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You did it! You set up a LinkedIn account exactly as you were taught: with a clear profile photo that reflects who you are today, a background image that supports your career direction, a detailed, catchy and specific headline, an about section (complete with targeted keywords), and you’ve listed your experience in outcome-focused language. Bravo!

But now you need to post something.

I recently worked with a client who’d been on LinkedIn for two years and never made a single post. Her “activity” looked like a ghost town. I asked why she hadn’t started sharing content, and she replied, “I don’t know where to start. … The first post is the hardest!”

Your first post on Instagram, Facebook or even X (formerly known as Twitter) might feel easier, as they are more social and casual platforms. Knowing LinkedIn is a professional site can make posting feel more significant and daunting, as if everyone who matters will read your first post, judge you for it and decide your worth by what you write.

In some ways, they will, but over time, your first post really fades back in time as new content takes its place. If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while and post regularly, do you remember your very first post?

Me, either.

Regardless, it’s still intimidating. Here’s how you begin:

1. Consider Resharing a Post from Someone Else

Look at content shared by someone you respect and admire; maybe an article or comment they’ve offered. Repost that post to your network, adding something of your own. You might add something like:

“I agree! This is also my concern when using GenAI in the workplace. …” Or, “Great article, @susan. Thanks for sharing such a helpful article for those of us getting going in our post-military careers. …”

Posts by people who are credible and respected on LinkedIn also help grow your visibility and credibility. But don’t just share their post. Adding your own comments teaches us more about you.

2. Ask a Question

Your network hasn’t heard from you, and you might be curious about what they care about. Why not pose a question as your call to action in your first post? You could offer something like:

“Just exiting the Navy and am curious what the best groups here on LinkedIn are to join. What are your favorites?” Or: “I understand that networking is a big part of growing our careers. How many networking events do you attend each month? Your favorite ones?”

Questions engage others in your content and encourage them to share who they are and what they think about your prompt. The point of content on LinkedIn is to share knowledge and engage. Questions do this!

3. Offer Someone a Shoutout

Like the first point, if there’s someone on your team or in your network who’s been particularly helpful to you or to communities you care about, you could mention them on LinkedIn. Be sure not to be overly sentimental but express your appreciation and recognize their contribution to your growth.You might offer a post (tagging the person in question) such as:

“Thank you @michael for the great program you offered in our recent TAP class. I learned so much about social media and how to position myself.” Or: “Congratulations @leah for being promoted to senior director in the org. You deserve it!”

On that last one, always be sure @leah has publicly announced the promotion, lest you be the one to share it first.

The first post on LinkedIn is the most intimidating. Just remember, after you’ve shared 2,495+ posts, you won’t remember your first; just get going and start engaging with others on this important platform.

The author of “Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty” (2020) and “Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition” (2014), Lida Citroën is a keynote speaker and presenter, executive coach, popular TEDx speaker and instructor of multiple courses on LinkedIn Learning. She regularly presents workshops on personal branding, executive presence, leadership communication and reputation risk management.

A contributing writer for Military.com, Lida is a passionate supporter of the military, volunteering her time to help veterans transition to civilian careers and assist employers who seek to hire military talent. She regularly speaks at conferences, corporate meetings and events focused on military transition.

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