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Military Transition: LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts

Ever wished you had a “Field Manual” of dos and don’ts for transitioning military service members using LinkedIn? Here you go:

If they aren’t hiring, don’t ask for a job

The goal on LinkedIn is to create a connection. Maybe that connection will get you a job right away, maybe they’ll get you a job months down the road, maybe they’ll make your job easier in the future, or maybe they’ll just give you some great advice. Don’t ask every connection you make for a job right away, especially if they aren’t hiring. Asking someone who isn’t hiring for a job likely won’t get you anywhere, and it can burn the bridge to that connection. Focus on building a solid connection so that if any positions do open up, you can come back to it. See below and the MOST effective way to get a conversation started.

Don’t send your resumé

At least, not right off the bat. Much like asking for a job from someone who isn’t hiring, sending your resumé to people cold-turkey generally doesn’t get you very far, and it can get annoying. There are much more effective ways to take advantage of the network available via LinkedIn.

Do connect with other veterans

Make a list of 25 companies you think you’d love to work for and with. Start at #25 and find a veteran within that organization that served in the same branch as you or even better the same brigade, unit, etc. “Hello sir, I see you transitioned out of the Army in 2016 and landed at a great company, do you have a few minutes to share how you successfully transitioned? I’m a few months out and I’d like to learn from successful individuals”. This will get a response. Everyone likes to share their successes.

There are many powerful search tools within LinkedIn to find people by almost anything – geographical location, place of education, prior military service, current industry… you name it, it’s probably there. This is quite an advantage for veterans because the military community is a tight-knit family. Just like you’d probably be willing to assist a transitioning service member who reached out to you for help 5 or 10 years down the line, so too are there thousands of veterans working in the civilian sector just waiting to give you a boost.

Not sure how to use these tools effectively? Sign up for ADU LIVE, our free 21-day sprint course and we’ll show you step by step.

Do ask for a 10-minute conversation

Once you connect with a veteran or other individual based on the strategy above, what comes next? Ask great questions! “Where did you find the landmines in your transition and interview process?” or “How is it best to communicate with those that make the hiring decisions?” ADU has a list of great questions and I’m sure our Linkedln community will pile on below in the comments.

Odds are that 10-minute conversation will turn into a longer one, and they may even offer to bring in your resumé at the end.

Do activate your 1-year free Premium Career subscription

Did you know that as a veteran you qualify for a free 1-year subscription for a Premium Career account? This is part of LinkedIn’s Social Impact program and unlocks many important tools, such as seeing who has viewed your profile. This subscription also gives you access to LinkedIn Learning resources. Just one small way LinkedIn can join in saying THANK YOU for your service!

Do write an effective summary

In a few short sentences without using too much military jargon, tell individuals who will view your profile what inspiring work you’ve already completed. Do your best to translate this into language civilians will understand – spell it out for them. If you’re not sure your summary is readable to civilians, send it to a trusted civilian friend and have them read it over for you. If they can’t understand it, chances are future employers won’t be able to either.

Next, include in your summary a little about where you hope to head and why. What’s your dream job? Don’t worry – if your career aspirations change, you can always go back and edit your summary!

While following these tips is not a guarantee you’ll land your dream job, they’ll certainly help move the needle in that direction. LinkedIn doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Want more strategies and tactics on how to build relationships over LinkedIn? Check out the resources we have available at


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