Feeling intimidated by your civilian job search?
You might have heard that a LinkedIn profile is as important as a resume to your job search. Even if you have set up a profile, here are some tips to help yours.
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A strong LinkedIn profile is your most valuable asset on the job search. 92% of companies use social media to find new talent, and 87% of them use LinkedIn specifically, according to a recent Jobvite study.
LinkedIn profiles cannot replace your resume, but they offer more ways to leverage your military experiences.
Do you want to spend less time job searching, and accelerate how new opportunities may find you? Here are five tips for leveraging your LinkedIn profile to transition into your civilian career:
1. MAKE YOUR PROFILE PICTURE PROFESSIONAL
Make a good first impression, and choose a professional headshot photo that you would want your next boss to see. Avoid using pictures that are blurry, selfies, or have anyone else in the photo (even if it’s your adorable toddler). Hiring managers want to make the face-to-name connection when they see your resume, and they often reject applications without a polished LinkedIn picture.
2. LEVERAGE YOUR PROFESSIONAL HEADLINE
Your professional headline is the first thing potential employers will see on your LinkedIn profile. While you can customize your headline, don’t go crazy with too many words either. You want to express the most important thing about your job search.
For example, if you are transitioning out of the military in 6 months and interested in sales, your headline could be “Transitioning Veteran | Seeking a Career in Sales.”
3. FILL OUT ALL SECTIONS OF YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
You might think writing the same information on your resume and LinkedIn is redundant, but it’s definitely not: Tailor your resume for a specific job, and use LinkedIn to showcase all of your career accomplishments.
It is important to use skills-related words in your Experience titles and descriptions. Your profile will come up higher in search results! Double check that you clearly describe your accomplishments and skills in these sections:
- Experience (including military service)
- Volunteer Experience
- Featured Skills & Endorsements
For your experience, utilize STAR Statements (Situation / Task / Action / Result) to communicate your accomplishments.
You can download this STAR Statement Examples template (.pdf) and start filling in the blanks. Here’s an example of Situation, Task, Action, Result statement:
As a logistics officer in Afghanistan, my mission was to resupply troops across a wide area. I led a training program of 126 soldiers, process improvement studies, and convoy and supply optimization planning. My difficult work across two months saved $10 million, 2,450 man hours and reduced dangerous convoys totalling 1,000 miles. I was recognized with a military award for my actions.
Read more on STARs here.
4. ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
Just like people read Yelp reviews before choosing a restaurant, employers read LinkedIn recommendations to validate the intangibles of a potential hire. Ask your former supervisors, co-workers, or military leaders to exchange LinkedIn recommendations to make your profile more credible.
Even a few sentences about your work ethic or intangible skillsets can make your profile stand out to potential employers. Click here to learn how you can request recommendations from your LinkedIn connections.
5. CATCH UP WITH OLD FRIENDS: WHO IS WORKING WHERE?
Employee referrals are very important to the hiring process: 87% of companies find their best candidates from internal referrals. You can easily sort through your network based on location, companies, industries, or good old-fashioned ABC order. Whether you have 50 or 500+ LinkedIn connections, you’ll be surprised to see where people relocated or the industries they ended up working in.
When you come across someone who could potentially open doors for your job search, take 5-10 seconds to send them a quick message: “Hey! Congrats on your recent promotion. How’s it going at (company name)?” They will appreciate you paying attention to them, and it creates an opportunity for you to update them on your job search interests. This helps your network keep you top of mind the next time they come across an exciting opportunity.
Bonus Tip: Did you know LinkedIn offers special discounts for U.S. service members and veterans?
- Sign up for your free 1-year Job Seeker Career Premium subscription – includes full access to LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com)
- Linkedin For Veterans – How to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile (1-hour tutorial)
Stay tuned to this series to:
- Learn skills such as interviewing, networking and salary negotiation to help you achieve your career transition goals
- Be connected with civilian employers looking to hire Sandboxx veterans