Originally posted on Dummies.com, from his book Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies (2nd edition)
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools to help you redefine yourself and move your career in a new direction. Taking your career in a new direction is a bold move that requires framing your proven skills for a whole new purpose. Identify your transferable skills, and then consider the following three ideas for using LinkedIn to advance your career change.
Use the profile headline to reveal what you do
When setting up a LinkedIn profile, many people wonder what to put in their headline and job title if they’re looking to make a career change. The good news is that you are who you say you are online. You don’t need a company to tell you that you are now an accountant and no longer a program manager. If you say it, it’s true.
Use your LinkedIn Headline to tell the world, in present tense, what you would like to do. So if you want to be an accountant, say “I’m an accountant.” Sure, it may feel incongruent at first. But if you indeed have the appropriate skills and you love the work, then you, and no one else, can define who you are.
Use the location where you want to work
If you’re willing to move to where the jobs are, then update your LinkedIn profile to the address or zip code of the place you want to be. Economists say that most of today’s unemployment would go away if people weren’t tied down to where they live. Sure, it’s underwater mortgages, but it’s also an unwillingness to go where the jobs are. If you can cut the rope, your chances of getting hired to do what you love increase quite a bit.
Think about how you use a job board. You enter two pieces of data: job title and location. Recruiters do the same thing. So if you want an accounting job in San Francisco, your profile is more likely to show up on a search-results page if your location matches that of the recruiter.
Add recruiters to your network
Recruiters want you in their network because they may want to pitch you for a position. So when you add recruiters whom you’ve never even met before, they’re very likely to accept your connection invite.
Furthermore, external recruiters work with companies in contracts. So when you add a recruiter as a primary contact, you’re very likely going to pick up a collection of people working at the companies you are targeting in your second degree network.
Therefore, the more recruiters you have in your network, the greater your chance of 1) showing up in targeted search results and 2) having an effective second-degree network.