As an Army veteran, I’m a member of several military and veteran related LinkedIn groups. Recently someone posted an article titled, “19 Terrible LinkedIn Mistakes You’re Making.”
In the comments, people were talking about what type of picture is appropriate for your LinkedIn profile. Several people were adamant in keeping a military-style profile picture with oneself in a military uniform. And I “adamantly” disagree.
And this is true of everyone. You should ONLY use a professional photograph – “No spouses, no friends, no boats, no dogs, no black tie events…”
MY SUGGESTION TO TRANSITIONING MILITARY
“If you are using LinkedIn to transition out of the service, then you really should have a corporate-style photograph. No spouses, no friends, no boats, no dogs…just a professional head-shot.
Are you wearing your A’s or BDU’s to your corporate office? No. I live and work in the Washington, DC area — No matter where you are, there is a government agency or military office. We are very used to seeing people in and out of uniform, especially reservists. This is not an issue of pride or identity in regard to the uniform.
I’m a very proud vet and proud of those before me, serving now, and future. I want you to have the very best advantage you can when transitioning. You only have one chance for a first impression. Having helped hundreds of veterans from all services with their career transitions and LinkedIn profiles, I know people are hiring you for the future, based on your past (same is true for everyone).
They need to see you are ready for corporate/association/government life. And the picture is the first…the first element in LinkedIn someone will see. LinkedIn is not a resume…it is your representation of what image you want to present. It should be all about your accomplishments.
Since you are being hired based on your military experiences, put “Army Veteran” in your professional headline. If you really want to showcase your service accomplishments with pictures, create a PDF or PowerPoint and upload it to SlideShare for free and provide a link to prospective employers. [I’d be happy to share with anyone several career articles on resumes, answering “tell me about yourself,” and LinkedIn. Also be happy to review any current service member or vet’s LinkedIn profile].”
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Photography Source: Department of Defense