Education. Your highest-level (most prominent) degree should also be listed first, but include all of your degrees. There is an alumni function that will tell you (and others) if someone from your school works at a particular company. Why waste the chance to have something in common?
Skills are incredibly important for identifying candidates AND determining your fit for a position based on a glance at your profile. Recruiters list applicable skills when setting up candidate queries, which is why I recommend that everyone adds the maximum of 50 to their profile. Based on your career choice, your skills should reflect every position requirement skill to ensure you are qualified.
One of the easiest ways to identify the right skills is by using your premium insights for jobs. Do a search on the “Jobs” tab for the position title you desire. Click on several of the open positions and premium insights will identify what the top-10 skills are for the people that have already applied for the job. Sometimes you just didn’t think to add them, and can now do so to improve your profile.
Veterans: Keeping in mind that only 1% of the population served, you should remove the military-specific skills from your profile that don’t apply to your desired job. The 99+ endorsements you received for Weapons Handling probably won’t help you get a position in the Human Resources field.
Tip: Your top 3 skills are more likely to gather endorsements. Reorder your skills to support your profile development by clicking the pencil next to “Add a new skill” and dragging the three horizontal lines next to a particular skill either up or down.
Industry. Your industry should be fairly self-evident based on your work experience. Change your industry by clicking on the pencil to the right of your photo and scrolling down. As you review the drop-down list, choose the one that aligns closely with your career objective. Note: It does not show up on your profile page, but will open up opportunities – you can see this on the image I shared from LinkedIn Recruiter.
Veterans: Depending on what you do next, you can change your industry from US Army to something else on the same screen you use to change your headline. Many industry choices are similar, but the algorithm will change slightly depending on which industry you select.
Groups. Join non-military groups in your next career field. This gives you automatic links to people in that field and raises the visibility of your profile. Don’t just join – make sure you participate to really increase the reach of your network.
Veteran Mentor Network Group: The most active veteran group on LinkedIn, the Veteran Mentor Network should be a key tool for your transition. It is a great group to join and review the many threads for information on transitioning, programs, jobs, mentorship, resume assistance, interview prep and to find connections in the companies for whom you want to work. Join the group, take some time reviewing the threads and, when you are ready to jump in, post a short message introducing yourself, explaining your goals and asking for some insight or advice. You will be amazed at the response.
Here are a few other tips for using LinkedIn:
Connections. The information that shows on your “feed” is anything posted, commented on, shared or liked by your 1st degree connections. I recommend that everyone transitioning add a TON (usually at least a hundred) of recruiters from the companies and industries that interest them. This will transform your feed to ensure you see what recruiters are posting – and they are posting vacancies they are actively looking to fill now. Just search the company’s name and “recruiter” to find lists. You can also just type recruiter and use the “Filter results by” section to the right of the page to narrow it down by location, company or industry. Both ways work. There is a LOT more as to the methodology of leveraging LinkedIn to truly network and find your next position, but this is a good way to build your network.
Open to Opportunities: Click on the “Jobs” tab at the top of your screen. Then look for and click on the hyperlink that says “Update career interests.” On the career interests page, click the button on the top of the screen that says “Let recruiters know you’re open.” It is that simple.
I would fill out the job title, location and industry sections to give recruiters an idea of what you are looking for, but just clicking the button will make an immediate difference. You can also use the space at the top of the job preferences page to indicate when you are available to start working. With the hiring window only traditionally going out 90 days (max), this will give recruiters the information they need and prevent them from wasting their time on a vacancy that requires an immediate fill.
How to find Mentors or Connections: In the search bar at the top left of your screen, type the title of the position you are looking to find after your transition. Once it populates with results, click on the “People” tab. Now we can refine the results to find mentors in the area you want to live that are also Veterans from your branch of service.
To the right of your results is the “Filter People By” section. Under the location part, click the box of the location where you want to retire (nearest metropolitan area is best). If it is not listed, just click the +add box and start typing your location – it will populate and then you can click it.
Now go to “Past Companies,” which is located a few sections down from the location filter. Add the branch of service by clicking “Add” and starting to type US Army, US Navy, US Air Force or US Marine Corps.
The search results will populate with people in the position you are looking for, in the area you want, that are Veterans from your branch of service. Once your profile looks good (from following my advice above), find the best matches and send them an InMail asking for a few minutes to get some mentorship, connect or conduct an informational interview.