He runs the largest and most influential workplace social media platform, where he’s worked for nearly 15 years—and he’s learned a thing or two along the way about career building. Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn, recently shared his top tips in a “fireside” chat as a part of a free seminar for LinkedIn users. His advice just might launch you into your next big career success, free of charge.
So, what does Roslansky know about careers, anyway? His own LinkedIn experience lists his early experience as a founder of Housing Media in the late ’90s, “one of the first internet real estate and rentals classified directories.” He later worked in management at Yahoo and serves on the board for Intuit and the Paley Center for Media.
With the U.S. labor market going strong and potential for further growth in 2024, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on all Roslansky has to share to optimize your success in the new year.
LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky: “There’s no linear career path”
In school, we may have learned that we graduate high school, head to college and end up shortly thereafter in our dream job (after hustling around to get our bosses a few coffees in the pay-your-dues early years, of course). Then you climb that ladder to success and financial bliss. Right? Ryan Roslansky argues it’s much messier than that.
“There literally is no linear career path. For the most part, people are all over the place in terms of how they get to various destinations,” he says. And that’s OK. “I think the most important thing for any professional to understand… is that there is no ordained path.”
You’re in charge of your career
You are, quite literally, the boss—even if you have a boss. Roslansky says, “When you understand that you’re in control of your career path [and] no one’s doing it for you, it can then help you really make great decisions and embrace where you need to go.” He is speaking to a country where just about half of workers are extremely or very satisfied with their jobs, so for many, it might be time for a change.
Being in charge of your own destiny can feel both liberating and heavy all at once. So getting down to the specifics about what you care about most can narrow your focus. “One of the things that… I found to be really valuable when you’re thinking about what to do with your career is to at least try to understand what really matters to you,” he adds.
Don’t hide from AI
Whether you are ready to gear up to be the next expert in AI or you have no idea what you are doing and might need to hire a consultant yourself, don’t run and hide from the future of technology, Roslansky says.
“If your job is just a set of tasks that can be automated, it’s important for you to start thinking about probably a new job or what a new career path can look like. The majority of people in the world are going to be in a job where certain parts of those tasks can be done better in an automated way through AI, and that’s a great thing,” he says.
He goes on to add that, like with historical disruptions such as the industrial revolution, it’s natural to want to protect ourselves from change. But hiding would be a mistake. “The most important thing anyone can do right now is to protect themselves against that by embracing that AI is a real thing, understanding how their job breaks down into tasks, understanding which tasks can be automated or not and embracing the tools that can help them do their jobs better.”
So, if you aren’t already one of the 180 million users on ChatGPT, it might be time to play around with it, or other apps, to see what all the fuss is about.
Equip yourself with the right tools in your toolbox
Skills are the currency of the 21st century workplace, and specific ones are in high demand. Instead of hoping you have the right skill set, understand and develop the skills needed to do the job you want.
“I think that adaptability is an important skill that not a lot of people are talking about right now. Resiliencies are [a] really important skill that people are going to have to figure out,” Roslansky says. In addition, make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized to include your up-to-date skills.
“More and more recruiters are starting their search on LinkedIn by looking at the skills on someone’s profile as opposed to the other stuff,” Roslansky adds. A 2022 survey discovered that 56% of companies used some type of skills-based hiring, supporting his assertion.
Don’t listen to just one person’s advice
There’s a “village” in your personal and work life for a reason—not just one person, one coach, one partner, one boss or one trainer is the answer to your career path. You can take pieces of advice from each mentor and decide what’s applicable to where you’re at in your career. That way, if you don’t get the greatest advice from one person, it won’t derail you.
“I think a lot of it just comes back to owning the fact that you personally control your career and being open to a lot of different people’s advice but not maniacally following every single thing the person says is the key to a lot of it,” Roslansky says. This was the “best advice” someone gave him a while back, and now he’s passing it along to the LinkedIn community.
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