the situation is a little bit tricky? How can you use LinkedIn when you cannot continue doing what you have been doing because of changed circumstances, such as chronic health problems?
Let’s look at a situation where you are considering making a career switch. This could be directly after working within a particular sector, or after a break in your career. A good way to use your LinkedIn profile effectively while making a career switch is to include this ‘search of new direction’ in the title of your profile.
Your profile can have a headline or title which is what people see when they are searching for talent. Including this will make it clear from the outset that this is your professional motive. Include any previous experience within the title in a concise form. For instance, if you have work experience within sales, and want to change your direction for any reason, then your title could be ‘sales professional with 15 years’ industry experience seeking new position’ or ‘open to new opportunities’. This can help head hunters identify you as someone seeking a new direction rather than a position within the same sector. It also helps recruiters instantly get a glimpse into your story, previous experience and where you want to go.
Using a LinkedIn profile can also prove to be a bit of a problematic area if you have been out of work for a certain period and want to step into the professional world, as it were, after a long break. In this situation, not only is your previous experience unrelated to your new career interests but there has also been a gap in your CV. In such a situation does it help to have a LinkedIn profile or would it be better not to have a profile and not to mention any of your previous experience?
The fact is that a LinkedIn profile can be used in very versatile ways to communicate exactly what you are all about. So in a situation like this, it makes sense to explain this in your LinkedIn profile summary. Your title could mention how you’re seeking new opportunities and you could go on to explain a bit more about where you are coming from in the profile summary – this will help recruiters and potential employers, or collaborators understand exactly what your situation is.
It is important to explain in simple and honest terms why this gap has occurred, and how you are now interested in stepping back on the professional ladder and using the skills and experience within a professional capacity again. If you happen to be changing careers because of a certain change in your lifestyle needs, for example if your health demands it, it may help to include this in your profile, perhaps simply by mentioning seeking new office based opportunities due to lifestyle changes.
If you have decided to take any courses to brush up on your knowledge and professional skills, it is important to include these, even if they are on-going, in your profile. This will allow recruiters etc. to understand the situation and get the complete picture through your information in LinkedIn.
Another situation which can prove a bit tricky and not as straightforward is having two different jobs or careers, especially so if they not related to each other. In such a situation, should you try and weave them into one profile? It is possible to do this by including a slash in your title or headline. For instance, let’s say you are an experienced professional tutor and also do freelance copy editing, and are seeking career progression within both sectors, your title can be professional tutor/copy editor with so and so years of industry experience. This tells a true story of your profession and showcases both your activities. You can structure the rest of your profile in such a way that it addresses both your professions separately.
Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the leading career website, how2become.com . His aim is to help as many people as possible pass the recruitment process they are applying for to secure the job they really want. The website offers a wide range of books, dvds and courses for those who want to ensure they have every stage of the process covered.