In today’s job market, it is important to engage companies, hiring managers, and fellow veterans through effective networking. Have you joined LinkedIn yet? LinkedIn is a professional online networking website (similar in some ways to Facebook) that “connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” You can utilize LinkedIn to find virtual networking opportunities, conduct an online job search, create and maintain professional relationships, and contact prospective employers.
There are a plethora of resources available – such as VetNet – that explain how to utilize LinkedIn, but let’s focus on some of the more nuanced ways in which you can make your job search more effective.
Connecting with Recruiters
There are recruiters looking to connect with you; you just have to find them. Shana Mays, a Veteran Transition Specialist here at Hire Heroes USA, connects with recruiters to find job opportunities for her veterans. Why does Shana do this? Because recruiters post and share a number of veteran-specific jobs through their online networks, particularly LinkedIn. Shana has identified a significant number of veteran opportunities through one recruiter in particular. She and the recruiter collaborate through LinkedIn to better serve veterans and identify suitable employment opportunities. Essentially, Shana sends the recruiter direct messages in reference to job-seeking veterans, and the recruiter provides information about how to direct those veterans to the industry-specific jobs they are seeking.
Please note that while these recruiters can be a great resource in and of themselves, you should be careful about how you interact with unfamiliar contacts. Just like you evaluate your personal relationships, you should evaluate the individuals that reach out to you via LinkedIn. There may be individuals and organizations of unknown legitimacy that might try to connect with you. As a screening mechanism, we recommend filtering solicitation requests by asking recruiters to send a brief summary of their organization and how they can help you.
Personalizing by Interests
LinkedIn allows you to set your “Interests” and “Groups” to your job search interests. It is a good way for you to connect with others who share similar interests and engage them via group discussions. Further, you can change your chosen search parameters to better suit you as your interests and networks develop and expand. You can maintain consistency with this by setting up job search alerts. These alerts make it easy to save search parameters and receive automatic updates daily, weekly, or monthly.
Pairing Job Search Tools
To make the most out of your job search, pair traditional job search tools, such as Indeed.com, with LinkedIn. A great way to do this is by researching a specific company on LinkedIn and then searching for jobs available with that company on Indeed. You can then go back to LinkedIn and reach out to potential connections that you identified during your search in order to inquire about the specific job postings.
Utilizing Veteran Benefits
Our final tip of advice: don’t forget that you’re eligible for a free LinkedIn premium account with a one-year LinkedIn Job Seeker subscription by joining the Veteran Mentor Network’s LinkedIn Job Seeker Subscription subgroup. With a premium account you can contact anyone on LinkedIn, access expanded profiles of people outside your network, see more profiles with every search, zero-in on leads with advanced search filters, get the full list of who has viewed your profile, manage your contacts and profiles, and get full-name visibility for all 3rd degree connections.
Finding the Right Tool for You
LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional network, and it can really enhance your job search. However, if you are seeking more traditional outlets for increasing your networking opportunities try Recruit Military. You can set up automated search parameters to have Recruit Military tell you about different job fairs that are occurring across the country, which of course can be narrowed by geographic area. Veterans can also register for updates and get job leads from the website directly.