Explaining A Career Change On Your LinkedIn Profile

When Coronavirus was a complete unknown in March of 2020, it felt like everything was up in the air, including Three Ears Media. For so long, we had been focused on job postings – and now? No one was writing job postings. Everyone was too scared to make a hire because they didn’t even know if they’d make payroll or if their people would survive this mysterious virus that was killing tens of thousands of people.

I panicked. I had so much momentum in my business at the time – 20+ speaking gigs booked, some of the biggest projects we had ever done – and in a matter of weeks, they were all gone. My calendar was clear. These opportunities went up in smoke and I was so scared my company would be gone, too.

I remember sitting at my desk and wondering out loud to no one how I would survive this shift. I didn’t know how I could keep this talented team I had built with no customers or how I could sustain this business I loved so much. I went to a business mastermind and cried, just praying this wouldn’t be the end of the company I loved so much.

How Do You Utilize LinkedIn For A Career Change?

In this group, I found a new short-term business model when I realized that the same formula to write a job post could be used to create a better LinkedIn profile. I could analyze job titles to make sure people were found by recruiters, find a way to write the story of someone’s life, and design this digital space to get the right people to read. (You can watch a free webinar to optimize your LinkedIn profile here.)

Then, through a connection, I had the opportunity to pitch this LinkedIn profile writing service on a platform that was a lot bigger than I ever imagined. Suddenly, I was writing a few profiles every day.

While some stories were very straightforward – consultants who wanted to market their businesses, people looking to make a parallel move from one company to the next – there were also a large group of people paralyzed by fear. In this time where everything changed, so many people went from feeling like they knew their path to dreaming up a new one. For the first time ever, people weren’t so determined to build a traditional career path. They wanted to be happy.

Storytelling Is Key

The shift from a life everyone could predict to a plan that only makes sense to you is hard enough. Switching careers always seems practical to the person making the change, but it’s not so simple to explain in a LinkedIn profile that recruiters simply scan while they look for a reason to reject you.

There were some common questions about making a career change on your LinkedIn profile. Questions I think every job seeker should understand if they’re looking to write about a career change on LinkedIn.

  • Should I take certifications and list them? It depends on the job. If you’re looking to become a doctor? Absolutely, take the classes. If you’re looking to do recruiting or another field without one specific educational path? I’d only suggest you take courses to understand if you really like it, not as a way to delay the change. You’re ready. If you’re not sure what courses matter, Google the job title you want and the word resume – animal welfare director resume, for example. That way you can see the career progression and common skills used for that job search. Bonus: tons of free resume examples, too.
  • How do I explain that my skills in a seemingly unrelated field would make me great at this job? First, write the work experience sections in the language of your new field, not the old one. Talk about the work as if you were doing the job already and it was one of the results you drove. “Managed HR paperwork” doesn’t make sense for a hospital manager, but “managed a high volume of paperwork for many different customers” does. Translate your experiences into something they already understand when you’re writing about a career change on your linkedin profile.
  • When do I write about the career change on my LinkedIn profile? This is the one that surprised most people. My advice? First. Don’t wait until the last minute to explain or have the conversation. If you think the career shift might be a sticking point, say it first in your profile. Here’s what I would write: “You might not understand how (job you have) and (job you want) are alike, but they have so much in common.” Then spell it out. You don’t need to wait and hope people can figure out the relationship.

Make the leap. You don’t have to wait. 

Job Search Advice Networking social media strategy

Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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