LinkedIn for Recruiting Veterans
Lifting the Veil on How Recruiters Use LinkedIn to Find Viable Job Candidates
LinkedIn is not only a popular social media channel used by organizations and individuals to make business connections, it’s a powerful recruitment tool. According to LinkedIn’s own research, “social professional networks are the number one source of quality hires followed by internet job boards and employee referrals.”
LinkedIn’s Recruiter product tool provides a marketplace that matches employers with potential job candidates. Fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), the tool, according to LinkedIn, “helps recruiters and hiring managers source suitable talent and enables them to identify ‘talent pools’ that are optimized for the likelihood of making a successful hire.”
The candidates that come up in recruiters’ searches are ranked on a variety of factors and presented in descending order of those that LinkedIn’s algorithms believe to be most highly aligned with the recruiter’s search.
Connecting With Recruiters
Recruiters are engaged en masse with LinkedIn. You have only to enter the word “recruiter” in the search box at the top of your LinkedIn page to demonstrate this—the returning results will number in the hundreds of thousands! Narrow these results down to target recruiters representing the types of industries and/or jobs you’re interested in. For example:
- Recruiter +healthcare
- Recruiter +retail +sales
- Recruiter +financial services
Add +veteran to any of these searches to find recruiters who are veterans or who are actively recruiting veterans.
Then, simply reach out to those who represent good potential contacts by making a request to connect. Just click on the “Connect” button. But don’t hit “Send now.” Instead click on the box that says, “Add a note” and write a personalized message to the individual you hope to connect with. This can be something as simple as: “I’m a veteran with a background in XYZ. I’d like to add you to my network so I can learn about opportunities that match my background and areas of expertise.” You’ll be surprised at how many recruiters will accept your request. They are, after all, eagerly in search of candidates to help them fill the jobs they’re recruiting for.
It all begins with a profile. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. It should encapsulate the key elements of your background and how your background can benefit potential employers. The process of creating content for LinkedIn, though, is different from creating a traditional resume in one very important way: your LinkedIn profile needs to be “optimized” to boost the odds that it will come up in the searches that recruiters are conducting.
What does that mean? Optimizing your profile means incorporating the keywords that recruiters are likely to be using.
Merryn Roberts-Huntley is a career coach and the owner/principal of Made to Hire and the author of a book with the same name. She suggests using “a sample job description that fits what you’re looking for to get inspiration for the type of words and skills recruiters will be looking for.” Incorporating these keywords into your profile, she says, “can ensure that the profile will be seen in search results.” In addition, she suggests:
- Craft a strong headline. “What you present in these 120 spaces greatly affects how you show up in search results. Think of it as SEO for your career.”
- Make sure to write a summary statement. Tell your story and plug in keywords to provide a strong overview of your expertise and experience, as well as what you’re looking for in a job.
- Consider adding keywords to your job titles. “For example, ‘sales manager,’ could become ‘sales manager—pharmaceuticals, respiratory health,’ which will be much more effective at landing you in recruiters’ targeted search results.”
- Actually describe your past positions. “Take time to describe your responsibilities. Where possible, be sure to emphasize results and double check for ways to incorporate keywords that matter.”
Importantly, for veterans, the process of focusing on the keywords used by recruiters can help to avoid the use of military language that most recruiters will not understand. Translate what you did in the military into the language that is being used in the job descriptions and job postings that most reflect the type of position you’re looking for.
Theresa Santoro is director of human resources and operations at Actualize Consulting, a financial services consulting firm. She oversees all recruiting functions for the firm and considers LinkedIn to be one of her strongest recruiting tools. She offers a number of do’s and don’ts for using LinkedIn most effectively to connect with recruiters:
- Include a message with your connection invite; give a brief sentence that includes the “why” you want to connect.
- Ensure your personal profile reflects the keywords that recruiters are likely using when searching for candidates like you. This way, says Santoro, a connection can see who you are in the industry and what you do.
- Ensure your company has both a group page and company page to reference; the stronger the branding of the firm, the more likely candidates will be to look into you as a possible employer and connect. And keep both areas on LinkedIn alive; keep them fresh and active.
- Use a connection’s personal email address to reach out initially. Just because they have accepted your connection request doesn’t mean they want to hear from you on their personal accounts. Use the Message features that LinkedIn has to offer.
- Post your personal opinions or things that are not relevant to business on LinkedIn. Keep your network, profile, and activity to strict business guidelines only. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool that should play a prominent role in your job search efforts. Follow the tips above to build your network of recruiters to help ensure that your profile will show up prominently.
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