Linked In recently published their list of the 25 hottest professional skills of 2014. The list is based on what skills got people hired and kept recruiters searching this past year. It’s a very good source for how to choose a career because it’s based on reality – the largest social network for business professionals.
Linked In is a good data source
- Based on personal experience, I know that LinkedIn is a popular spot for recruiters to find and solicit candidates. When recruiters need to source candidates for corporate jobs then recruiters will inevitably start using LinkedIn like a search engine for finding people.
- LinkedIn is growing and has 330 million members – that’s a very good figure for pulling reliable statistics from.
- A high percentage of those 330 million members keep their profiles up-to-date since it is where hiring managers look to research candidates further. It is also the way to attract new connections for networking.
Use caution when using Linked In data
- Linked In doesn’t include every job out there. They focus on corporate world jobs and are an “everything for everyone” type of site that doesn’t represent all niches.
- Linked In is only able to report on who is there and what they are doing on their site. Don’t look at this list as a statement of the volume of jobs out there, it’s just how much demand there is for those jobs.
- Linked In is a personal branding tool where many people may adjust their keywords and job titles in order to get found. That is influenced by articles that are written and industry buzz words. For example, one of our clients is in marketing and positioned himself as a “campaign manager”, “digital marketer” or “online marketer” at various points last year.
- “Hot” does not mean long-term. Compare the 2014 list to the 2013 list of hottest skills on LinkedIn. Skills that show up hot one year are often not on the list the next year. Where do you think those jobs are 5 years out? 10 years?
How to choose a career
LinkedIn isn’t trying to be a definitive source for choosing a career. So don’t use it as such. Use it as another data point in your research. There are lots of sites to include in your research and lots of people to talk to:
- Use glassdoor.com to get a feel for titles that are in use and how many there are.
- Talk to a recruiter about the niche they focus on and the trends he/she have seen from companies and in skill sets.
- Look at industry trends for shifts that will create “hot” jobs not just for next year but also for the next decade.
- Account for your geography because global or even country statistics may not be applicable if you have a specific city you want to live in.
- Network for informational interviews especially with hiring managers who have been working for two or three decades. They’ll be able to tell you about trends they’ve seen and what jobs or skills have stayed consistent through the years.
At the end of the day, it’s tough to place your bet on a single job or career. The rapid pace of technology and the development of a global workforce is going to mean that adaptability will be a critical skill for staying in demand. If you can keep your eye on the trends that affect your industry and geography and continue to evolve your skill set you will be able to keep your skills in demand for a long time.