The sooner service members prepare for their transition out of the military, the better prepared they will be for civilian life. This is one of the many pieces of advice transitioning service members learned during a Transition Summit presented by the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program at Fort Bragg last week.

Service members who attended Thursday’s sessions of the Transition Summit also learned how to perfect their LinkedIn profiles during a session with Daniel Savage, head of Veterans Program at LinkedIn.

As a veteran, Savage said he empathized with the concerns of those transitioning from the military into civilian life. He advised attendees to make sure they quantified their tasks in the military and explained their rank. However, Savage cautioned veterans from going too far in “civilianizing” their resumes because many companies have specific veteran recruiters who do understand military tasks.

Another important aspect of a LinkedIn profile is cultivating recommendations, Savage said. He recommended reaching out to people for skill recommendations, including people who have gotten out and climbed the corporate ladder. Savage explained how to request these recommendations and said users can choose whether they want to include that specific recommendation on their profile.

These featured skills are the “thread that ties the LinkedIn system together,” according to Savage. Recruiters can search for possible job applicants using these skills, so Savage highlighted the importance of making sure they were up to date and accurate.

Attendees said the most beneficial part of the seminar was learning how to network using LinkedIn.

“I had no idea how to network through their system, but from that seminar, now I can go home and start figuring out who to talk to,” said Sgt. Jared Thomas, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

Although Thomas is a year away from leaving the Army, he said it was important to attend the Transition Summit events to figure out how to market himself and learn more about potential civilian jobs.

According to Savage, marketing oneself is another key part of the job search. He advised service members to reach out to recruiters to distinguish themselves and have a human interaction.

“People hire people they know and trust,” he said. “In just 15 minutes, you can lay that foundation of understanding and trust as to who you are professionally and what your goals are.”

The Transition Summit concluded on Friday afternoon with a job far that included several dozen companies committed to hiring veterans.

Thomas said he really enjoyed the hiring fair because he could talk to different potential employers.

“It was good to get actual face-to-face time so they can better explain to me what the job is actually like,” he said.

SFL-TAP is available for Soldiers transitioning out of the military within 18 months and retirees within 24 months. For more information, visit https://www.bragg.army.mil/index.php/my-fort-bragg/all-services/soldier-life-transition-assistance-program or call 396-2227.