I’m a LinkedIn believer! I even bought a book about it. I’m a social networking addict, but LinkedIn was something I avoided for a while. I didn’t sign on until I knew that I’d be making my transition. I knew it would be important for networking, building my connections with others to find out about career opportunities, get advice, and keep in touch with fellow professionals.
LinkedIn isn’t magic. You don’t create a profile and suddenly have an Inbox full of job offers. You need to work on building connections with people you know, picking their brains, researching companies and available jobs, and ultimately doing the legwork on your own. But it’s still a great resource and first step for those considering leaving the military for the civilian workforce.
My LinkedIn Tips:
- Have a complete profile. Work on it! Just like your Facebook page, you are representing yourself and how others see you. Make a good first impression, and make it complete. Use a professional-looking photo. Use your resume as a guide. Make it complete, so you look put-together; a crappy profile looks like you didn’t make the effort.
- If you find a profile you like, let it be your guide! I learn a lot from seeing other people’s profiles. They may include something that I’ve overlooked, like an accomplishment I forgot about. They may have some great verbiage that sounds more professional than mine. My LinkedIn profile is a fluid thing, and I actually get messages from people complimenting me on it! But I owe thanks to the people who’ve already established themselves and set a good example for me to follow.
- Get recommendations. I’ve been told 1-2 recommendations per job can make a difference. I found former bosses/professors on LinkedIn, and sent them a recommendation request. When a couple of them asked for suggested comments, I provided them some examples of great ones I’d seen on other profiles. It’s like a mini-reference for your profile, and you aren’t ‘complete’ without a few.
- Find people. Look for fellow college alumni, join groups for veterans, and seek out good, solid connections. The great thing about LinkedIn is that is will recommend people for you to connect with, based on your current connections. It’s a great thing to review every once in a while, to build your base. You can also use the search box to reconnect with former employers and coworkers. This is a great way to find people who can give you those recommendations.
Do you use LinkedIn? Any tips?