From One Path to Another: Creating a Compelling LinkedIn Headline for Career Changers

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From One Path to Another: Creating...
Jun 2, 2023 6 min read

Your current job doesn’t excite you as much as it used to and now you’re looking for something new? Or you might also be tired of the whole industry itself and want to start working in a completely different field?

We know, it might be a bit challenging to get your head around all details worth considering.

You’d need to think of the career you want to pursue. Then craft yourself a new resume. Then start prepping for interviews…

Learn how to answer the ‘Why do you want to change your career path?’ question

But while these things might require your full attention and at least a couple of hours of your day, there’s something else you need to think about that’ll take you less time than expected.

Updating your LinkedIn headline.

Sure, there are certain things worth figuring out before you create a new LinkedIn headline for yourself. But if we compare the time required to the results expected, it’s worth every second.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What the purpose of your LinkedIn headline is
  • How having a strong LinkedIn headline can help you get a new job
  • Why your transferable skills matter and how to identify them
  • How the power of keywords in your LinkedIn headline can aid you in your job-seeking process

… and more! Let’s go!

Understanding the Purpose of a LinkedIn Headline

So what exactly is the LinkedIn headline?

In short, it’s the first line right below your name on the platform.

And like your name, it’s highly searchable.

This means recruiters can search for, say, ‘project manager’, and everyone who has added these two words to their LinkedIn headline will come up.

This also means that having the right headline can help you stand out in your job search. In fact, it’s become increasingly popular for recruiters to be proactive and get in touch with LinkedIn users who seem like the right fit.

And if you’re a fan of networking you’ll find it even more important to keep your LinkedIn headline up to date. In this way, it’ll be easier for people you meet to share exciting opportunities with you if they match your profile.

Wondering how to network on LinkedIn? Check out this article for some expert tips and example messages!

All this means that if you’re an ex-teacher passionate about finding a career in marketing and you’ve just met an HR manager that can be of help, you need to make a strong first impression.

That’s exactly where your new LinkedIn headline comes into play.

But wait! No need to brainstorm headline ideas just yet!

We’ll identify your transferable skills first.

Keeping them in mind when crafting your LinkedIn headline will ensure a more elevated end result.

Identifying Your Transferable Skills

Generally speaking, there are three types of LinkedIn headlines:

  • The confident one, also known as the ‘one-sentence pitch’
  • The creative one, where you list your position and your top 3 skills
  • The traditional one where you simply list your job title and employer

Having in mind you’re looking to change careers and employers, we advise you to stick to the first two types.

Fairly speaking, it’d be useless to state your previous position and employer if they’re not relevant to your career change.

But before moving on to writing your new LinkedIn headline, let’s see how you can identify your transferable skills.

Actually, what are transferable skills in the first place?

Well, these are the skills that you can take from one job to another, and be sure they’ll be relevant.

Most often than not, these are soft skills. But if you’re only switching jobs and not industries, then you could expect to have some hard transferable skills too!

For example, if you’re a teacher looking to become a career coach, some of your transferable skills might include communication, time management, empathy, and active listening.

If you’re a teacher looking to become an administrative assistant, on the other hand, you could have Microsoft Office, bookkeeping, and written communication as part of your list of transferable skills.

It’s really job-specific.

And if common sense isn’t enough for you to find your transferable skills, you might find it easier to go through some 10-15 job adverts and see what skills are listed on them instead.

Then think about the skills you have and if some of them match these ‘new’ skills you’ll be expected to show.

Might look slightly time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth every second!

Once you have the list of your transferable skills ready, highlight the top 3 priority skills. The easiest way to do this is by checking which of these skills appear most often in different job postings.

Just remember that these will change with time, so update your list regularly.

Now, after you’ve identified your priority transferable skills, you need to incorporate them into your LinkedIn headline.

As mentioned before, the two best ways to do this if you’re a career changer are the one-sentence pitch or the position + 3 skills combo. Let’s look at each of them

Option 1: One-sentence pitch for your LinkedIn headline

Although it might sound difficult to grasp, the one-sentence pitch is quite straightforward. Check out what we call our easy recipe for success:

[Position] skilled at [skill #1] and [skill #2] passionate about [your passion].

Just add your desired position, your top 2 skills, and the thing that makes you feel passionate about starting a new career.

And don’t forget to highlight only your transferable skills!

Option 2: Future position and top 3 skills for a clear LinkedIn headline

This option is much more common than the one-sentence pitch formula.

Again, you’d need your list of transferable skills. Pick the top 3 highest-priority ones and… you’ll basically have your headline ready.

Here’s a success formula for you to use:

[Future position] | [Skill #1] | [Skill #2] | [Skill #3]

You can use any graphic dividers you want - even emojis. Just make sure to sense-check if these would be well-received by HR in your dream industry.

Using Keywords Strategically

As we discussed, keywords work miracles for job seekers like yourself.

Using the right keywords in your LinkedIn headline can make your profile easier to find by recruiters and potential employers alike.

To begin with, your transferable skills are possibly the best keywords to include in your headline.

In addition, we advise you to add the role you’re looking for.

Remember when we mentioned that if you add, say, project manager, to your LinkedIn headline, your profile will come up every time someone searches for the words ‘project manager’?

And although this depends on your location and the filters the person has added, it’s still a great opportunity to boost your profile’s visibility.

Now, if you want to stand out from all other people with the same keywords in their LinkedIn headlines, you need to act strategically.

Do your research. See what keywords people in your desired role are using. Are they relevant for you? Can you use them to brand yourself for your new career?

As an aspiring software engineer, for instance, you could check what keywords experienced software engineers have as part of their LinkedIn headlines.

Surely, you don’t want to sound boastful and appear more experienced than you actually are - as this risks making the wrong first impression.

But getting some inspiration from others and using it the right way can definitely work well in your favor.

Takeaways: The best LinkedIn headline for career changers

So, are you ready to bring your career to the next level?

Let’s go back and highlight the main steps:

  1. Make a list of your top transferable skills
  2. Choose one of the three most popular LinkedIn headline formulas
  3. Do your research and find the best job-specific keywords to include

And remember, crafting an eye-catching LinkedIn headline is the easiest part of your career-changing process.

Once you’re done, you should start thinking about your resume. Use our easy-to-use resume builder if you want to create a job-winning resume in minutes!

And in case you need professional guidance, you can always count on our career counselors. They will help you prepare for even the toughest interview questions recruiters have for career changers!

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From One Path to Another: Creating a Compelling LinkedIn Headline for Career Changers
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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about a career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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