Those relationships are formed under exceptional circumstances. Naturally, regular networks aren’t built the same way. Why network in the first place? It’s not important just because everyone says it is, it’s important because it unlocks a wider range of career opportunities.
Not only that, but a good professional network can serve as a dependable support system, providing you access to:
CNBC reported that an estimated 70% of jobs are never published, and while a network might not necessarily find you unpublished jobs at first, it can help you expand your perspective of the working world. Before you start your network expansion mission, it’s worth connecting with your friends from the military – you might find that they’re further along the civilian career path than you (and have some useful advice).
There’s the why, here’s the how.
Find Your Resources
In the UK, Veteran’s Gateway offers a range of resources to connect you with veterans, including a 24/7 advisory board you can call. In the US, the Department of Veteran Affairs have a wealth of resources on their website – you can find them here: Support.
Similarly, Ex-Military Careers can connect you with fellow veterans, introduce you to networking events in your area, and direct you to veteran-friendly employers via our online community platform. Contact the team here, and we can find a path forward that works best for you.
Building Your Brand Online
Hearing the phrase ‘personal brand’ may have annoyed you senseless by now, and that’s okay, it’s an annoying phrase. That doesn’t stop it from being a powerful way to cultivate your network.
A strong personal brand (the version of you that you present to the world) can help connect you with people who share your interests and passions. You’re a veteran, so you’re already interesting – you can build on your professional experiences in the military to help you grow your brand.
It’s important to establish a strong presence on a platform like LinkedIn – as the world’s largest professional networking site, it’s likely the best place to start growing your personal brand in a way that benefits your career growth.
Here are some tips to help you get growing:
Attend Networking Events
Events are superb opportunities to meet engaged, friendly, like-minded individuals. Ever since the COVID lockdowns lifted, networking events have exploded in popularity. Check Meetup, Eventbrite, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all great platforms for finding relevant events in your area.
We love events too, we recently held Forces2Pharma, a virtual event that enabled us to connect with veterans hoping to break into the pharmaceutical industry (an opportunity-rich space for veterans’ skill sets).
Ideally, you should make it as easy as possible to connect with others. LinkedIn has an option to connect via the quick scan of a QR code – just tap the search bar and a QR icon should appear on the right.
It’s difficult to network without talking to anyone. Impossible, some would say. Introducing yourself to people is not as weird or daunting as it might seem. It’s important to remember that others are trying to form connections too.
Speaking of saying hello – if you need some support with growing your network, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Ex-Military Careers today. We’re here to help.