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NEWS | Aug. 18, 2016

Army Reserve Ambassadors briefed on LinkedIn veteran initiatives

By Alun Thomas 63rd Regional Support Command

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif – Transitioning from the military back to civilian life is one of the hardest journeys any veteran will take. 

Helping assist with this transition is LinkedIn, one of the world’s most prominent social networking websites, which helps millions of users seek work and build networks with prospective employers and fellow job hunters. 

As part of their yearly Army Reserve Ambassador Forum, ten ambassadors from the 63rd Regional Support Command traveled to LinkedIn’s headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley, Aug. 12, to learn how the company is helping veterans market themselves in a competitive job market. 

The group was briefed by U.S. Army veteran Daniel Savage, veterans program manager for LinkedIn, who said he too faced the challenge of finding a civilian career at the conclusion of his military tenure.

“When I was transitioning out, the veterans program manager position at LinkedIn is something I would never have imagined existed,” said Savage. “Well how do you find out about that? You need a map and some tools to navigate that map and that’s where LinkedIn comes in.”

The company’s vision for the future is called the Economic Graph, which essentially maps out the global economy, Savage said.

“We’re looking at having every member of the global workforce and every company to have a profile with LinkedIn, “ he said. “We’re trying to map out within those companies every job opportunity, every skill it would take to get that opportunity and what type of professional knowledge you need to maintain that skill.”

Knowing how to navigate these aspects is where LinkedIn comes in to help veterans on this path, Savage continued.

“We’ve set up specific tools and programs to provide transitioning veterans with ways to figure out who they need to talk to, what school to go to and what job they're going to be good at,” Savage continued. “There are four critical things at LinkedIn we feel are necessary to navigate this map.”

“First you need to build your professional identity. We help you build that identity in digital form. Obviously you have a chance to write a resume and submit that for a job, but I feel a LinkedIn profile is more valuable for a service member.”

“Secondly you need a professional network. Out of our 450 million users we have 2 million veterans. How do we get you connected with them first? That’s a major part of what we do here.”

“Then there’s establishing and advancing your professional career. Once you have that first job, how do make sure you’re connecting with other folks inside and outside your company to make sure you’re getting promoted? 

“Lastly there’s professional knowledge. How do we give you as a service member or veteran the skills and knowledge you need to get that job and to move forward in that career??

Savage said LinkedIn’s veterans associated website strives to help veterans with all these questions.

“When you’re getting out of the military, start there. Right off the bat veterans get a free premium subscription, which features advanced search tools and networking capabilities,” Savage explained. “Along with that is access to our learning platform, which has 6000 business and technical creative courses that veterans can access to get a job.”

Savage briefed the ambassadors how to create a profile and use the site to network with veterans seeking similar types of work. Often though transitioning veterans have no idea about LinkedIn or the services it provides, he said. 

“Even before they get out, veterans should get in the habit of building a network and leveraging it to explain his or her service in his job, then they’ll be much more advanced when it eventually becomes time to transition out of the service,” he explained.

Savage said LinkedIn recently hosted a group of veterans from Stanford University’s Veterans Accelerator Program, which includes students involved in two-year community college courses preparing for 4-year colleges. 

“They came to us and we gave them some coaching on social networking and it was exciting to be able to sit with these veterans one-on-one and instruct them how to optimize their profiles,” he said.

“It was a very cool day and I thought to myself, if we’ve succeeded they’ll get on the bus and I’ll get a bunch of new connections,” Savage said. “Sure enough they got on the bus and I got all these new invitations and connections.”

“That tells me we’re doing the right things,” he said.