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How Veterans Can Optimize LinkedIn's Skills Section

How Veterans Can Optimize LinkedIn's Skills Section

You're not alone if you keep hearing how LinkedIn is the network to be on when you’re looking for work. With over 90% of recruiters relying on the site according to Career Blog, candidates for every type of position should have profiles. This isn’t just to enable you to be found by prospective employers, but to develop the online presence vital in today’s job market.

Optimize Your Skills Section

Veterans and companies looking to employ military hires can benefit especially from the site’s Featured Skills and Endorsements section, which allows candidates to detail experience and abilities gained in service in a way that matches employers’ search criteria. However, the secret to doing this successfully is choosing the industry or type of work you are most likely to qualify for and then optimizing your skills section accordingly.

  • Start by listing all the skills you have, then break them down into categories or “umbrella” skills.
  • Identify the 3 top skills of yours that most closely match the type of job you’re looking for, and reword them according to how LinkedIn lists them. Everything online these days is governed by search engine algorithms, and if your profile doesn’t contain the words the algorithm is programmed to look for, it’s not going to come up as a result.
  • Review the experience and achievements listed on your profile and in your resume, and adapt it to include these primary keywords.
  • Look for advertisements specifically for military hires or any other positions you believe you qualify for, and mimic some of the wording they use in your profile.

By doing this, you’ll create a profile specific to the industry you are targeting. At the same time, you market your strongest skills using the terminology potential employers are using, get your profile found both by people and search bots, and pass the initial computerized scrutiny on any applications you submit.

Highlight Your Achievements

A common mistake many people make on both their LinkedIn profile and their resume is to list the responsibilities of the jobs they’ve held in the past. Looking at this from the employer’s point of view, there’s little value in knowing what the candidate was supposed to do, if there’s no evidence of the fact that he (or she) actually did it. It’s important to highlight your achievements in each of your most recent, most relevant, or longest-term positions.

For example, instead of listing the duties of an administrative assistant as:

Responsible for tracking all admin work and ensuring timely monthly reports

Try saying it this way:

Tracked all admin work and achieved timely submission of monthly reports for X years.

Where possible, add information to support your claims. This can take the form of an endorsement or recommendation that specifically mentions your achievement, a screenshot showing the timely submission of monthly reports, or an image of an award certificate you received from your superior. There’s no right or wrong way to show evidence, as long as you can present something genuine or convincing.

Make the Connection

A strong, up-to-date LinkedIn profile with a well-rounded skills section can work wonders for candidates, and it enables companies open to military hires to connect the dots between your armed forces experience and the work they need to have done.

Visit our job board for employment listings for veterans, and follow our blog for regular news and advice.