Use LinkedIn to Reverse Engineer Your Dream Career

Published:01/25/2022 | Posted by

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra


Whether you want to be a Pilot, a Doctor, an Engineer, an Architect, or a Chief People Officer, the good news is that someone has already done it, and while all career paths are different, we can use the success of others to build a road map to our own dream job. LinkedIn has many beneficial uses, but one of the least used ones is the ability to view the careers of our role models – and even a means to reach out to those people directly for advice or mentorship.


Reverse engineering your career starts with deciding what your “end goal” is. Let’s use an HR career path as an example. If you want to become a Chief People Officer or CHRO, you can use LinkedIn to find people who have already become CPOs and CHROs in the industries you’re interested in. I would suggest starting in your local market to find people in your community who have achieved this goal. You can do this easily by entering a phrase like “CHROs in Florida” or “Healthcare CHRO Florida” into the main search bar and the page will populate with anyone who fits that description with matching information in their profile. From there, it is up to you to do the work of clicking on and reviewing individual profiles to see how people got to where they are in their career.


Once again, you will see lots of different paths, but a general blueprint should start to appear. When reviewing profiles, look for different variables. Ask yourself the following:

  • Did these people go back to school?
  • Did they get their certifications?
  • Which companies have they worked for?
  • Did they start as a generalist or specialists?
  • How often did they change jobs or get promoted?


All of these questions and many others can be answered by looking at the LinkedIn profiles of the professionals that you aspire to be.  It’s a great way to see different paths to success, identify industry trends and the most coveted skill sets needed for your dream career.


If you want to go a step further, connect with those people whose careers you admire and ask them for advice. For example, “My name is Ken and I am currently an HR Generalist here in Florida and hope to one day follow in your footsteps of becoming a CHRO. It would be great to connect and if you are available, I would love to pick your brain on what made you successful and what advice you would give someone in my shoes?” Remember to be creative and authentic when writing these messages.


From there, you can build your blueprint to success. Write down what you want in a dream job, and even highlight milestones like when you want to get promoted, take a new job, go back to school, get new certifications, etc. You don’t have to be at the start of your career to do this exercise.  In fact, a blueprint for success can be made at any point in your career with a focus on what you specifically want to accomplish, and what’s most important to you in whatever stage you’re at in your career. This reverse engineering journey can begin from where you are right now.


This method will also help to make the seemingly impossible a reality by understanding incremental growth and seeing that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you have two years of experience as an HR Coordinator, becoming a CHRO may seem like a mountain that is impossible to climb. However, after breaking down a twenty-year roadmap you may only need a promotion every few years and all of a sudden it becomes more manageable. From there, success becomes about taking one step at a time towards your next goal.


Like any journey, the roadmap is not set in stone and likely will come with detours, potholes, and some unforeseen circumstances, but knowing where you want to go will help you stay on track. Use LinkedIn to find the career that you want, reverse engineer success, and build your own path. From there, it’s all about taking small steps to the career that you have always wanted. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!


Ken Heinrich IV, SHRM-CP, Director – HR Search

Office 904.414.5213 | Cell 305.773.7632

E-mail [email protected]

StevenDouglas Locations