LinkedIn, the social media network for professionals, is bringing Coast Guard spouses, families of the fallen and caregivers for veterans into the pool of those eligible for free access to its Premium program.
That adds more than 25,000 additional people eligible for this benefit. LinkedIn began offering the benefit to Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps spouses last July, in partnership with the Department of Defense, free for one year in connection with a permanent change of station, or PCS, move.
Normally, LinkedIn Premium costs $30 a month or $360 a year, said Sarah Roberts, head of military and veteran programs at LinkedIn.
Now, Roberts said, the benefit “it’s not just for one transition. It’s for multiple transitions --every time a spouse gets orders to PCS, every time there’s a job loss or a career change, or when they’re going through a major transition that will impact their career,” she said.
“In opening this up, we’re able to offer a much broader impact to the military spouse community. We hope we can address some of the unemployment and underemployment that spouses face in supporting their significant other,” she said.
Coast Guard spouses are eligible if they are making a PCS move, experiencing a job loss, making a career change, or within six months of their service member’s date of separation from the Coast Guard.
Spouses and children of those killed in the line of duty during post-9/11 conflicts -- who are Fry Scholarship recipients -- are also eligible. Family members of wounded veterans who are enrolled in the VA’s caregiver program are also eligible – parents, spouses and children who often interrupt their career paths to take care of their veteran.
LinkedIn Premium includes free access to their online library of more than 13,000 LinkedIn Learning courses, including their learning path specifically designed to help military spouses succeed in flexible, freelance or remote work opportunities. Premium also provides advanced information on how members compare to other applicants, including analysis of your education, experience and skills. It opens up more opportunities to message more people and employers you may not already be connected to, and build a professional network, Roberts said.
Robert said about 2,000 military spouses have signed up for the Premium service since the program was launched nearly a year ago. She’s seen spouses using the LinkedIn Premium to widen their opportunities, she said. It also gives military spouses more visibility to employers and recruiters, including those who are specifically seeking military spouses as potential job candidates, she said.
The Fry scholars and veteran caregivers are eligible based on the VA’s criteria. Caregivers often disrupt their own careers in their dedication to taking care of their service members. LinkedIn Premium can help them build out their professional network and relationships that could lead to job opportunities now or when they’re ready. It could also help them connect to flexible careers that can meet their needs, such as teleworking.
Navy spouse Rosette Obedoza said she has personally seen the benefits of LinkedIn Premium, having used it last year when she and her husband moved to the Washington, D.C. area. She was contacted through Premium last year by the CEO of a defense contracting company who hired her for some consulting work, reviewing a career and education career track for military spouses. Obedoza, who’s moving for the seventh time, has provided career and education counseling for the Navy in the past, and is an entrepreneur.
“I’m very truly grateful for the LinkedIn Premium service we have for the military community,” she said.
- Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps spouses interested in the benefit in connection with a PCS move can get access as soon as their service member has orders, by logging in to their MySECO account through the Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Opportunities portal, at https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal/content/view/8256. (It’s also available for job loss, career changes, other major changes.) You must complete the required training before access, either through a session with a SECO career coach, an online live webinar, or a self-paced training course.
- Coast Guard spouses should contact USCG Transition Program Manager, Rodney Whaley, 202-475-5158, or Rodney.B.Whaley@uscg.mil. He will provide access to PowerPoint training.
- Caregivers who are recipients of the VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, can request access by sending your full name, full name of the veteran you are caring for and contact information to: CAREGIVERLINKED.VBANYN@va.gov
- Fry Scholars can request access by sending your full name and contact information to: 223D.VBAVACO@va.gov
- For years, LinkedIn has offered veterans and transitioning service members a free one-year Premium subscription, working with ID.me for verification.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.