How Veterans can make the most out of LinkedIn
A version of this post originally appeared on LinkedIn.com.
As a partner of the VA, LinkedIn is proud to offer all Veterans one year of free access to our premium subscription. Whether through this offer, dozens of hours of LinkedIn Learning content, or the networks, data, and advice that empower you to get ahead, LinkedIn is committed to supporting your successful transition.
As the leader of LinkedIn’s Veterans initiatives, I’m regularly asked for advice by service members and Veterans going through the process of transitioning to civilian life. Below you’ll find a list of actions and resources that will bring you a leap forward in your transition.
Sign up for one year of premium for free
LinkedIn provides all eligible Veterans a free upgrade to a Premium Job Seeker account for one year. This offer can be redeemed at Veterans.linkedin.com. However, there are a few requirements to take advantage of this offer:
- You must not currently have a Premium subscription. If you are paying for Premium now or are currently on a 30-day free trial, you must cancel your subscription (via LinkedIn or iOS) and let it lapse before you apply for this offer. If you were asked for credit card information while signing up for any version of Premium, that is not the offer for Veterans. Cancel that before you apply for this.
- You must properly identify your military service on your profile. When selecting “company” in the experience section of your profile, you need to find the right military branch page to align yourself to (US Army, not 2nd Infantry Division). Because the branches have set their pages up independently of each other, there is no common naming convention. Make sure to use these pages: US Army, US Navy, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, & U.S. Coast Guard. There are associated pages for the various Guard and Reserve branches as well.
- See the bottom of Veterans.linkedin.com for the terms and conditions of this offer.
Join LinkedIn’s Veteran mentor network
LinkedIn’s Veteran Mentor Network is a phenomenal resource, particularly for those just getting their feet wet with networking and the job search process. If you haven’t built out a robust network for yourself, this is absolutely the place to come to seek a supportive community. The members of this group are eager to provide advice, answers, and connections. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation! You’ll be amazed at where it might get you.
Leverage LinkedIn learning
Your one year free upgrade to Premium includes an incredibly valuable resource – the library of over 10,000 business, technical, and creative courses on LinkedIn Learning. Whether you’re looking to touch up your Microsoft Excel skills, learn Java from scratch, or learn a new method of project management, almost anything you could want to know to advance professionally is in here.
Specifically for the Veteran community, LinkedIn has created two learning paths. This content is only available for those with LinkedIn Premium – see above for how to get access:
- Transition from Military to Civilian Employment: This learning path will help you navigate your job search, helping you build your professional identity, prepare for interviews, negotiate salary, and even get promoted once you’ve been hired.
- Transition from Military to Student Life: Covering everything from ACT/SAT/GRE test prep to essay writing, study skills, time management tips, and how to land an internship, this learning path should set you on a course to success – graduation and beyond.
In each of these paths you’ll find the following three courses, specifically designed for the military and Veteran community. You do not need Premium to access these, nor do you even need a LinkedIn account
- LinkedIn for Veterans: This course provides a “LinkedIn 101” tutorial for everything from selecting and uploading the right picture to searching and applying for jobs.
- Translating Your Military Skills to Civilian Employment: This course will help you understand the civilian hiring process and empower you to demonstrate your best self to potential employers.
- Finding Your Purpose After Active Duty: This course is all about the intangibles of transition – understanding your value to civilian employers, dealing with the uncertainty of transition, and wrestling with some of the challenges inherent in this process.
Conduct in-depth research on locations and industries
Every month LinkedIn publishes a workforce report tracking industry changes in 20 cities across the country. For those deciding where to live, what to do, what academic major to pursue, etc., this report keeps a finger on the pulse of the top places you may want to relocate, and will notably help inform your decision making process.
Follow LinkedIn’s blog for ongoing advice
LinkedIn’s blog (blog.linkedin.com) is a rich resource for information and tips on how to best use LinkedIn, how to build and leverage your network, how to prepare for and succeed in interviews, and much more. Check our blog every month for a roll-up of new product features that will help you with your search.
Download LinkedIn’s apps
Finally, LinkedIn has four apps I strongly recommend you download. You should be trying to build the habit of devoting time each day or each week to thinking about and planning for your transition, and the farther out the better. There’s no better way to do this than having the LinkedIn logo staring at you from your home screen.
I challenge everyone to start by opening one of our apps at least once per day while they are standing around waiting for something to happen, riding in an elevator, Uber, or Lyft, or sitting in front of the TV. Put them right next to your Facebook app and you can’t ignore them:
- LinkedIn: This app brings the LinkedIn desktop experience into your phone. Connect with other members, read articles and posts, research companies and profiles, send messages, and keep track of who’s viewing you and how your posts are doing.
- LinkedIn Groups: If you are highly engaged in groups, this app is for you – if you are not, I don’t recommend it. This app is clean and simple – it brings all of the features of our Groups product to mobile, and nothing else.
- LinkedIn Jobs: This app is a fantastic tool to keep track of jobs you’ve looked at and applied to, as well as keeping track of where you are in the application process. One feature I love about this app is the “popular among people like you” section which will help expose you to companies and roles you likely never thought of.
- LinkedIn Learning: I love this app – all of us have an hour here or there that we fill scrolling through Facebook or watching yet another episode of our Netflix binge. Take one hour per week to learn a new skill with this app instead. You’ll be amazed at how well prepared for interviews you’ll be, as you’ll learn the language and tools of the industries you’re trying to join.