I talk a LOT about big concepts and personal branding for service members, but the “little things” can have an incredibly negative impact. Make sure you are tracking the below items!

1) Email Addresses: I tell people using Yahoo and AOL email addresses that they appear to be technologically outdated, but it is even more important to have professional email address. You do NOT want your old nickname (lionofluv), spouse’s name or anything in the address that makes it unclear that this email is going to you and nobody else.

2) Spelling and grammar. Spell-check your profile twice and have someone else look at it. Worst case scenario: paste it into Word and scrutinize anything with red squiggly lines.

3) Personalize your LinkedIn URL. If you put your LinkedIn profile address at the top of your resume (you should – I am going to look you up anyway), you might want to remove all the random numbers and letters at the end of it.

Just go to your profile page (on a laptop) and click “Edit Your Public Profile” on the top right. On the right side of the screen that pops up, you will see a little pencil next to your current URL under the part that says “Edit URL.” Click that pencil to change your URL to something professional.

4) Profile picture. It should be a picture appropriate to the job you want. No fish (unless you want to be a fisherman), family members, sunglasses, seatbelts (why DO people take selfies in the car?) and please don’t literally cut someone from the picture. Just smile, dress for the job you want and have someone take a picture with your cell phone if you don’t have something better.

5) Background Image. Add one – it makes a difference!
Google “LinkedIn background images” and find the image that speaks to you and your next career. Save it to your computer and, from your profile page, add it to your profile by clicking the pencil to the far right of your photo. (Note: this can only be changed from the laptop/desktop version)

Fix these “little things” to keep our focus on what matters: the content you’ve provided and your fit for this job.


  • Michael Quinn

    2018 LinkedIn Top Voice for Management & Workplace

      Army Sergeant Major (Ret), Senior Manager at EY, 2018 LinkedIn Top Voice for Management & Workplace and CEO of HireMilitary – Michael is an expert on the military to civilian career transition and helps people around the world navigate LinkedIn, personal branding, networking, communication, social media and team building.