By Lida Citroen
Professionals from every industry enjoy the value and power of LinkedIn to grow their professional network, promote their personal brand, connect with likeminded individuals, share information, celebrate success and much more.
With over 467 million users, LinkedIn provides a robust opportunity for job seekers to elevate their visibility, showcase their skills and experience, and connect with influencers who can help them secure their next job.
As a military veteran, you were likely taught that being on LinkedIn is important, but you may not have clear insight into its power when you search for a civilian job. As a job seeker, be sure to avoid these common LinkedIn mistakes:
Listing the wrong city. As part of your official LinkedIn profile, you are given the chance to list your city in your header. If your last duty station is Colorado Springs, Colorado, but you intend to relocate home to Little Rock, Arkansas after you leave the Army, you should list Little Rock as your city. This helps recruiters scouring for candidates in the area identify who can work there. If you list Colorado Springs, you will attract recruiters seeking candidates for jobs in Colorado.
Forgetting your “headline.” LinkedIn gives you a headline of one to three lines underneath your name. You get 120 characters to hook the viewer on your profile. Instead of listing, “seeking next opportunity,” consider something that uses the keywords for the types of job you’re seeking, is interesting and provides value to the viewer. For instance, instead of “Army veteran looking for IT job,” consider, “Passionate about using technology to solve complex business problems and integrate solutions for innovative companies.”
Wearing your uniform. Your profile photo is typically the first thing a viewer sees when they come to your LinkedIn profile. If you’ve already separated from the military and your profile photo continues to show you in uniform, you could send the message to recruiters that you’re not ready for a civilian job. Show yourself dressed in the clothes of the job you aspire to secure.
Showcasing your spouse. I’ve seen many LinkedIn profile photos where individuals use their wedding photo, baby picture, or photo of them with a pet instead of a professional headshot. LinkedIn is a professional online platform, and your photo should feature only you.
Not posting. The point of LinkedIn is to learn about each other and find ways to share value. If you only “like” other people’s posts, and don’t share your own perspective, ideas, thoughts, information or successes, others can’t get to know you. In particular, recruiters and hiring managers won’t learn who you are, what you value, what you’re knowledgeable in, and where you might be a fit for their company.
Job seekers on LinkedIn should remember that employers scour the platform looking for candidates who might not even be in the job market yet. They want to see what you write about, how you articulate your experience and value, and what benefit you could provide to their company.