(Note: Depending on your severance package, technically you may still be employed and you may choose to wait to change the end date in your work history.)
Let’s look at a few specific profile strategies for someone entering career transition.
Make good use of the LinkedIn headline
It’s natural for people to scan your profile from top to bottom, so it’s essential to deliver a compelling and striking message at the top. The headline is the text that appears directly below your name.
People can see your headline from your full profile, and also if your name has come up in their search results. If you’ve liked or added a comment to a post, anyone reading that update sees your name and activity.
If someone – whether you’re connected or not – places their mouse over your name, a small box pops up with your name, photo and headline. You have 120 characters in total for your headline, but less than that in this little pop-up box. Since your headline may be truncated, be sure to place the most important words first.
I recommend you keep a file of three or four headlines and change them frequently. Each time you do, your network will be notified that you’ve changed your profile and may pop in to see what’s new.
Hint: To enable these notifications, be sure you have your activity broadcasts function turned on. Visit your LinkedIn settings, look for the “Privacy Control” section, and click on “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.” (A good time to turn OFF your automatic activity broadcast setting is if you’re employed but investigating other career options.)
Here are some sample headlines for someone in career transition:
- Seeking My Next Sales Leadership Challenge, Where I Can Drive Your Business To New Levels
- Looking For a Dynamic Operations Leader Renowned for Achieving Operational Excellence?
- I Am Your Next Finance Executive. I Extract Costs, Meet Compliance, and Fortify the Finance Function.
Be easy to contact
Optimize the Contact Info section of your LinkedIn profile to include your phone number, email address, social media profiles, and website, blog or online portfolio.
Recruiters and HR professionals are in a hurry and must be able to contact you quickly, so also put your phone number in the Summary section – even twice, once at the top and once at the bottom. You can also add the Advice for Contacting section to your profile and seize another opportunity to share all your contact information.
Be easy to find
On all your social media profiles, include buzzwords related to your function and your industry. This will help ensure you turn up when recruiters or hiring managers search for someone with your capabilities.
Review the keyword competencies on your profile regularly to make sure they’re up to date. Be consistent throughout your online identities and your written materials. Use the same photo, font, colours, and wording. Always be professional.
Enlist your social network in your job search by announcing your career transition, in a way that gets people excited about what you have to offer.