I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to a new local Military Officer Association of America (MOAA) Business & Networking Group this past week. My task? Give the attendees an inside view of how to use LinkedIn for their job search. And also give them an idea into how a sourcer/recruiter thinks so not only can the attendees as job seekers be found, but they can turn the tables and find the recruiters.
- Veterans can get a free premium JobSeeker account for one year. You’ll get a few perks to aid your job search in this premium account not available in the basic account. And it’s free—use it.
2. Build a complete profile and be grammatically correct. Name, Job Title, Company (Companies), Experience, Skill Sets. List out your military experience, including branch of service. Properly use upper and lower case letters, and always spell check. Get someone else to read your profile to make sure it makes sense.
3. Have a good summary. This is really your elevator pitch. I keep mine really simple, but some people need a paragraph. Get to the point, but illustrate what you do and who you are.
4. Get a good photo. It’s not hard; my 17 year old was my photographer for this one of me that just appeared in HR Magazine. Need a referral? Ask a friend; photographers are plentiful.
5. Keywords are a gold mine. I can’t stress this enough. If you can’t figure out how to utilize all your keywords in your summary or in describing your prior work experience, use the Skills section of LinkedIn. Make sure you translate yours into civilian language. Use whatever MOS Translator you prefer.
6. Network. Upload your email contacts, Facebook contacts, etc. Connect to anyone and everyone you’ve ever served with. The more people you have as first degree connections, the more reach you have into LinkedIn and the more reach a recruiter will have to find you.
7. Always pay it forward. You will get spammed. But sometimes a job will come along, and you will know the perfect person for it. Pass it along and share your referral with the recruiter contacting you.
8. Check in on LinkedIn like it’s your job. Morning and night if you’re job seeking, look for jobs, check messages, add a few connections.
9. Join groups. There are a plethora of LinkedIn groups to join for Veterans, so check these out. Also join local job oriented groups, and groups related to your profession, industry and/or skills.
10. Search for jobs, too. Not every recruiter is going to find you. Search the Jobs section of LinkedIn daily; set up search agents to ping you when something new is posted. But also check in on the groups you’ve joined—you’ll find more jobs (posted for free) within the Job Discussions tab. Before you apply, search your network to see if you know anyone working at the company with the open job. It’s always a good idea to go through a company’s employee referral program as well as a direct application.
References? Endorsements? I don’t have a strong preference to see a gazillion of these. Mostly because in my personal experience I know my employers and my clients can best attest to what I do and the quality of work. The rest of it is really just icing on the cake, if you will. I’m going to want to call your references and do a background check, and I’m not going to just rely on what I read on LinkedIn.
Stuck? Need guidance? Find me on LinkedIn; I’ll be happy to help.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.