Over the last few years, there has been a shift in the way that job-seekers approach finding new jobs.  Where, before, most people sought out companies that were reputable and could provide a stable career ladder, people are now seeking meaningful stops along their self-directed career journeys - companies willing to invest in their learning and companies whose mission and culture they connect with.

As a sourcer, I spend my time looking not only for people with the right skill set for a specific role, but for people who are the right culture fit for an organization. That’s where my job gets particularly interesting and challenging.

Just as there’s been a rise in startups in search of top talent for rapidly scaling teams, there’s also been a rise in employees’ need for connection to their work. Books like Designing Your life, Purpose Economy, and The Quarter-Life Breakthrough reflect how important it’s become for us to find meaning in our work, beyond just having a job.

So, as a candidate, how can you take matters into your own hands and direct your own career journey? LinkedIn is a powerful tool, when used right, to help you find the best, next career opportunity for yourself.

Spending time to draw out your professional and personal sections on LinkedIn can help you connect with organizations and companies you might not have otherwise known about. A recent Gallup survey found that 6 in 10 (already employed) millennials are open to new job opportunities, and with the increase in sourcers and recruiters sending targeted outreach, you’ll want to make your profile stand out from the crowd.

Here are things you can highlight on your profile:

  • Scholarships, fellowships or research papers that you’ve written reflect different skillsets that may be valuable to startups or other companies that value specific areas of academia.

  • Volunteer or advisory work shows commitment - even if in an industry outside of your job. Especially if you’ve thought about pivoting to another industry or role that may not be directly correlated to what you’re doing now, this could be an eventual bridge that gets you there!

  • Hobbies or interests show off what you’re passionate about outside of work and can signal your intellectual propensity and curiosity - a trait that is often highly regarded.

  • Coursework from a university or organizations like Coursera, Khan Academy, or General Assembly can show a desire to learn and get out of your comfort zone. If you’re a digital marketer by day, but have always been curious about software development, show off those coding courses you took last fall.

  • Stating the specific industries or types of companies that interest you are an instant signal to anyone looking to build their team with individuals sharing the same passion they’re working towards.

  • Including examples of fun facts! Can you recite from memory the entire list of prior Kentucky Derby winners? Were you a magician in a former life? Are you training on the side to one day participate in the Olympics? These fun tidbits can be an instant conversation starter and help people remember your background.

Bringing out and highlighting other aspects of what you find meaningful can help sourcers and recruiters pinpoint your profile. It can help you standout from the hundreds of other candidates out there, and can even help you connect with other individuals with similar motivations or interests! Or, perhaps you’ll discover a list of interests you’ve been meaning to explore, and be inspired to get after it!

written by Elise Sun, Tech Recruiting Associate