3 Mistakes Service Members Typically Make on LinkedIn

Posted by Valerie Morrow

Mar 3, 2015 10:45:00 AM

iStock_000040905870_SmallWhether you’re a service member undergoing separation or a veteran in 100% online college classes, it’s time to land that position in the civilian world.

Most importantly, don’t doubt the skills you bring to the table. You have five of the tops things employers are looking for in new hires.

Did you know that LinkedIn recently started offering service members a free one-year job seeker subscription?

But let's face it, with more than 250 million people on LinkedIn, standing out from the crowd can be a bit of a challenge . . . unless you know what to avoid.

Common mistakes include:

  • Providing the wrong photo or not one at all
  • Using a summary that reads like a resume
  • Thinking network size doesn’t matter

Tip #1: Use the Right Photo

Using the wrong photo is just as bad as not using one at all. Go ahead - invest in a professional photo and make a great first impression.

Your photo should reflect the industry standards of your field. A good rule of thumb is to choose a photo where you look like someone at the highest level in your industry.

Vera Steiner Blore, an executive career consultant who works with senior military leaders in transition, advises against posting a profile picture wearing a military uniform.

“This can signal to an employer you are mentally not ready to leave the military for a civilian career. It also can signal you are trying to carry your rank forward, rather than adapting to a new workplace culture,” she says.

Tip #2: Create an Engaging Summary with Contact Information

Even if you’ve graduated from a military friendly university, you don’t want to bore your audience with a resume-like summary. Use your own voice and speak to the audience.

Do not use a third-person narrative. When a prospective employer reads your summary, you’ve got about 10 to 15 seconds to make your elevator speech

Create a killer headline, highlight your talents and make it easy for hiring managers and recruiters to contact you. Be sure to add your phone number and email. Here are some more detailed tips to get started.

Tip #3: The Number of Connections Matter

Putting up a profile on LinkedIn and waiting for things to happen isn’t the way to do it. Even though you’re in a virtual realm, you need to reach out to others and build relationships. It’s all about taking the time and effort to network.

Get to know the managers and recruiters on LinkedIn by identifying their needs and your talents. Continue to build your social capital by asking them for an introduction to other people that they know in the industry that interests you.

The more connections you have, the more career opportunities arise. Simply put, there’s power in numbers. What’s the magic number? Although it varies, this article says 501.

When it comes down to it, Lida Citroen warns, “Transitioning veterans shouldn’t just upload a resume to LinkedIn and wait for the phone to ring.”  

Just like a job interview, it’s all about making great first impressions. Take the time to do it right, and the doors will open up.

You just need to get your foot in the door. It's all about cracking the code of getting noticed. We'd done the homework, so you don't have too. All you need to do is click the banner below and download our free ebook.

military-to-civilian transition

Topics: military

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