At G.I. Jobs we regularly champion how LinkedIn can benefit active, transitioning and veteran service members. As the site continues to grow and evolve, we think it is important to circle back on some of its most effective features while including some new ways veterans can make the most out of LinkedIn.
Free Premium Service
That’s right! LinkedIn offers veterans a free one-year subscription to their premium service. With a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium account, veterans can gain access to a number of exclusive job-seeking tools that aren’t available to basic subscribers.
For instance, veterans with a premium subscription can track who’s viewed their profile, which can help vets get a feel for how much traffic their job inquiries are generating. Vets will also be able to take advantage of LinkedIn’s learning tools and enhanced job-search filters.
To register for an account, veterans simply need to have a “basic” LinkedIn profile that reflects their military service. The registration form can be found here.
With just a basic subscription, LinkedIn’s job search feature is still one of the best that vets will find online.
Like most job search sites, LinkedIn allows users to filter their search by date posted, city, state and even industry, so users can cast a pretty wide net. What sets LinkedIn apart from the herd is its inherent function as a professional network.
Vets can research companies before applying simply by clicking into their profiles. Veterans can also seek out and connect with current and/or past employees for ground-level insights.
Veterans who take advantage of the Free Premium Subscription can filter their job search by desired salary and also gain insight into how competitive they are against other candidates for a given position. Vets can start their search here.
LinkedIn Learning & Lynda.Com
Another new way veterans can make the most out of LinkedIn is to use their Free Premium Subscription to access LinkedIn Learning & Lynda.com. With LinkedIn Learning, vets who are looking to break into a new field can watch courses on just about anything from bookkeeping to building a website. LinkedIn Learning offers a more generalized overview in any given field, offering courses, videos, and interviews with key figures in the industry.
Lynda.com has similar functionality, but is tailored more to the user’s specific needs. When registering for the site (which is free with LinkedIn Premium), vets can choose a career path and Lynda.com will suggest a series of videos and courses relevant to that career. Lynda.com also allows the user to filter their courses by those that are new, popular or recommended.
Networking on LinkedIn
Although this feature may seem a bit obvious, veterans can build their network in a more meaningful way by doing more than simply adding connections. Like most social media sites, we tend to gravitate toward the people we know.
While those connections on LinkedIn are valuable, sometimes it is more valuable to connect with individuals who have already established themselves in your desired industry. Vets with a Free Premium Subscription are granted 15 “InMail” credits, which gives the user 15 free introductory messages a month to send to whomever they please.
Vets can use these messages to add a personal touch to their connection request and start a dialogue with professionals in their desired field. If the messages don’t prove effective, vets can find value in studying the profile and career path of the potential connection. By doing this, vets can start to shape their own post-military career path.
Translating Military Experience
Service members transitioning out of the military will likely be told at some point that they need to translate their military experience into terms civilians can understand. This can be a daunting task because nobody is handing out a manual titled “Terms Civilians Understand.”
Fortunately, LinkedIn’s popularity within the veteran community provides vets with previously unavailable resources. According to LinkedIn’s “Annual Veteran Insights Report” from the summer of 2016, approximately 2.1 million military members and veterans are active on LinkedIn. There are literally millions of profiles veterans can now reference to help translate their service into civilian terms.
For instance, a transitioning Army infantryman can do a LinkedIn search for “Infantryman” and find countless professionals who have successfully transitioned and translated their service. Using these profiles as a template, vets can increase their visibility on LinkedIn and can also help when building a resume.
An often overlooked tool on LinkedIn is the ability to join groups. The volume of groups that exist on LinkedIn can be overwhelming. Groups range from college alumni associations to comic book collecting and just about everything in between.
Some groups offer more than others but finding the right group in a desired career field can prove invaluable.
Many vets have joined the Veteran Mentor Network group where they can leverage the connections of people outside their network to tap into the hidden job market. Joining a group in a desired career field will put a veteran close to professionals who can offer them tips, tricks and guidance into landing their next opportunity.
Many groups also offer news and information in a given field to help the group members remain informed about the happenings within a given industry. Vets can start by joining the G.I. Jobs group here!
Another new way veterans can make the most out of LinkedIn is by publishing original content on the site. LinkedIn recently opened their publishing tools to all members and can be found right on the vet’s profile.
This has given veterans a new and effective way of building their individual brand. Vets can use the tool to compose articles about their experience transitioning, offer tips and advice to other veterans or simply tell a story. Once published, these articles can be shared to various social media sites and/or posted in group discussions. All of which can help a veteran generate traffic to his or her personal LinkedIn profile.
Veterans can tailor their articles to specific audiences and if spotted by LinkedIn’s editorial team, the article can even be featured as a trending story on the site, where it will reach millions of members. For an overview on how to publish click here.
Using the listed features, veterans can make the most out of LinkedIn by doing more than just growing their number of connections. Veterans can pursue new career paths with the premium learning tools, translate their experience by comparison and build their brand with original content.