Earlier in the summer, I wrote about the new LinkedIn feature to help military spouses obtain and maintain professional opportunities through LinkedIn Premium at no cost.

The program is now live.

There are a few things you need to do to take advantage of this beneficial program.

To use the program, you must have moved in the past six months or are married to a transitioning veteran.

You must have a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities account. You can register for one online. The account then checks your credentials against the Department of Defense database to make sure you are eligible.

Once you get your LinkedIn premium account set up, there are a couple of things you should do to assist in your career search.

Choose a professional picture for your LinkedIn profile. Remember this is what prospective employers will be getting their first impression from. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a photo shoot. Have your spouse or friend snap a picture from your smart phone. Pick a neutral background. Dress appropriately for the photo.

Make sure you highlight what you are looking for. Employers want to find the right person to put in their open positions. Be sure your professional desires can be fulfilled by the employer’s expectation.

Previous experience is important to illustrate what goals you accomplished and how. It is also important to quantify them in an appropriate ways. For example, did an efficiency you implemented save the company a certain amount of money or maybe increased sales by a certain amount by executing innovative sales strategies.

Take note of the job descriptions. You can use some of those words if they match up in your own job experience. Also, use them in your cover or introduction message to the particular recruiter.

Connect with recruiters for companies you are interested in working for even if they don’t currently have a position open. Express interest and share your skill set. Keep in touch with them. You never know who they may be able to pass your profile and resume on to in the recruiting community.

Customize your URL. You can edit your profile and on the right hand side, there is an option to edit the URL for your page. LinkedIn only lets you use letters and numbers. Make it simple with just your name or additional numbers if your specific URL is taken.

My last tip is to make sure you add your volunteer experience. Moving is hard on a career and often times, we volunteer our hearts out to make sure we stay connected and give back. These volunteer positions can have a positive impact on your job search. Be creative in the description. Use figures to illustrate successes you have had. These accomplishments showcase your abilities. Use them to your advantage. Military spouses are great at doing, and sometimes we forget to sell ourselves using the things we have done.

Military spouses are able to claim this upgrade in a six month window after a permanent change of station. This is a saving of close to $300 per year for military spouses.

Remember to take advantage of LinkedIn’s groups in your field to include any military spouse groups. These groups can provide support, ideas and a sense of community in times when you may be running out steam. The flip side, you could help another job seeker who may be struggling.

Connecting is key when it comes to working the job hunt. Lift each other up. Celebrate success.

Good luck.

Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald Correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.

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