Use LinkedIn to Thank Veterans for Their Service

So exactly what is a veteran? “A veteran – whether active duty, discharged, retired or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America, for an amount of up to, and including, his/her life.” Thank you to John O’Brien, who shared this quote in a recent article in the Concord Monitor.

I am so very thankful for all the men and women who have served or are serving our country to protect our freedom. So, on Monday, November 11th, I will be giving a shout-out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and … of course LinkedIn. 

Did you know that LinkedIn gives veterans a premium subscription FREE for one year? This is to help them connect with jobs in their post-deployment and reintegration phase and can result in the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The bad and the ugly are that many vets have taken huge pay cuts in take-home pay, lose their free military healthcare, and have no more housing allowances. They take steps backward in their careers to work in low-paying, lower-status jobs where they are unable to utilize their experience and education. 

George Anders wrote about a vet who stated that “People don’t know what to do with an infantry background.” This is very true that it is sometimes difficult for vets to civilianize their core competencies. It is equally difficult for corporate America to understand that vets truly lead with a mission-driven sense of purpose, thrive in teamwork, and shine with military-honed leadership skills and they should be considered to be viable candidates, sans prior corporate experience. They will adjust. 

The good news is that, according to the US Department of Labor (DOL), 3.2% of veterans are currently unemployed as of September 2019. However, that is not including all six of the measures of unemployment; only the U3.

The DOL reports the U3 monthly, but the truth is that they should really take note of the U6. Shadowstats notes that the reality of unemployment with the U6 more like 21%, which is why the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) is growing in membership, as people need more resources and support while in career transition. The good news is that we welcome vets. 

The PAGCG is delighted to have partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network (GPVN) and provided a couple cohorts of vets with career education (resumes, LinkedIn, networking, elevator pitches, etc.) through some grant funding. 

Both of our organizations are grateful to Penn State Great Valley along with the PSU alumni society and My Career Transitions for providing the beautiful space and extra volunteers for our last Veterans Career Information Panel and Dinner. We could not have done it without all the support and look forward to a repeat in 2020 at the Navy Yard location. 

You can learn more about the status of the job market for veterans but, it should be no surprise that not all veterans want W-2 jobs, as many take the entrepreneurial route. The GPVN runs an annual Veterans Shark Tank and I got to attend the regional qualifier recently. Also, they also run a Veteran Business Referral Network (VBRN), which I have attended as a patriot and supporter of veterans.  

I am also honored to have been asked to present a LinkedIn overview to three groups of the PA National Guard next month through Higher Ed Assist. They will get to hear why LinkedIn is so important for their career, whether they want to be an employee or pursue entrepreneurship.

If you want to see some LinkedIn profiles of veterans who have translated their core competencies into civilianized keywords (unless they intend to continue in the military), check these out: Andre McCoy, Patrick Montone, Peter Browne, Kenneth D’Aurizio, and Alex Pilkington (and watch his video resume too). A couple have jobs or have just landed jobs and another is seeking a new opportunity. If you want to hire a vet, reach out to me as I might have some referrals.

I will be thanking these vets and many others on Veteran’s Day on LinkedIn, so please feel free to share your gratitude also. There are a lot of regional veterans organizations who are members of the Delaware Valley Veterans Consortium (DVVC) so thank all of them too. 

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New LinkedIn Company Pages Features

In November, we can reflect on all the things we are grateful for, including some of the little things in life, like upcoming new features being rolled out by LinkedIn. 

For those of us who have LinkedIn company pages (like mine), we can now invite connections to follow the page. 

In addition, any company, university, or high school will also be able to add a Follow button.

This is a pretty exciting feature for any company, organization, or school who wants to help build their brand and community, especially in the hopes that employees will be willing to share the company content when they receive Employee Notifications once every seven days. 

Company Page Administrators can now be the catalyst for employee or volunteer engagement, celebrations, team moments, recognitions, kudos, spotlights, and more. 

So … when this feature rolls out on your page, get ready to thank or recognize your most valuable asset … your people.

If you need to attend a LinkedIn workshop, you will find the upcoming dates on the meetup under the events tab on our website with the next being Sat 11/23/19.

Don’t miss our upcoming featured events. If you are a working adult, come learn and network with us. You must be a member of the meetup before you can RSVP to any of these events and see the location and other details.

Add emojis, icons, and symbols to your LinkedIn profile

Symbols can be a fun touch and add a little “fun factor” to your LinkedIn profile, but use spaces before and after them. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if it’s a keyword that you don’t want to to be missed. Without knowing the algorithm for sure, best practices are to have spaces before and after your keywords and treat them just as you would find them in a dictionary.

♛ ✆ ☎ ✉ ☛ ★ ✔ ◊ ♦ ► ◄ ↔ ☆ ★ ♫ ■ ◆ ● ✪ ✰ ✔ ✘ ☐ ☑ ☒ ☚ ☜ ☝ ☞ ☟ ⇨ »

It’s very easy to copy and paste symbols into your profile if they are from an online platform. Here are a couple of sources for emojis, icons, and symbols from two of my favorite  LinkedIn colleagues.

See the experience section of Derick Mildred’s profile at

Here is an article on symbols  put out by Brynne Tillman in 2014 – click here.

Also check out emojipedia.

Don’t put symbols before or after your name as that violate the LinkedIn User Agreement. It’s a database and their are fields – first name, last name, email, phone, etc. You wouldn’t enter a symbol in your Salesforce or other database, so treat LinkedIn the same way, but have a little fun elsewhere in your profile. 

If you want to manage your career as an employed, self-employed, or in transition, we would love you to join our group. If you are a small business, recruiter, hiring manager, or HR professional and have a job to post, it’s a great place to do so for FREE! 

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LinkedIn Outreach & Being the Voice on Hiring People with Autism or Asperger’s

#TW Trigger Warning 

People who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger’s Syndrome, like anyone else, have their strengths as well as weaknesses. It’s a spectrum disorder, so ranges from high (verbal) to low (nonverbal) functioning and everything in between. For many, it’s an invisible disability and individuals may be keeping it as a deep dark secret, only to find themselves unsuccessful in their social interactions at work. 

>>> Please read to the end with my call to action. <<<

When high functioning employees do not reveal their disability, they may get admonished for needing to improve their soft skills and hear comments like these:

“We wish you would do this more … “

“We wish you would do this better …”

“We wish you wouldn’t do this…”

However, when employers strive to employ people on the spectrum (since employees typically do not reveal their status), employers may qualify for a tax benefit or deduction on IRS Form 8826 by accommodating someone with a disability. 

Employees with disabilities are no different than anyone else when it comes to feelings. They want to be accepted and feel like they are needed. Therefore, it is important that they choose the right job and are also hired for the right job. 

Both employers and employees, as well as their advocates, should work together to help these employees be successful at work. Some local organizations include: SpArc Philadelphia and Autism Society of Greater Philadelphia

With a little extra patience, understanding, and additional mentoring, coaching, or explaining, the benefits that the employers will gain may far outweigh the extra time spent to support employees with disabilities. 

If you are one of those employers with a kind heart and open mind, I thank you as a former K-12 special education teacher and wife of a man who had autism (but died of cancer before diagnosis), and now a parent of an autistic adult.

As an Executive Director of an all-inclusive and diverse nonprofit, we welcome everyone to our organization. We are a group of diverse business professionals and provide career education, support, and resources to all. Please read this Call to Action:

  1. Everyone is welcome to attend our free LinkedIn workshops at the Chester County Library each month to learn tips, tricks, and best practices. There are other LinkedIn workshops and many other career management workshops available in the region
  2. If you are an employer willing to hire people with disabilities, we invite you to post jobs in our LinkedIn group. You may also email us jobs to have this posted on our Facebook page (where we also post the jobs for that extra reach to our jobseekers). State that you are open to hiring individuals with disabilities. You can also send me a private message, if desired. Here are a few autism-friendly employers and another recent post to back up #5 EY
  3. Are you interested in hiring one of our autistic members who are current jobseekers? If you seek any of the following, please send us an email:  1) video editor, 2) MOS certified Excel & Access | Data Analysis, and 3) Product Manager & Business Analyst (with a photographic memory to remember details). 
  4. We invite employment attorneys or other specialists to contact us if they want to speak on employment law and the Do’s and Don’ts for this population. This is an extremely important topic where we could all benefit from more knowledge, not to mention patience, compassion, and better understanding. It would be great to have links to other helpful resources in the suburbs of Philadelphia. 
  5. If you would like to co-chair a chapter in the Elkins Park area for career support, for employed and unemployed individuals with autism, we want to hear from you. 
  6. Share your comments on this article on this post on our LinkedIn company page or on my LinkedIn profile.

Also, read this article and note that only 12% of the number of high functioning people with autism in Britain have full-time employment – only 12%. Although I am unaware of the percentage in our area, I champion employers to hire some quirky talent. It may be mutually rewarding!

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Happy Fri-YAY with 7 LinkedIn Tips

Although the LinkedIn algorithm will probably remain a mystery to us outsiders, some LinkedIn experts have been doing some research and testing lately and here is a recap of some useful tips from their recent posts. 

  1. Use only 3 hashtags in a post
  2. Try a text only post of 1300 characters or less that does not have any tagging or hashtags and see how that performs for views and comments.
  3. Note that if you have a link to post and it is over 26 characters that LinkedIn will shorten it to a URL. 
  4. When you want to post something with an external link from a website, blog, app, document, or file, do not put the link in right away. Instead, try these two different ways:
    1. Write and publish the post without a link. Then go back in and edit the post and include the link and then save.
    2. Write and publish the post without a link and include a line that says “See link in comments below.” Afterwards, post the link as the first comment. 
  5. Rather than post a video from Youtube or another outside source, post a “native” video that you have created. Any post which takes you away from the LinkedIn platform will, in essence, be penalized.
  6. If you are a jobseeker, make sure you have a current position listed (20xx – present) and not one with an end date. This might be a great reason to volunteer for an organization of your interest as you will both benefit. List your volunteer role as your current job.
  7. If you missed any of my LinkedIn articles from past issues of Vista-today and want more tips, type in Lynne Williams in the search bar.

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Do you have a LinkedIn company page to promote your business?

There are many businesses that have not taken advantage of an extra free landing page, otherwise known as a company page. If you don’t know how to do this, LinkedIn has step-by-step instructions.

LinkedIn will prompt you for a logo, description, location, and more. You will enter your website, phone number, industry, company size, headquarters location, type of entity, when founded, and specialties (which are keywords).  

Some companies may post jobs and you can also see the people that work at the company, as long as they have chosen the company via the drop down menu in their experience section. 

If the company does not come up on the drop down menu on an individual’s profile, then they have not created a company page. If the company exists, but they have no logo, they have not set aside an hour to create the page complete with logo and banner. 

If you are not a graphic designer, you can still create logos and banners (and other images for social media) with tools like Over, Canva, and Snappa. 

One tip I can offer is that if you have a white background on your logo, you might want to frame the border with a pop of color so it does not get drowned out on someone’s LinkedIn page. Good examples of that are the page for Clear English Speech or or LLC, llc Consulting or even my own page for the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group

Another useful tip is to aks for engagement from your employees, if they are willing, and ask if they would share your company’s content. On the post on the company page, click the three little dots in the upper right hand corner and then choose copy link to post. They can then embed the company’s post and make their own commentary. 

There are analytics available on the dashboard that include in the last 30 days how many visitors, number of custom button clicks, all post impressions, and followers. There are even further analytics available on the admin page, so check it out.

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Want to be a LinkedIn groupie?

With the ability to join 100 groups on LinkedIn, you can join organizations, affiliations, or interest areas of your choice to engage with and learn from others, as well as share your expertise. If you provide valuable content, you may get some new followers or build relationships in your new community.

Without a doubt, you should join your undergraduate and graduate alumni groups. Then join groups in the areas of your personal interests, as well as where your target audience might be. Who do you want to see you as a contributor and an expert in your field?

Unless you know the exact group name, you can search for groups by typing the keywords in the search bar at the top left and click the magnifying glass. Then, click on the MORE button and then GROUPS. Click on the name of the group you want to look at and read their ABOUT section. If you are interested, click REQUEST TO JOIN. If you ever want to leave a group that you have joined, click the 3 dots and then LEAVE THIS GROUP.

By staying active in LinkedIn groups and sharing your expertise, you can gain new followers who enjoy reading your content. Make sure you also LIKE and comment on other people’s posts. 

A cool feature of being in a group is the ability to send a member a message, even if you are not connected with them. At the top right click SEE ALL and it will bring up the current members and a message box to communicate and send direct messages. 

To access your groups on your profile, click on the SEE ALL button in the Interests section, which is at the  very bottom section of your profile. Then, you can click on the GROUPS tab. 

In case you didn’t know, you can hide the visibility of a group to which you belong. For example, if you are employed and are seeking another position, you can join job seeker and career transition groups and hide them on your profile so the boss and colleagues cannot see them. Click here for the instructions on how to do that. Want to learn more about groups? Click Here.

If you want to manage your career as an employed, self-employed, or in transition, we would love you to join our group. If you are a small business, recruiter, hiring manager, or HR professional and have a job to post, it’s a great place to do so for FREE! 

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