Getting Hired: LinkedIn 101
Like most of us, you’re probably on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, connecting with family, friends, and even some strangers along the way. Maybe you’ve used these platforms to find out about companies, products, or services that are beneficial to you. But have you heard of anyone being able to find a job on social media?
LinkedIn is the social networking answer to professional networking and job searching. In this article, you’ll learn why LinkedIn is a must in your job search, and how to get your profile up and running so employers can find you.
Why have a LinkedIn page?
- (Almost) everybody’s doing it: 9 out of 10 employers uses LinkedIn during the hiring process, and there are currently over 500 million members in more than 200 countries!
- Not just a pretty resume: 50% of hiring managers decide to contact an applicant based on their LinkedIn profile.
- You may know someone, or have a second-hand connection to someone who works at your target company: 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection.
- Jobs, jobs everywhere: There are 7.5 million monthly job postings on LinkedIn and you can set yourself up for daily job alerts so you can be an early applicant.
Setting up a profile on the website or the mobile app is a straightforward process. However, ensuring your profile is job search ready does require some effort. Let’s start by breaking down each portion, and talking about some do’s and don’ts along the way.
Since LinkedIn is a professional network, a professional photo is best. That means the photo is of ONLY you from the shoulders up with a neutral background. No kids or other people in the shot —that’s for the other social media platforms. Take your photo in traditional work clothing—not a military uniform or casual clothing. Part of the goal is to brand yourself as friendly and approachable, so make sure to smile!
Your photo should be taken by someone else, not a selfie. Cell phone cameras are advanced enough that if the lighting is good, your photo should turn out great.
As for a background photo—it isn’t required, but using a photo relating to your post military career path can help you show some personality. For example, if you’re looking for a job in computer programming, maybe try a photo of a computer with some coding on the screen; if you are looking for a sports marketing job, maybe a photo of a shelf holding a baseball, football, and soccer ball. Use your imagination here.
Your headline is a great place to share your career goals and skills that make you stand out. Remember, there are recruiters on LinkedIn and if you want to be found, you need to use the words and phrases that they would be looking for in a candidate. So, if you’re looking for project management roles, you need to have “project management” or “project manager” in your headline. I like using what I call a three skill approach. Here are some examples of strong headlines to show off your top three skills:
Project Management | Distribution Management | Operational Excellence
Account Manager | Telecommunications Sales | German Speaking
Maintenance Management | Lean Six Sigma Black Belt | Process Improvement
Avoid using phrases like “Transitioning Service Member,” “Retired Army Captain,” or “Actively Seeking Opportunities.” While it’s true you may be seeking your next career, recruiters on LinkedIn are not searching these terms and won’t find you when they’re looking for candidates. Your goal is to be seen, and your headline is the first thing someone will read after your name. Give your audience a reason to keep reading your profile.
Industry and Location
This section is basic, but often ignored. Don’t make that mistake— this is another way for recruiters to find you. For example, if they are hiring in San Antonio and you’re in San Antonio but it’s not listed in your profile… well, you see where I’m going with this!
Your summary is meant to be a high-level overview of your previous experience; it’s really going help show recruiters if you fit the candidate profile they’re seeking. LinkedIn can create a basic summary for you if the rest of your profile is completed, but it tends to be rather generic and boring. Spend about 5-10 sentences sharing what skills you posess and your experience.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a sample professional summary with simple writing prompts. Change the brackets to fit who you are and what you bring to the table.
[Job Title] and Military Veteran with a [Secret Security Clearance] and [how many] years of proven experience in the United States [Military Branch]. Accomplished measurable results while leading teams of [##] in a dynamic, fast – paced environment. Possess a comprehensive background in [Broad Areas of Knowledge and Experience] derived from conducting domestic and global operations in [Countries Worked or Deployed]. Managed risk upon multiple lines to protect assets, property, and equipment valued over [$$$] while meeting the expectations of senior leadership. Possess extensive knowledge in [Areas of Expertise]. Career supported by a [Degree if earned or mention the pursuit of your degree if you are currently in school].
For this section, you will enter your career history and accomplishments in reverse chronological order. If you are on active duty or a veteran, remember to civilianize your military job titles. For example, titles like “Captain” or “Squad Leader” may not be widely understood in the civilian world, so you will need to translate your titles to civilian terms like “Human Resources Supervisor,” “Senior Logistics Manager,” or “Healthcare Specialist.”
Education and Certifications
This is another straight forward area. Include your high school diploma only if you don’t have any higher degrees. If you have an Associate’s degree or higher, list all you have achieved and anything in progress.
List all hard and soft skills, industry experience, and technical skills you have here. You can include up to 50 skills, so take advantage of this real estate. When you apply to a job on LinkedIn, the recruiter and hiring manager can look at your profile and see if you have the skills they are looking for. Make it easy for them by having your skills section completed. Some good examples would be:
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Project Management
- Customer Service
- Budget Management
- Employee Development
Bonus Points: A LinkedIn URL
Fun fact: you can update your LinkedIn URL to further brand yourself in your job search. This is especially useful if you have a common name. Your default URL will be first-last-008230482, but you have the opportunity to change it to something that is unique, like your current job title, a certification you’ve earned, or the company you currently work for.
Some good examples I have seen are:
Using these steps will have your profile ready to interact with employers, other job seekers, and industry experts.
If you are a veteran, transitioning active duty service member, or a military spouse that isn’t 100% sure that your LinkedIn profile is ready for employers to see, know that one of the many services we offer through Hire Heroes USA is feedback on your LinkedIn profile. Your Transition Specialist or a volunteer mentor can give you helpful feedback give you advice on how to maximize your use of LinkedIn and put your best foot forward.