Networking for Military & Veterans
Step by Step Guide to Employment: Networking for Military & Veterans
As a job seeker looking for your first after military job, networking is going to be a big part of the process. There are different ways to network, from hearing about job opportunities from people you know to attending networking events. As you look to see what is available to you, make sure to be prepared. Here is what you need to know.
Virtual Networking Events
Virtual events are more common now than they have ever been. A virtual networking event means you can log in from your own home. This gives you the flexibility to attend events all over the US or even the world.
- You will be using audio and video and could be talking one-on-one with people or in a group setting. You will want to make sure to dress professionally and make sure your workplace is clean and quiet with good lighting.
- Make sure to test your camera, and that your internet connection is reliable.
- Be prepared to upload your resume and have that ready to go.
- Plan to log on early, and plan out your time at the event. There could be different options of where to spend your time.
Next Step: Virtual Job Fairs for Military and Veterans
In-person Networking Events
In-person networking events can be local-based, which is a plus if you are looking for a job in your local area. They can also be a good way to make connections at companies that offer jobs nationwide.
- If attending in-person, figure out your goals for the day. Know what you are wanting to get out of the event.
- Plan your outfit as if you are going to a job interview. You want to make a good first impression.
- Find events that align with your goals and match what you are looking for.
- Go into the event planning to meet people and establish relationships with potential employers and business partners. Through these relationships, you should be able to find opportunities or potential opportunities.
- If the networking event offers a career fair, you will be able to meet with employers, recruiters, as well as schools. Some employers could be recruiting for specific jobs on that day, and others could be getting their information out there.
- Know and rehearse your elevator pitch. You will need it. Your elevator pitch should be around 30 seconds and highlight your skills, goals, and what you are looking for. Prepare and practice before the event.
- Prepare your LinkedIn ahead of time. Add people from the event, and make sure your profile is complete and filled in. Once you connect with people you can connect with them on LinkedIn to continue your networking experiences.
- Bring enough resumes. You don’t want to run out. Make sure the resume is updated and ready to go. Having business cards will also be important to have. Put everything in a professional-looking folder or binder.
- When it comes to small talk, stay away from talking about politics, or complaints about past employers. Focus on why you are there at the event, the type of work you are looking for, and what you can bring to the table.
After the Event
After the networking event, you will want to spend some time decompressing all that you did. Stay organized and plan to follow up with people. Doing so will help you achieve the job goals you are working on.
There are many different types of networking events from industry-related events to professional conferences. Here are a few websites to help you find ones in your area or virtual events coming up that you can attend.
- How Veterans Can Grow Their Professional Networks
- 4 Reasons to Join The Military Spouse Network
- How Being On Time Can Impact Your Networking and Civilian Career