Thursday, April 25, 2013

Methods for Veterans to Leverage LinkedIn During Their Transition

The statistics are different depending on the survey you read. However, one fact remains consistent - LinkedIn is a critical tool in the job search process. In a recent survey by Jobvite, 92% of human resources professionals said they use social media in the recruiting process with 92% of those surveyed using LinkedIn as their number one choice. (See the full results here)

Transitioning veterans should take advantage of the business networking opportunities that LinkedIn has to offer. Whether you are passively or actively job searching, your LinkedIn profile can be the difference as to whether or not you see positive results from your search. Here are some special circumstances that veterans should take into consideration when creating their profile on LinkedIn.

  • Make sure potential employers can find you by loading your LI profile with industry-specific keywords. Research your industry on sites like o*net and the occupational outlook handbook to define keywords. Use these same resources to ensure you are translating your military skills effectively.
  • Capture the attention of recruiters with a compelling headline. As a default, LinkedIn uses your most recent job title and company as your headline. Be different and stand out from the crowd when you show up in recruiter searches by customizing your headline. 
  • LinkedIn profiles with photographs are 7 times more likely to be viewed when the profile comes up in search results. Make sure the photo you include is professional. Don't use your official military photo as your LI photo. This will give the impression that you are not ready to make the transition to the private sector.
  • Manage the message you send with your profile. In addition to using a non-military photo, take the focus off your military status by avoiding military language, refraining from referring to your rank, and translating your military skills to private sector language.
  • Ensure potential employers can find you. Use your personal email address, not your military address, as your LinkedIn contact method. Set your profile as public so that recruiters and potential hiring managers can find you when they do a search.
  • List an end date or availability date on your LI profile. Give employers an idea of when you will be available to start with their company and remove the ambiguity of whether or not you are officially leaving the military.

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