In today’s competitive job market, building an online presence on LinkedIn, the social network of choice in the professional world, is an important step in launching a post-military career.
While hiring officials use a variety of social media to locate new talent, LinkedIn remains their dominant social-networking recruiting tool, with more than 93 percent of hiring officials surveyed in 2012 by Jobvite stating they use LinkedIn when looking for talent.
“LinkedIn is a major resource for anyone who is passively or actively searching for a job,” said Philip Dana, a former Navy surface warfare officer who serves as senior manager, talent acquisition, at Life Technologies Corp. in Carlsbad, Calif. “All recruiting teams in corporate America leverage LinkedIn in one way or another to find or network with veterans.”
LinkedIn’s importance in the workplace continues to accelerate, with new members joining at a rate of two per second and the network’s worldwide membership reaching more than 200 million.
1) Get noticed. Peppering your profile with keywords found in the specific job or industry you are seeking is key to attracting a recruiter’s attention. “Most mistakes in social media involve not leveraging search engine optimization, meaning not putting enough meat and potatoes, not using enough terms and words that define who you are and what you want to do,” Dana said.
To learn how to better understand computer key words, visit www.gijobs.com/keywords.
2) Borrow from the best. For “how to” examples when creating your LinkedIn profile, turn to employees in the industry you are targeting, as well as profiles belonging to social media experts.“Get somebody who does this on a daily basis, grab their profile and copy it,” Dana said. “My own profile can be used as a template.”
3) Make a statement. The headline is the “most valuable piece of real estate” on your profile because it is visible when recruiters search LinkedIn for job candidates. Use the space to advertise your skills. “Most people just put a job title there and it is boring,” said social media expert Sultan Camp, a Navy veteran. “For example, if I had an IT background and did sales, I would say, ‘The geek who can speak – Bridging the gap between IT and sales.’”
4) Sell yourself. LinkedIn’s executive summary should be the equivalent of your “30-second elevator speech” to perspective employers, Camp says. It is an opportunity to highlight the core competencies you would bring to an employer and broadcast that you are transitioning to the civilian workforce.
5) Be picture perfect. Including a photo makes it seven times more likely your profile will be viewed. Unless you are looking to transition to a defense industry job, a professional civilian headshot is the best choice since a military photo may “create the impression you are not ready to leave the uniform,” Camp says.
6) Make your profile visually appealing.Similar to a résumé, your LinkedIn profile should be easy to read. Camp says that means avoiding block paragraphs and using bullets when outlining job experience and accomplishments.