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Why Should I Use LinkedIn? It Gives You an In-Depth Look at Career Paths

Congratulations! We made it! We’ve reached the very last LinkedIn Tip of our series, and it’s certainly an interesting one. Thanks to the popularity of LinkedIn among Generation X – a generation well into their careers – Generation Y has the unique opportunity to study the career paths of those who may already have the job they eventually want.

Learn from the 61% Ahead of You

According to the same Pew Research Center Study we referenced in a previous tip, 61% online adults between the ages of 30-64 use LinkedIn. Most of these people are well into their careers, advancing up the career ladder, and roughly half of them (those in the 50-64 age range) have more than likely peaked somewhere towards the top of that ladder. Many of them may even have a job you want, like Chief Human Resource Officer or Executive Assistant to the CEO at a Fortune 500. It’d be wise to find these people (more than likely they can be found in LinkedIn Groups related to your industry) and connect with them. By connecting, you’ll be able to see their entire career path – from their start as an Office Administrator in San Diego working all the way up to Executive Assistant to the CEO at one of Downtown Seattle’s top companies.

The Benefit of Seeing Other Professionals’ Career Trajectories

Some professionals may not see the value in looking at others’ career paths, but it could be one of the best tools to help map out and visualize where your own career can take you. For example, let’s say your sister Linda graduated college with a degree in Human Resources, then landed her first job as an HR Assistant in Bellevue in 2009. As the years went on, she earned promotions, switched companies and received her most recent promotion to HR Manager in 2015. It seems like a fairly obvious trajectory in the Human Resources track.

Now, let’s look at Linda’s co-worker, Jill, another HR Manager. Jill was fresh out of college with her marketing degree and found work as a Marketing Coordinator in Downtown Seattle in 2006. How did Jill go from Marketing Coordinator then to HR Manager now?! Jill’s trajectory may have changed after working as a Marketing Specialist for a Human Resources management firm. She may have taken a great interest in HR after attending a conference or tradeshow, working closely with one of her colleagues, or communicated the interest to her boss who then helped her ease into the industry by putting her in a Staff Coordinator role. From there, Jill worked on expanding her knowledge and earned certifications (like PHR and SHRM-CP). Though her trajectory wasn’t the same as Linda, she still found herself in the same role of HR Manager.

It’s important to know that your college major does not define who you will be forever. In fact, in 2013 only 27% of U.S. college graduates were working in jobs that aren’t strictly related to their degrees. Don’t be afraid to explore the trajectories of others to see where it is you really want to go. The world is full of all kinds of careers, but if you need a helping hand along the way, don’t hesitate to contact a Parker recruiter!

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