If you keep hearing how LinkedIn is the network to be on when you’re looking for work, you’re not alone. With over 90% of recruiters relying on the site, according to data from the Society of Human Resource Management, 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.
Veterans, as well as 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. The secret to doing this successfully, however, is to choose the industry or type of work you are most likely to qualify for and then optimize your skills section accordingly.
By doing this, you’ll be creating a profile that’s 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.
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 a 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.
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.
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