With some 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies using LinkedIn to recruit and source talent, and nine out of 10 employers using the platform during the hiring process, LinkedIn is a vital tool for servicemembers and military spouses trying to find work after service.
Sarah Roberts, head of military and veterans programs at LinkedIn, discussed the platform in an online workshop June 30, presented by The American Legion’s Veterans Education and Employment Division.
Roberts said LinkedIn wants to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
“When I think of our military community and how we can best support our military community and members in transition, it’s really to connect them with the resources and networks needed to find meaningful employment,” said Roberts, herself an Army veteran.
Roberts emphasized the importance of building a LinkedIn profile that attracts employers and tells one’s story, noting that a profile should speak to all potential employers while a resume is usually tailored to a specific job posting.
She said a LinkedIn profile should include:
A great photo, one without a distracting background;
A headline that highlights one’s professional identity;
A summary that includes both accomplishments and career aspirations;
Highlights of work and volunteer experience;
And skills, which can help boost profile views and recruiter searches.
Roberts said it’s also important to recruit, build and maintain a support network on LinkedIn. Data shows that 70 percent of people were hired at a company where they had a connection, she said.
It’s important to diversify those networks as well, Roberts said.
“Military networks are large, they’re healthy, they’re very closed. So what that means for us in the military community is, we have very closed networks; we’re connected with a lot of other military folks but we’re not being intentional about connecting with industry professionals outside the military,” Roberts said. “When you’re somebody who’s actively transitioning, the moment you connect with (a recruiter outside the military), they’re connected with a whole ecosystem of other recruiters. As soon as you connect with that recruiter, you now have access to all those second-degree connections.”
LinkedIn can also help jobseekers find their way to new opportunities through job searches and recommendations, as well as increasing their knowledge of the industry they’re interested in through informational interviews and company pages.
Roberts also pointed out linkedin.com/military, which includes a free year of access to LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Learning for qualified servicemembers, veterans and military spouses.