By Rose Holland, CWDP
LinkedIn is one of my favorite career and job search tools yet many have no clue how to utilize this site. It is not “professional Facebook” but rather a site focused on all things employment and career. Who cares? You should – according to Capterra, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn (but in 2014 only 36% of candidates were), 89% of recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn. Yes, you read those figures correctly. So why are you avoiding LinkedIn?!?
Use the “Help” Feature
Wondering how to get started? You are in luck there are great resources to help you.
There are many help topics ranging from getting started to growing your network to finding career opportunities. If you are a little leery about jumping in, the help section is a great place to start. There are topics on getting started, building your profile and how to utilize the many features.
Stat by setting up your profile
Start by using your resume to fill in your experience. Be sure to upload a professional photo – do not just crop a family photo. Not sure what to include? There are tons of articles out there to help you build a strong LinkedIn profile. Do some research. Search for others in your career field and see what they have on their profile to provide you with ideas.
Connect to your current and former colleagues. Connect to friends. Connect to acquaintances. Connect to those in your field or companies you are interested in joining.
Exploring careers? LinkedIn is a great place to connect to professionals in just about any field. Connect and ask them to have an advisory conversation to talk about their career and how you might get into the career field. People love to talk about their careers and how they got there.
PCSing? Connect to people in your profession and those working for your target companies at your new location. Do not just connect blindly to someone you do not know, send a short message explaining the reason for you connecting.
Not sure about directly connecting to someone you do not know? Ask for an introduction from one of your connections who is already connected to the person. I have done that numerous times to connect people to others in their field or with a company they are interested in.
Groups are a great way to network. Be sure to join the following:
- Military Spouse Advocacy Network, we want you to join in conversations and post your successes and challenges.
- Military Spouse Employment Partnership (and be sure to participate in the employer discussions). Few do and you will set yourself apart. It is a sure fire way to get your resume in the right hands!
- Veteran Mentor Network (Spouses are welcome) – this is a huge network with members across the world.
- You should also join groups related to your profession. These groups provide you with the latest information in your field and provide you with network of professionals across the country. Many organizations have national and regional or local groups. nterested in telework? There are groups to help you locate legitimate opportunities.
Join the groups and participate in discussions! Post your own questions or discussion points.
Follow companies and organizations
Explore the companies and see what they are sharing. Check out their job postings. Find out if this is a company that is a good fit. If it is a target company, comment on posts when appropriate. Get your name out there.
Use the search engine to find job postings. Check for postings on groups, there will be a link on the group page that will point you to the job section. Be sure to look for the company’s recruiters and connect with them!
Read posts and articles
You will see posts and articles from those you are connected to, your groups and companies you are following. Keep up with what is happening in your profession and industry. If you find someone whose posts are relevant to you, follow them and ask to connect. LinkedIn is a great place to find professional articles, career advice and job hunting tips.
Are you a veteran?
Veterans are able to receive a year of premium for free. This membership also gives you access to Lynda.com. Sign up at https://veterans.linkedin.com/. There are many veterans groups on LinkedIn. Explore and find the ones that are right for you.
SO GET STARTED!
LinkedIn is perfect for military spouses who move from location to location. You can network and connect to recruiters, other professionals and companies at your new location with ease. You can also find out about your profession and even ask those in your career field what your resume should look like in your new location.
What’s stopping you?