If you wonder, “What is LinkedIn Career Explorer?” you wouldn’t be alone.
What Is LinkedIn Career Explorer?
Given the softest of launches in 2020, Career Explorer is a LinkedIn product that sits on Microsoft’s GitHub platform.
As described by LinkedIn’s Chief Product Officer, Tomer Cohen, it’s a tool to help you “…uncover careers you could transition into and might not have considered by mapping the skills you have to thousands of job titles.”
Career Explorer lists 6,000 job titles found on LinkedIn profiles and 36,000 skills common to those titles.
Before we get going, we need to recognize a few limitations of the data:
- LinkedIn members often ignore updating the Skills sections of their profiles for years.
- We don’t know how often LinkedIn updates the Career Explorer database.
- The database does not allow users to select industries.
However, even with those limitations, Career Explorer gives us the best, most up-to-date look at skills that underlie 6,000 common job titles we can find anywhere.
And, the icing on the cake, a 2021 study out of the University of Michigan found that conducting exploratory job search activities significantly increases your likelihood of getting job search “callbacks” like interviews. So let’s have at it!
Table of Contents
First, this post will discuss getting started with Career Explorer.
Then, it will show you how to:
- Find the best skills to put on a resume and LinkedIn profile.
- Identify career paths.
- Assess the long-term potential of those career paths.
- Learn more about jobs that interest you.
- Find people who have the job title that interests you.
- Assess the market for job titles that interest you.
- Create a professional development plan.
- Find resume and LinkedIn profile keywords for your targeted job titles.
- Identify keywords for your LinkedIn recommendations.
- Increase your visibility in professional communities.
How to Get Started with LinkedIn Career Explorer
As a first step, click through to the Career Explorer tool.
You can scroll through the explanatory infographic, or you can click the “skip ahead” link in the first paragraph and go right to “Explore Job Transitions.”
The exploration tool looks like this:
To get started, find the “Select Your City” field (#1 on the screenshot above) and enter the location where you want to work.
As mentioned before, Career Explorer doesn’t provide industry-specific data, but it does use location-specific data.
Thus, if an area has a dominant industry, your results will likely reflect that industry’s needs.
For instance, if you search on Austin, you’ll likely see the tech industry’s influence, while if you search on Houston, you’ll see more energy industry skills.
With that intro, let’s look at 10 ingenious ways to benefit your career using this fantastic tool!
1. How to Find the Best Skills Keywords for Your Resume & LinkedIn Profile
If you’ve ever asked, “How do I find the best skills to put on my resume?”
- Start to type your current job title into the “Enter a Job” field (#2 on the screenshot above).
- LinkedIn will give you a menu of relevant job titles. Pick the one that most closely matches your title.
- Then, look at the list of skills below the job title (#3 on the screenshot).
- To the extent you have those skills and enjoy using them, weave them into your LinkedIn profile and resume.
- Also, add them to the Skills section of your LinkedIn profile.
Because they’re table-stakes keywords, your competitors have those skills on their LinkedIn profiles. Thus, if you don’t have them on your profile and resume, you might not even clear the low hurdles for getting interviews.
If you’re a career advisor and your client can’t describe their skills, show them Career Explorer right away. What a self-esteem booster!
2. How to Identify Career Paths
Next, if you wonder, “What are some good career paths for me?” Career Explorer will blow your mind.
You can find:
- The most popular career paths for people with your job title in your city
- Career paths that have significant skills overlap with your skills
To do this:
- Click “Sort” (#4 on the screenshot).
- You’ll get a dropdown menu (see screenshot below).
- To find the most popular career paths, choose “Popularity (high to low).”
- To find career paths with the most skill overlaps, click “Similarity (high to low).”
(I find the Sort field a little sticky, so check your results to be sure they make sense. Sometimes I have to click an option I don’t want, let it load, and then click the option I want to get it to update correctly.)
Then, if you look at #5 in the next screenshot (below), you will see that LinkedIn has found 157 job matches for Directors of Business Development in Houston.
Some of the matches would provide advancement, and some would be lateral moves.
Now, look at #6 in the screenshot below. You will see that transitioning from Director of Business Development to Vice President of Business Development:
- Offers a 96% skills match.
- Is a very common (i.e., popular) move.
Next, if you click the little green boxes under “Skill Overlap,” you will see the exact skills the jobs share.
If you like using those skills, you’ll probably like that career path. If the job overlaps too much with your least favorite skills, you might want to move on.
I used the Popularity sort for the example. If you want to look at alternative career paths, use the Similarity sort.
2. How to Identify Career Paths — Cautionary Version
Now, let’s look at another career path. Say you’re considering a Post-Production Assistant job with a film studio. If you look at Career Explorer, it will show you 5 possible career moves.
Compare that to the 157 options for a Director of Business Development, and you can see you might want to learn more about the long-term potential of the post-production job before signing on.
Maybe post-production professionals don’t use LinkedIn, or your opportunities really might be limited.
Be aware that a Work Institute study of 234,000 exit interviews found that lack of career development opportunities is the #1 reason people leave jobs.
So, you can save yourself angst by using Career Explorer to spot and avoid career paths that don’t have long-term potential.
3. How to Assess the Long-Term Potential of a Career Path
Now, we come to one of my favorite uses of LinkedIn Career Explorer.
Let’s say you’ve found a job title that excites you, but you don’t know if it offers good long-term prospects for your career.
Here’s what you do:
- Type that job title into “Enter a Job.”
- Look at the Popular moves from that job title.
- Look at the Similar job titles.
- Pick a title that represents next-step advancement, like going from Director of Business Development to Vice President of Business Development.
- Then, type the advancement title into “Enter a Job” and see where you can go after you’ve been a VP.
- Iterate that as many times as you want.
Nicely, I found several advancement titles from Vice President of Business Development.
They included but weren’t limited to:
- Chief Business Development Officer
- Member of the Board of Advisors
- Chief Growth Officer
- Chief Revenue Officer
- Managing Partner
- Chief Operating Officer
- Chief Strategy Officer
So, rather than asking:
- Is business development a good career path?
- Is accounting a good career path?
- Would cybersecurity be a good career path?
- Is project manager a good career path?
Dig into Career Explorer and see for yourself.
While none of us can predict the future, iterating through possible career paths will let you see if moving to a particular job title would open a wide field of possibilities or narrow your future opportunities.
4. How to Learn More About Jobs That Interest You via LinkedIn Learning
Next, let’s look at how LinkedIn Career Explorer can help you learn more about jobs that interest you before committing to them.
- Go to “Skills to Build” (#7 in the screenshot below).
- Click “Executive Management.”
That click takes you to 400+ LinkedIn Learning courses on Executive Management.
You can see:
- Popular courses
- More extended Learning Paths
Thus, rather than making an uninformed leap into a new job, see if LinkedIn Learning (free to Premium members) can help you understand it better.
You might love what you find.
However, you might also “fail fast.” It’s better to do that via LinkedIn Learning than by changing jobs and realizing you don’t like what you’re doing.
A Bamboo HR survey found 30% of people have quit a new job within 6 months. A primary reason is that the job turned out to be different than expected.
5. How to Find People Who Have the Job That Interests You
Another way to learn about jobs is to talk with people currently in a role that interests you.
In addition to LinkedIn Learning, you can click on “Find Connections on LinkedIn” (#8 in the screenshot above) to find people in your network who have the job title you’re exploring.
If you don’t find anyone in your network, search for people who went to the same school you did to reach out to for advice:
- Click “Find Connections on LinkedIn.”
- Then click “All filters.”
- Scroll down to “School.”
- Type in your school’s name.
- Click “Show results.”
You will get a list of alums who have or have had the job that interests you. Then, you can send them a message like this:
I found you on LinkedIn. I see we’re both NYU alums and that you’re currently on the Board of Advisors for X Company.
I’m interested in Advisory opportunities and wondered if you would have 15 minutes to talk with me about how you secured your role.
If not, no worries, but I would appreciate it!
6. How to Assess the Market for Job Titles That Interest You
As you learn more about job titles that interest you, it’s a good idea to see what the market looks like.
- Click “Find Jobs on LinkedIn” (#9 in the screenshot above).
- Activate a job alert for that title.
- Repeat for any cities where you would be open to relocating.
You will see current postings and track the market over time.
I also like Google for Jobs for job posting alerts.
7. How to Create a Professional Development Plan with LinkedIn Career Explorer
As you identify the next job you want and the job after that, Career Explorer will help you identify your skills deficits.
You can use that information to create a professional development plan.
Then, as you’re interviewing, you can determine if:
- Your new role will give you experience that will fill in your gaps.
- Your new manager and company will support you with formal training to gain the skills you need to advance.
As you can see, this tool can make you a more strategic job seeker!
8. How to Find Resume & LinkedIn Profile Keywords for Your Targeted Job Titles
Once you’ve decided which job titles you plan to target, you can repeat Step 1 above for each of those job titles.
I expect you will find skills you have that aren’t on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Again, weave them into your resume and profile and add them to your profile’s Skills section.
Also, as you decide to pursue specific job openings, use this keyword identification tool to customize your resume.
BTW, the University of Michigan study cited above found that targeted job searches also increase your likelihood of getting callbacks. Targeting is even more potent than exploring. Put the two strategies together and WOW!
9. How to Identify Keywords for Your LinkedIn Recommendations
As you identify the skills and keywords that matter for your target job titles, make and refine a list.
Then, when colleagues agree to write you LinkedIn recommendations, give them a summary of the most important skills and keywords you’ve compiled. It will stimulate their memories about you and help them address essential topics.
10. How to Increase Your Visibility in Professional Communities
Finally, if you want to increase your professional visibility, volunteer to arrange or give a presentation on Career Explorer to your local or national professional or trade association or other groups.
This post gives you a host of talking points.
I’m usually happy to share my deck with people who want to use it talk to groups about the tool.
Please connect with me on LinkedIn to ask about it.
Let’s spread the word about this great resource!
A Fresh Approach to Using LinkedIn Career Explorer
In closing, I searched Google on “LinkedIn Career Explorer.”
While I found many articles about the launch and how to use the tool to find next-step career paths, I didn’t see any of the alternative uses described here.
Thus, I was happy to find this post shares new, empowering ways to use this tool!
Curious to Hear More?
Watch the 30-minute LinkedLive Hannah Morgon (aka Career Sherpa) and I did on Career Explorer!
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Featured by Career Sherpa
Updated October 2022
© 2021 – 2022, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
Let her expertise inform your job search strategy and decision-making.
Contact Donna here to learn more about her resume and LinkedIn profile services and fee structure.