This year’s Job Action Day is about helping our military transition from a Military Career to a New Career.
With broad military experience that typically requires travel for extended periods while on active duty, it can be difficult to maintain a network that will be there for you when you’re ready to transition to a civilian career. Here are some tips to reconnect and rebuild your network:
1) Create a networking plan. Breaking networking down into manageable time chunks helps eliminate overwhelm. Networking does not have to be a two-hour lunch or a boring event. Choose those activities that are right for you and your career goals.
2) Design a sound bite. Be clear about your career goal, what you bring to the table, and where you might want to work. The better focused you are, the better people can help you. And they do want to help!
3) Research and reach out via social media. With social media, location is not a barrier. If you’re stationed in a different location than where you’re planning to live upon your military retirement, social media is a good way to start rebuilding those local connections. The top three tools I recommend are: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You can follow thought leaders, companies, and businesses on Twitter. With LinkedIn, explore groups serving the military, college alumni, and other groups serving your target audience (type of company you wish to work for, type of career you wish to pursue). Use Facebook to connect and reconnect with family and friends.
4) Make a call. Oftentimes we are so into social we forget to pick up the phone. Voice to voice is a great way to rebuild connections. It’s more personal. Skype enables video with the call, which is almost like being there.
5) Meet in person. Already moved to your desired location? Attend local events. Explore organizations serving the military. (Not sure who serves military in your area? A quick Google search will reveal several organizations. Choose those that best fit your situation.) Volunteer for an organization you believe in. Volunteering leads to connections to local leaders and others passionate about the same things you value. Set up meetings with those in your network. Sound uncomfortable? Keep in mind, you served our country. People will want to help you. They just need to know how best to do so. Keep meetings short and on track.
After you’ve taken action on some of the above activities, follow up with those you’ve talked to and let them know how their information has helped. Stay connected. That way your network will be there for you the next time you need it. Thank you for your service to our country.
Copyright 2013: Wendy Terwelp – all rights reserved.
Wendy Terwelp is president of Opportunity Knocks and author of the Rock Your Network® series. Dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post, Terwelp provides consulting services, speaking engagements, and workshops on social media, networking, branding and career development for conferences, associations, and companies nationwide. Her private coaching clients regularly win raises, promotions, and jobs. Named one of the Top 15 Career Masterminds, Top 100 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers Must Follow, and Top 51 Job Search Blog posts, Terwelp is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Business Journal, More Magazine, radio, TV and other media.