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What should I put on LinkedIn when I am an unemployed student looking to transition into the non-profit, human service, or social service sector from financial services?

Should I list that I am a student who is looking for job opportunities and looking to transition into the non-profit, human service, or social service sector from financial services in my headline? Should I mention the career which I aspire to have? In the experience section should I list my financial service experience, though it does not relate to my goals? I mostly want to showcase my need for employment and the fact that I am a student in an appropriate manner. career-counseling career-path job-search linkedin career-change job-search-strategies linkedin-recruiter

You can put that you are a student, and look for connections by searching the companies that you are interested in being hired by. Write your summary, add your favorite skills, and put any certifications and experience that may or may not qualify you for the job. I say this so that your ideal employers will know a little bit about you and what you are interested in. Brandon H.

Hey Mounia! You should put down any volunteer experiences that you've had, and any projects that you were a part of. You can also put down your goals and aspirations, as well as any experience you think that would be pertinent to what you trying to get into. Your financial skills, while on the surface may not seem relevant, may actually be something that the non-profit is looking for. Hope this helps! Albert P.

Thank you for your advice Brandon & Albert! Mounia M.

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Daniela’s Answer


Here are some suggestions for how to use LinkedIn to help make a successful career change:

  • Become an expert on the career you want to pursue

From the moment you begin considering a change, start to read as much as you can about the industry or function you want to join. Being in the know will help you discover organizations that might be hiring and will help you make a good impression as you begin networking and eventually interviewing for positions in your new industry. A great way to do this research is through LinkedIn Today, a new, free tool that customizes your news experience by sourcing content from your network and lets you follow industries you might be interested in.

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile for your new career

Your next crucial task is to revise your LinkedIn profile so it supports your career change goals. Start with your headline -- the most important piece of real estate on your profile -- and use it to promote the transition you want to make. For instance, “Experienced corporate executive seeking position in nonprofit management.” If your job hunt is not public, try a general headline such as “ Experienced product and marketing executive.”

Next, write a very strong Summary statement that briefly explains what you’re doing now and the fact that you’re changing careers -- don’t leave it up to the reader to guess that you want to make a change. Be sure to keep your explanation concise and positive (i.e., never lament the fact that your current industry is in decline or that you got laid off and are being forced into a switch).

Then focus on explaining your “transferable skills” -- those skills you have that can apply to multiple industries or roles. Examples of transferable skills include: people management, technical training, sales, communication, negotiation, leadership, creativity, organization and general administrative skills. As much as possible, you’ll want to mention skills that you know are important in the industry or function you aspire to. Not sure what those are? Look at LinkedIn job postings and the profiles of people in your desired career for ideas.

Once you’ve revised your profile, ask a few people who have a background in this field to check it out and provide any additional “insider” tips.

  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your desired career

Joining LinkedIn groups in your desired industry or function is a great way to build your knowledge, image and network in your new field. Remember that your group memberships appear on your LinkedIn profile, so they indicate to people that you are serious about your new career.

  • Alert your network to your career change plans

Networking is crucial to a career change, particularly if you are currently employed and not able to publicly announce your career change plans. Start by reaching out individually to everyone you already know -- friends, family, neighbors, former colleagues, former classmates -- to explain your desired transition and ask directly for their support.

  • Talk to anyone who works or has worked in the field you want to join

In addition to networking with your existing contacts in any industry, nothing beats talking to a real person who has firsthand experience in the profession that interests you. Ask your existing contacts if they know anyone in your desired field they would be willing introduce you to.

Additionally, use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to research people in your desired industry with whom you have something in common (e.g. you attended the same university, worked at the same employer in the past or belong to a shared LinkedIn group). You can reach out through LinkedIn connection requests or InMail (if you have a premium account) to request a brief, informal discussion.

During all of these conversations with industry members, ask people to recommend insider tips, must-read publications and advice on what jobs in their field are most realistic for people to transition into. Keep in mind that it’s not appropriate to ask any of these contacts for a job, just for advice and guidance. And don’t forget to send a gracious thank you email to thank people for their time.

All the tips you can read on:

Good Luck!

Thank you so much for your great answer! Mounia M.

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Hanleigh’s Answer

I love LinkedIn because you can easily transfer your resume onto your LinkedIn. First, you will want to include a professional profile photo and a cover photo that really represents your career interests. Your cover photo is one of the first things a person sees when looking at your account. You also want a good summary. There is a lot of variation on how to write your summary, and I think it is a good idea to include your aspirations. My personal recommendation is to include briefly what you've done in the past, what your currently doing, and what your future goal is. Your experiences should follow a similar format to your resume. I think any experience like internships, organizational leadership, jobs, and many other positions can be great experiences to include on your resume. Remember, not all of your experiences have to be a traditional job. Even if the position does not directly apply to the field you are interested in, it still shows that you have work experience. As you gain more experience, you can remove the less relevant experiences. You also have an opportunity to include any volunteer, awards, and education.
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Angie’s Answer

I would definitely recommend putting in your current school status. Always put in any volunteer work because that shows that you care about your community and want to give back. Seek out opportunities in the field you want to get into so you can get at least entry level experience.

Angie recommends the following next steps:

Follow leaders in your current position (teaches)
Follow leaders in the business/field that you are interested in so that you can be at the forefront of communications and updates in that area.