I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn - it’s part of my job. While there, I see veterans & military spouses using LinkedIn very effectively to brand themselves and position themselves as the next key employee at their target company. I also see those who use it very, very poorly. So what’s the difference and how do you use LinkedIn to land your civilian job?LinkedIn is NOT Facebook! Do not treat it as such! This is NOT where you and your friends hang out to chat about politics, how ineffective the VA is, or what guns you want to buy! This week I have seen posts of suicide hotlines (good intentioned, but belong on Facebook), opinions about The Donald, and profile pictures that show an individual taking a selfie in a bathroom mirror! PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! Please use LinkedIn as it is - a PROFESSIONAL social media tool. Remember that everyone who reads your profile fits into one of a couple categories: Your potential recruiter, Your potential boss, Your potential HR Director, Your potential colleagues or Your potential direct reports. Everything you post will inform the impression they have of you.The standard rules of the workplace should apply here:
- No politics, religion, or sexually/racially charged comments. Period.
- Only say things you would want your boss to hear you say.
- Only say things you would want your colleagues to hear you saying about them.
- Only say things you would say to the recruiter or HR Director’s face while interviewing for a job.
- Don’t get too personal - this is not the place to show pics of your family vacation unless it directly relates to a professional experience or lesson learned.
Bottom Line: All LinkedIn content should feed your professional image. This is not the place to open the kimono and let people in. You don’t know these people and they don’t know you.Before every post ask yourself:
- What does this tell others about me?
- How will it help me land my perfect job?
- How could it be misinterpreted, causing employers to pass me up?
- What will future clients think when they see this?
- How can I ensure I put my best foot forward with this post?
This is not being phony, it is being smart. It is ensuring the line between personal and professional remains where you (and your future employer) want it to be. Does that mean all employers want you to be locked down and professional 24/7? No. Increasingly, people value bringing your own personality to the office and adding your individual touches, but you won’t know the culture and environment of your new employer until you get there. It would stink to not even get an interview because someone misinterpreted a post you thought was funny and found it to be offensive.Do yourself a favor as you venture into social media, some of us for the very first time - know the difference between the platforms and don’t use LinkedIn like Facebook. It’s not the place.