How to use LinkedIn to Plan Your Career

Planning out strategic career moves has never been easy. Before we had LinkedIn, most professionals relied on a strong network of mentors and connections to guide them in their career path or they’d do what everyone else was doing and climb whatever ladder they happen to land on. Others would simply guess. Now with LinkedIn, we have the tools and resources to be intentional about career moves. Even though the tools and resources are there, most of us don’t know how to use them….until now.

Make 5-year and 10-year career goals

The best way to map out your career is to start with the end goal in mind and work your way back. Set ambitious and lofty goals for yourself 5 AND 10 years in advance. I do mean that purposefully. It’s okay for your career goals to be audacious in nature.

Make your 5-year goal a reach and your 10-year goal a shove. Having these goals set out in the in the future will prevent you from getting complacent as you make your way toward these goals. For instance, if your 5-year goal is to get your Masters then your 10-year goal to get a PhD Apply the same pattern to your goals. This will keep you from getting complacent with your stages of progress and success. Keep in mind it’s okay if what you come up with now shifts and changes. It happens. The point is to get you in the right frame of mind that is forward thinking.

Learn how to use LinkedIn to build meaningful relationships

Keep tabs on industry leaders and professionals you respect

There’s probably a reason why they are industry leaders and command such respect. Study the careers of established professionals and learn from them-especially their mistakes. Take cues from their career. The goal is to learn what you can and apply those lessons to your own career path. Do not attempt to become them. You don’t have to make similar career moves they made either. Again, use their career path as a lesson manual- not a roadmap.

Learn how to use LinkedIn to conduct industry research

Study the LinkedIn Workforce Report

The LinkedIn Workforce Report is a powerful tool you can use to make informed decisions regarding your career. Pay particular attention to the skills in demand by city the report provides and the work migration patterns. If you see more industries and professionals related to your interests moving to City X, it might be time to plan a move. Use this report as a factor in your career planning process. It is a tool and a resource, not an instructions manual.

Learn how to use LinkedIn fill any skills gap

Conduct informational interviews

Informational interviews are when you sit down with a professional who is in an industry or career path that is of interest to you and you learn about their experience. You are quite literally interviewing them to glean upon the knowledge they have acquired in their career. Informational interviews are useful for dispelling illusions. If you thought Career X would be like this and after 3 informational interviews they all tell you it’s more like that, it’s time to make some adjustments to your career goals.

Learn how to use LinkedIn to prepare for a salary negotiation

Act upon it

After all this research and planning, it’s time to test this thing out! Act upon your intentions and prove to yourself that you are serious about your own career. Once you make that 5-year goal, break that long-term goal into quarterly benchmarks and get started! Again, it’s okay to change your mind along the way. In fact, it’s expected. It’s not okay to sit there and do nothing to work towards your own ambitions. If you actually want it, go and get it!

Learn how to use LinkedIn to write an awesome LinkedIn recommendation

LinkedIn is an excellent tool that can help you progress in your professional career. Click here to learn how to use LinkedIn to revamp your resume and here to learn how to use LinkedIn to land an internship! 

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