LinkedIn for Career Changers: Crafting Your Story Online | Debbie Tyson | Skillshare

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LinkedIn for Career Changers: Crafting Your Story Online

teacher avatar Debbie Tyson, Career Coach and Facilitator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction and Overview


    • 2.

      Why LinkedIn is worth your time


    • 3.

      Need to Haves


    • 4.

      Nice to Haves


    • 5.

      Class Project


    • 6.



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About This Class

Join Career Coach Debbie Tyson for a 15 - minute crash course on how to make the most compelling use of your LinkedIn profile, especially if you are in the process of changing careers.  We'll cover what she calls the 'need to haves' and the 'nice to haves' and you'll end the class with a clear strategy that you can implement right away.  Learn more about Debbie at

Having a LinkedIn profile is a necessary tool if you want to be recognized as a professional in today's market. If you are changing careers, crafting your story on LinkedIn is even more essential.

While resumes are not yet dead, they do come with a 1-2 page limitation and are static by comparison with a LinkedIn profile, which is dynamic and designed to showcase the best of you (your brand) within a platform that is keyword searchable and non-linear. 

Beyond the benefits of a sophisticated free online profile, LinkedIn enables you to build and leverage a network of connections, identify collaborations or partnerships, request recommendations, and generally showcase your work and skills on a multimedia platform. Think of it as your own professional website that can be customized as your career or experiences evolve.

Put as much attention and care as you have put into a traditional resume into your LinkedIn profile. It will likely be seen by more people and has the potential for better results.

In this workshop, I'll show you how to create a basic, yet thorough, profile that tells your compelling professional story (your brand) and shows hiring managers and connections that you are worth talking to. I'll share which elements of your profile you need to invest time in now, and which one's you can continue to develop over time.

After this workshop, you’ll have the tools to show off your LinkedIn profile with pride and get results on your career change.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Debbie Tyson

Career Coach and Facilitator


Hello, I'm Debbie Tyson, a career coach, instructional designer and facilitator. Much of my work revolves around helping people find careers that align their interests and strengths with their needs and values. When people take the time to clarify these things, create time and space to grow and evolve and share these messages intentionally, good things happen. 

In a nutshell, I work with people to align their professional life with their soul while helping them to keep two feet on the ground.

Just as I guide my clients and students, I'm a lifelong learner and my work has evolved over time. I've held positions within human resources as an internal recruiter and in program management within non-profits and the public sector. My work over the last 10 years as a coach and... See full profile

Related Skills

Creative Career Job Search
Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction and Overview: Welcome to LinkedIn for Career Changers; Crafting Your Story Online. I'm Debbie Tyson, I'm a career coach and a LinkedIn enthusiast. I've been working in the career development space for the last 15 years and I've been on LinkedIn working as a career coach for the last 10. I don't love all social media equally, but I do find that LinkedIn is an incredible tool for career changers, especially those who are trying to tell their story powerfully online. In this class, there are two main things that we're going to cover. The first, is how to craft the story that you want to tell using key elements of the profile. You have about seven seconds to capture someone's attention and have them decide if they're going to keep reading on to learn more about you. The second element of this class is about helping you to figure out the pieces of your profile that are really important to fill out completely. You'll actually come up well in LinkedIn search result in their algorithm. For the class project today, we're going to be focusing on helping you to develop a summary statement and a headline statement that tell the story well. You'll be able to get feedback from me and feedback from your peers in this community on how to really strengthen that, especially if you're changing careers and you want to make sure that your transferable skills or making sense and you're telling that story well. My hope is that after you take this class, you'll have some tools and strategies to be able to tell your own story online powerfully to really craft the story you want to tell so others see you in the way that you see yourself. We look forward to seeing you and the rest of the class. 2. Why LinkedIn is worth your time: LinkedIn is worth your time for a number of reasons. A lot of people wait to build out their profile and their contacts until they have to. There's a change in their industry or there is a change in their particular job, and they say, "No, I better do this right now. But to get the most out of LinkedIn, you want to be using it all the time throughout your professional career, continuously connecting with people and having a strong profile so you can be connected with the world as a professional. The more complete your profile, the more likely it is that other people will find you. This could be recruiters looking for people like you, perhaps for things you've never even thought about that you might want to explore. Hiring managers might be looking for people with your exact skill set. If you miss the opportunity to complete your profile by having something that's at a D or inaccurate or maybe this boring or uninspired, you're really missing an opportunity. LinkedIn helps you to re-engage with contacts you already had and connect with new contacts in a more streamlined and inefficient process. The platform will recommend people that you may know and encourage you to reconnect with people who you've been in touch with in the past but may have forgotten about. Seventy percent of people get jobs through networking. This is the way it has always been before platforms like LinkedIn even existed and it continues to be the way. LinkedIn is a great platform to tell your whole story. You have fewer limitations than you have with a CV or resume because you have unlimited space. It's a place for you to talk about collaborations or partnerships you have with other people that adds to your credibility. You can talk about publications you've been in, patents, different languages you speak, you have the ability to really be creative to tell your story on this platform. This is especially helpful for career changers who are trying to craft a story that might not be totally linear, and LinkedIn gives you an ability to do this in a way that a paper document has a lot of trouble doing. If you really want to make the most of this platform's amazing capabilities, tell your story well, build out your connections and complete your profile. 3. Need to Haves: This section is going to cover what I call the Need to Haves. LinkedIn will not give up what's exactly in their "Search Result Algorithms," so all the experts have come together and we've figured it out and I'm going to share those top secret results with you today. What you actually need to have, to have your profile come up in "Search Results." Having a photo on LinkedIn is incredibly important both for coming up in the "Algorithms Search Results," but also because you're going to be showcasing your personable, approachable self. You want to be dressed in clothes that are appropriate for your industry with a nice clean background and good lighting. If you don't have a headshot already, don't despair. You can take one yourself with a camera; with a phone camera. Get a friend or a family member to take that picture of you and then post on LinkedIn. Next step is your Headline Statements. So your Headline Statement, you have the opportunity in 120 characters to say who you are, what you do, for whom, I like to call it your "So What Statement." This is your opportunity rate at the top of your Profile Statement to use your creativity and start to tell your story and build your brand well. If you neglect to customize your Headline Statement, LinkedIn will auto populate this line from your current role. Most people have titles that don't accurately represent what they do, so it's a missed opportunity. Use this real estate wisely. If you're a career changer, having your industry and your location reflect where you want to be rather than where you are, is critically important. For instance, if you're considering relocating, put the location area where you're headed, not where you are now. If you're looking to shift industry, say something different than you've been in, put the industry that you're headed in. This will enter that if people are searching for people with your skill set in a particular area or industry, you're going to come up in the "Search Results." Your Summary Statement is just about the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. It helps you to elaborate on what you've started to do in your Headline Statement by really sharing your story. In your Summary Statement, you have 2,000 characters to tell your story well, in your own voice, using first person language. It's an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and strengths, your experiences, the things you care about, the things that you're passionate about, and the things that you want to continue doing in your professional life. There's nowhere else on your profile that you get a chance to do this with so much freedom, and there's nowhere else on any professional documents like a resume, a CV, or even a cover letter that you can do this so well. It's very important to fill out the current position that you're in. So if you're currently employed, it's totally appropriate to copy and paste bullet points that you might have in your resume already for the current position that you're in. Have them be accomplishment base. Anytime you can put in a quantitative element, that's great. If you are in between positions however, and you're looking for something specific, you can put it in a line like, "Currently seeking opportunities in dot, dot, dot industry" including the present date. Alternatively, if you're doing some meaningful freelance work or contract work, you can list that as your current opportunity. You can also list some volunteer work that you're doing if it's pretty substantial. It's important to list something for your Current Position because if you don't, LinkedIn will actually penalize you for not having that part completed. Another opportunity to add the credibility of your profile is to list two past positions beyond the current role that you're in. These are important for making sure that people are going to find you and that your keyword searchable, and that you're coming up in the algorithm. LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to list your education and any certifications that you might have. One of the neat things about this function is that you can actually reorder these based on the way that you want to be seen. Especially as a career changer, this is an interesting opportunity. Potentially you had a Bachelor's Degree that related more to what you want to do next then your Master's Degree, you can actually reorder those. The other thing to consider when listing education and certifications is graduation dates. You do have the opportunity to just delete graduation dates from your profile so people can't be calculating secretly how old you are and potentially discriminating against you. Fill out the Skills Section on LinkedIn. This is another section that people often say, "gosh, this seems like a lot of hard work, I don't want to bother with it". You need to have at least five skills filled out to come up on the "Search Results," but you can have up to 50. This part is "Keyword Searchable," so it's a great way for other people to find you. Recruiters, hiring Managers, other contexts who might be looking for someone with a particular skill set. You can populate these by adding skills to your profile. You can also turn on or off whether or not you want other people to endorse you for a particular skill. It adds to your credibility of other people are endorsing you. LinkedIn wants you to have a minimum of 50 connections, but I think that actually doesn't really cut it. I recommend that you have closer to 200 connections. Because the way the platform works it's all about who you know, but even more important than that, it's about who the people you know, know. Without that, you're going to be limited in what you can do on the platform. I recommend really using the connections you have on LinkedIn to mirror your real-world network. I don't recommend connecting with random people that you've never met before, I always recommend sending a personalized message and I never recommend auto populating or allowing LinkedIn to suck in your Email contacts and send out a blanket message. You want quality over quantity. Aim for 200, minimum 50. LinkedIn gives you the chance to customize the URL you have associated with your profile. You may have noticed that your URL has a lot of numbers attached to it, and it's an easy fix to get rid of those numbers and have your URL just be your name. I recommend putting your LinkedIn URL on your resume. Put it on your Email signature. Maybe other places where you are online, the more places this URL shows up, the more likely you are to come up in search results. LinkedIn really encourages you to do all of your communicating through the platform using the messaging app to connect, make introductions and talk with other people who you're connected with, and that's a great way to do it. However, it's also really important to keep your contact information updated so you can talk with people offline or off the LinkedIn platform as well. A couple things to check or to make sure that you have an updated Email address that people can reach you on and making sure you don't perhaps have an old outdated work Email that you don't have access to, and think about whether or not you want to list a phone number depending upon your feelings about your privacy. 4. Nice to Haves: In this section we're going to cover the nice-to-haves. While these elements are equally important to the ones we covered in the earlier section, they're not nearly as time-sensitive. So they're elements that you can work on overtime and shouldn't stop you from getting into the networking game because these parts of your profile are incomplete. The one that I want to start with is having recommendations on your profile. Recommendations add a lot of credibility and they're like testimonials of you. You can ask people in your network to write you a recommendation. Think critically and strategically about who those people are. Who are the people who are going to help you and add data points to the story that you want to tell about yourself? Don't be shy about coaching them and guiding them about what you'd like them to say about you. You can also go back and ask for edits one time after they've written the first version of a recommendation for you. If you're feeling nervous about asking people, go ahead and offer it to write one for that person as well. Sometimes the reciprocity element of this makes it feel a little bit more palatable. You can also always go back and take some off and put them back on based upon whatever you're trying to go for in that moment. The accomplishment section gives you an opportunity to add in all of the other things that you haven't talked about yet in your profile. These are things that in many cases, there wouldn't be any space for on a resume as well. These are things like patents, publications, languages that you speak, projects that you've been a part of, all of the extras that give you additional credibility and showcase the diversity of your experience. Add these in as you go. This is something that I find people are always adding to on their profile as they progress in their career. Don't forget or neglect to add in volunteer experiences that you had. This is another piece that people often don't list on their resumes because it's not directly relevant or doesn't feel directly relevant to the positions that they're going after. Listing volunteer experience gives an additional flavor of who you are, and also shows what you're all about, and what's important to you, and what's meaningful, and the things that you care about. It's that softer side of that whole process that helps people to get a sense of really who you are and what's meaningful to you. You can use the interests in the following section of your profile to gather more information about things that are happening at organizations, or companies, or universities that you're interested in. By following them, you're going to get customized content from those places and that can be helpful in your search. Another way that this can be helpful is using groups from professional associations and also alumni groups to connect with additional people, to build your network, to ask for advice, to get access to new connections. The holy grail of this whole LinkedIn process is all about posting content. This is very similar in all social media platforms and LinkedIn is no different. There are lots of ways that you can share content on the LinkedIn platform to help to continue to share your brand. Some of the ways that you can do that are through sharing an update, sharing a quote, an article, an idea, a question with your network , you can share video, images, a SlideShare presentation, which is a PowerPoint presentation; lot's of different ways you can share content through your profile. You can like, comment, or share other people's content as well. Those are ways to stay engaged with the LinkedIn community and your LinkedIn community. Another way to share content is by posting a blog in the LinkedIn publishing platform. This is great if you're a person who's already creating content and is comfortable doing that and wants to have another way to share your content with a more broad audience. A lot of people get nervous about the moment in which they start sharing content with their network. They say, ''My profile is imperfect. I'm not ready yet.'' I'm here to tell you that you need to just get out there and at some point, it's good enough and it's time to start sharing content to really activate your network in that way. I love the saying, ''Perfection is the enemy of good.'' It's like writing a resume for hours and hours and never ever applying for a job. At some point, you say, ''It's great. I'm going to start sharing content. I'm going to put myself out there and see what happens.'' 5. Class Project: By now you should have a good handle on what it takes to have a strong LinkedIn profile. The class project that I am hoping you undertake is to really help you to craft a strong headline statement and summary statement that will tell your story well, especially as a career changer. We have a handout attached to this class that will help you with the framework, the tips and tricks for how to write these two elements of your profile well and also some examples that might help to spark your imagination. The class project is an opportunity for you to get feedback both from me and from your classmates who have some objectivity on your career path and your professional pursuits, to help you to really get some helpful critique about how to write a strong headline and summary statements,so you're often running when this course is complete. 6. Conclusion: Making a career transition can be a really exciting time but also an overwhelming time and so many different pieces are moving. Linkedin can be an incredible asset for you during this period of time, and not just another task on your to-do list. The other thing that can be really helpful is having a community to give you support and feedback and new ideas for how to think about yourself and tell your story well on this platform. I'd really encourage you to do the class project and to make the most of this opportunity to get that feedback. If you like the content that you learn here today, I'd really appreciate if you could write a review on the class or actually share in the comments other career development topics you'd like to learn more about. We'd love to create some new content that could be helpful to you on your journey. I hope you enjoyed the class and I look forward to seeing you next time.