LinkedIn makes it easier for veterans to compete for civilian jobs once they transition out of the military
According to Military Times, “finding a job can be hard. Finding a job with an employer that doesn’t understand the military can be harder.” I am a LinkedIn trainer and I primarily work with business owners, however military veterans find their way to my workshops which got me to pay attention to the needs of veterans. What I hear over and over again from veterans, that through the transition process out of the military they receive some career training, resume writing and awareness that they “should” get on LinkedIn. Little to no formal training is offered to vets on how to optimize and leverage to compete in today’s job market.
94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet candidates
(no pun on word intended, this was reported by DMR Digital Marketing Stats)
So it stands to reason that if veterans expect to compete in the civilian workplace they need to get up to speed on how to use LinkedIn. When I contacted a local workforce development center and specifically the veterans employment services department, I was told they do provide skills translation workshops, this I was thrilled to learn about, but when I asked if they took the skills translation and taught LinkedIn workshops I was told very little was offered. Occasionally volunteers would come in to teach a workshop here and there and some of the younger staff in the career center would also make an attempt but nothing was consistent.
Veterans are underutilized in the federal contractor workforce according to the recent OFCCP-VEVRAA ruling which now requires federal contractors to to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these veterans. That seems to be both the good and the bad news. Veterans lack intimate knowledge of how to use LinkedIn and hiring managers often are not finding qualified veterans, both will result in missed opportunities.
More on How Veterans Can Benefit From LinkedIn – Tips for veterans in utilizing LinkedIn in the job search
1.) Don’t rely on a government program to teach you the necessary skill set to optimize your efforts on LinkedIn, find a workshop or learn from as many professionals as possible.
2.) Sign up for the free job seeker account offered by LinkedIn in support of veterans (Kudos to LinkedIn for supporting Veterans!)
LinkedIn launched a new website for veterans where you can register for a free 1 year job seeker subscription, click on:
3.) Complete all the sections in the LinkedIn profile, do some research on how to translate your military skills to civilian skills to give you the best chance at competing in the job market. Here are some resources that can help you learn how to translate those skills:
- The American Red Cross runs an employment program named Boots To Business, For more information you can contact Michael Ryan in Las Vegas on (702) 369-3038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check out your Verification of Military Education and Training (VMET) document (DD-2586). It provides plain language (for the most part) descriptions of your military experience in non-military terms.
- Check out what Microsoft offers: www.WeStillServe.com
- US Department of Veteran Affairs
- Here is a great page on the overall career search strategy form the CA Employment Development Department (EDD)
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
Translate your skills and add them to your maximized LinkedIn profile in the title, summary, specialties, job experience and possibly interest sections to boost your visibility. Always look at the job descriptions that are listed on LinkedIn and copy those same keywords for skills and add them to your profile.
Having the skills job recruiters are looking for is what will get you the interview so remember, hiring recruiters or managers are always looking for skills first, the other soft skills are what sets Veterans apart.
Create a powerful summary section written in the 1st person format and use this to share what you do in the translated skill terms and who you can help and what type of position you are seeking.
Add a good quality picture to your profile, be sure you are wearing professional clothing – something you might wear to an interview.
Take advantage of many profile options: organizations, test scores, projects, certifications, volunteer experiences and causes can impress an employer.
Create a compelling headline that gets attention. Here’s a tip: Look at profiles of people who have jobs you might want and see how they create their title headline and the rest of their profile.
Get recommendations from your military supervisors and any previous employers. Get a minimum of 1 per job (the person you are requesting the recommendation from must be on LinkedIn in order to ask for the recommendation)
Maximize Your Job Seeker Premium Account
Key benefits: feature my application which goes to the top of the pile of applicants when applying online with your LI profile.
Build and leverage a network
Us Bureau of labor statistics says 70% of jobs are gained through networking so reach out to everyone you know in your existing network and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. Don’t send the standard default invitation that says “I’d like to invite you to join my LinkedIn network” rather personalize your invitation and let people know exactly why you are connecting with them. This will set yourself apart from a majority of people.
If you are a veteran, first thank you for your service! and second, if you have had success using LinkedIn please tell me more about it in the comments below. – JoAnne