«

»

Jun 25

Send the Right Message with your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a terrific professional resource for military leaders in transition to the civilian workforce.

Unfortunately, too many senior leaders set up their LinkedIn profiles without first thinking about the message they wish to convey about who they are, how they stand out from their competition and what they will be able to contribute to a civilian employer.

…too many senior leaders set up their LinkedIn profiles without first thinking about the message they wish to convey about who they are, how they stand out from their competition and what they will be able to contribute to a civilian employer.

While there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to shaping one’s profile using social media, here are some simple things to avoid when creating your LinkedIn profile:

  • Posting a headshot of yourself in military uniform when you are about to retire or have already retired from military service. While you may feel most confident being photographed in your military uniform replete with the medals you earned throughout your career, a headshot in uniform sends a different message to a prospective employer. It may suggest that:
  1. you don’t know who you are when you are not wearing your uniform;
  2. you are going to have a hard time leaving the military hierarchy and military culture behind and may have difficulty adapting to a very different civilian culture and;
  3. you remain focused (and want the world to focus) on what you’ve achieved versus what you will be able to accomplish and make happen for the company, organization or federal agency, going forward.

In order to help a prospective employer imagine you as an employee, your LinkedIn headshot should be of you alone in civilian business attire, not in your military uniform. No need to include a photo with your spouse or your child or your dog.

  • Posting a photo of you fly-fishing. LinkedIn is not Facebook – Unless you are completely retired from the workforce (military and civilian), you may want to avoid using a photo that suggests your primary emphasis is on taking vacations rather than strengthening a company’s bottom line.
  • Using your headline to note that you are in transition from military service. Your LinkedIn photo, header, executive summary and the remainder of your profile must help a prospective employer understand the key talents and skills you possess; given the limited real estate you have to get your message across, remember that every word matters. It will be clear from your profile that you have spent the bulk of your professional career in the military and that you are now moving in a different direction, without your using the terms “in transition” or “in transition from military service.”
  • Relying on a quick cut-and-paste job of your resume to serve as your LinkedIn profile and thinking this will attract prospective employers to you. Be thoughtful in creating your profile, in selecting the most appropriate headshot and in ensuring the consistency of the key messages you deliver — online, in person and on paper — to prospective employers. Don’t simply slap something together quickly and cross your fingers.

Additionally, remember that LinkedIn, like all networking, is not a passive process; when used correctly, LinkedIn is a means to an end, rather than an end unto itself. Once your LinkedIn profile is complete, you will want to reach out to existing, former and prospective new connections in a strategic and thoughtful manner. Your goal is not to see how many hundreds or thousands of connections you can make, but rather to build and sustain relationships and ongoing communication with individuals you may be able to assist and who may be able to assist you, now and in the future.

What suggestions do YOU have for strengthening transitioning military leaders’ LinkedIn profiles?

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>