If you are a military veteran you need to be using LinkedIn. In fact, as a Veteran, you have some pretty significant advantages to using LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn is no longer optional… it’s the requirement. Here are three great reasons why.
Reason Number One
As a military veteran, you get several LinkedIn premium services for FREE. You can get an absolutely free Job Seeker Account, a free LinkedIn premium profile page and more. For a complete list of the services you have access to, visit LinkedIn’s Veterans page.
So, why do you need the premium account? Simple. There is nothing worse than getting an inquiry from a potential employer and not being able to answer. For example, LinkedIn’s premium “job seeker” account only allows you to send five “inMails” a month. If you want to reach more recruiters you need to upgrade. A business plus account allows you to send 15 “inMails” and the “Executive” plan allows up to 30.
Being able to communicate with potential recruiters is critical to your success in landing a dream job. So, being able to get a free upgrade to a premium account means you get to save some money and reach those key recruiters when you need to.
Reason Number Two
LinkedIn is one of the premier resources available to military veterans for networking. We won’t go into detail here but suffice to say that networking is the new requirement. Especially if you are serious about landing your dream job after your military service. To learn more you can read our article: Networking: A Veterans Most Potent Weapon To Land Their ‘Dream’ Job.
Reason Number Three
Here is a dirty little secret of the job market industry. Corporate headhunters (recruiters) look for passive candidates. According to the Network Journal and The Ladders; “there are enough unemployed people to fill every single job vacancy in the country.” And that is where active corporate recruiters come in.
You see, when large corporations hire a contract recruiter, a.k.a. “headhunter,” to fill a job vacancy, the corporation is not looking for someone who is currently unemployed. Corporate Recruiters are just too expensive. it ‘s just not cost effective to hire them to find someone who is unemployed. Corporations want “passive candidates.” Meaning, the corporate headhunter is hired to steal and pillage the absolute best possible candidates from other organizations. It’s why they are called headhunters. As it is reported in Ladders.com:
“In other words, the recruiter is paid to steal and pillage from competitive companies, convince the happily employed person that the grass is greener and get a huge commission from the new hire. Companies who use the types of recruiters are willing to pay you more than what you are making now in order to snatch you away from your cushy job. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you are reducing your chances of being discovered and having the opportunity to make more money.”
Rules On Using LinkedIn As A Military Veteran.
So, now that you know some of the top reasons you should be using LinkedIn, here are several rules you should follow.
Rule Number One
Don’t treat LinkedIn like other social media. LinkedIn stands apart and for good reason. According to Forbes Magazine; “As much as it’s convenient to merge our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram accounts into one large social networking experience, LinkedIn has a special designation: professional networking.”
Understand this, there is a huge difference between professional networking and personal networking. Never get the two confused. As a military veteran, you should know how to keep it professional on LinkedIn.
Rule Number Two
Always, and we mean always, use a current headshot for your photo. That means no fancy “gifs”, or pictures of your dog, or worse…your brand new AR-15.
Just use a simple black and white or color headshot…period. In fact, according to Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert; “you are seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a photo.”
Also remember this about your photo: never misrepresent your appearance. In fact, did you know that according to a report by Forbes, 19 percent of recruiters only look at your profile picture? So make sure it’s an accurate representation of you. Otherwise, they will think that you are deceitful and deceptive.
Rule Number Three
Never use the default connection request. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that LinkedIn is like Facebook or Twitter where more is better. On LinkedIn, it is always quality over quantity.
Understand this: recruiters and potential employers value your connections. In fact, many recruiters will hire you specifically because of the quality of your connections.
For example, let’s say Oracle wants to make inroads with Microsoft. So they hire a recruiter. That recruiter comes across your profile. The recruiter checks your “connections” and happens to notice that you are connected to the Vice President of New Business Development at Microsoft. Think you might have a shot at a new cushy dream job at Oracle? Well, according to Mashable, Forbes, and The Business News Daily, the answer is absolutely.
In fact, according to one research paper published by David Warner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; “the odds that jobs paying $40 per hour ($80,000 per year) will be filled through informal recruitment are about 66% better than the odds that a minimum-wage job ($7.25 per hour) will be filled through informal social media recruitment.“
Remember, when reaching out to form connections, the objective is to build a relationship and bond with the person you are reaching out to. Don’t start the conversation by asking for a job. Instead, try to see if you have a common interest, bond, or similar experiences. For example, did you happen to serve in the same theater of operation?
Do your research on the person you want to connect with and customize your message to make the end recipient take notice of your request.
Rule Number Four
Don’t forget your privacy settings. Many members on LinkedIn don’t realize that LinkedIn does, in fact, have privacy settings. The privacy settings are easy to find. Just sign in, and then select “settings” from the drop-down menu. It’s where your name appears in the upper right-hand corner.
Why do you need to pay attention to your privacy settings? Simple. With LinkedIn, you have a lot of control over who sees what when it comes to your profile and your connections. Currently, there are over 15 different security and privacy settings you can choose from. Knowing how each of them relates to your online presence is critical in ensuring you get your profile in front of the right people. And that your profile says exactly what you want it to say.
For example, you would be surprised at how many military veterans on LinkedIn forget to customize their public profile. So, perhaps that experience you got volunteering to rebuild the orphanage in Afghanistan is not showing up on your public profile. Why? Because you did not select the “volunteer experiences and causes” from the “customize your public profile” section.
Now, assume that the largest new home builder in America is looking for an on-site foreman for a new development in your area. Do you think your volunteer experience might sway their decision to hire you? If you said yes, then you are 100 percent correct.
In fact, Forbes Magazine’s article “Proof That Volunteering Pays off For Job Hunters” reported; “The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteerism, tracked more than 70,000 jobless people between 2002 and 2012 and found that those who volunteered had a 27% better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t.”
So, get into LinkedIn, make sure they know you’re are a military veteran, and follow the four rules above and you will greatly increase your odds in landing that dream job.