LinkedIn is no longer that old, cold, resume platform it used to be.
Yes, it is still more of a professional platform than other social media channels but it has evolved into so much more.
If you’re currently on your non-academic job search, I’m going to give you three reasons why you should jump on LinkedIn right now.
Hint: I’ve used these same skills to land, not one, but TWO high-paying non-academic roles recently. So I know they work and work VERY WELL!
LinkedIn is a rich field of information you need to succeed
Thousands of employers post available positions to LinkedIn everyday.
If you haven’t heard me say this then please hear me now: job descriptions are a rich source of information when it comes to preparing yourself for non-academic careers.
Well, within the job description the employer is handing you exactly what you need to have on your resume and exactly which skills you need to have in order to be considered for the role.
Let me share how reading job descriptions can be a helpful non-academic job search strategy.
(This strategy works well and the more time you give yourself with it, the better. Example, if you do this with a 1-3-month runway, you’ll be golden!)
- Think of 3 non-academic career paths you’d like to be on.
- Create an account on LinkedIn if you haven’t already and begin typing job titles in the search bar. Chances are that you’re going to get a few hundred, if not thousand, results.
- Click on the first result that comes up.
- Next, open up an Excel Sheet or a Google Sheet.
- Type in the job title and then in a column next to the job title, summarize the skills in that job description.
- Move on to the next and do the same for the next 5-10 positions.
- Do this for the other three careers you are interested in.
Do you notice any common skills that run among the job descriptions?
Which of these skills or requirements are you familiar with? Weave these skills into the previous experiences to show your future employer you’re worth paying attention to.
Are there skills you’re unfamiliar with? If so, use YouTube or Udemy to gain some baseline working knowledge on the topic.
As you go along and begin to apply for positions, incorporate the skills and experience you have acquired into your resume and cover letter.
By the time you go through this exercise, your resume will be ready. Most importantly, YOU will be ready to show the interviewers that you’re absolutely the person for the job.
LinkedIn is excellent for informational interviews
I’m a big fan of informational interviews because it gives you another opportunity to research a career path.
You know how you might see a meal and think, “Oh that looks delicious”, only to taste it and not like it?
Well, it can happen with careers too.
That’s another reason informational interviews are important.
When you talk to people in positions you are considering, you may find they are describing a job or activities you don’t actually want.
LinkedIn is a wonderful place to find people in a profession you want to pursue.
Once again, you will use the search bar to look for people in a specific job type you’re considering.
Send them a connection request and let them know you’re interested in their career path. Once they accept your connection request, send them a message letting them know you would like to get on a quick video call with them. In the past, I regularly booked 15-minute coffee chats where people could ask me anything about my career.
Sometimes, people may be unable to do that. Ask if you to send them a handful of questions they can answer via email or direct message on LinkedIn.
Note: not everyone will respond to your request for an informational interview. There are many reasons this may happen. Don’t take it personally! Instead, pay attention to the one or two people who respond to you and add their insights and advice into your knowledge bank as you prepare to enter the non-academic career world.
I delve into informational interviews in the video below.
LinkedIn is a great place for you to build a personal brand
Building a personal brand played a role in helping me land my first non-academic job and has been the topic most-requested when I speak at universities.
Building a personal brand happened on accident for me but once I did and it started to open doors for me, I was astounded!
A personal brand is simply your reputation. In today’s world, you want to mold that reputation yourself-not leave it for other people to figure out or worse, build one for you. Before I landed my career as a medical writer, I used to be a freelance writer. In this role, I shared a lot about the resources I was using to build my freelance business.
I also shared articles I had written for clients. This began to build my personal brand as a freelance writer in the healthcare space. As a result, I began to receive inbound inquiries about my writing services.
When I applied for my first medical writer role, my hiring manager was able to gain a good sense of who I was from the work I had done online. A lot of what I shared online helped me get my foot half in the door before I even went to interviews!
In this interview I did with Dr. Susanna Harris, we dive into how to build a personal brand as a PhD and how that will be valuable to your job search.
If you’re not using LinkedIn as part of your non-academic job search, I encourage you to start today.
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