By: Hannah Becker
“Personal relationship are always the key to good business,” stated self-made billionaire Lindsay Fox. Regardless of where you’re located, what industry you work in, or your experience level, your network is key to professional success. Developing professional networks can be quite the challenge for today’s transitory military spouses, as frequent relocations, demanding lifestyle, and other stresses of being “married to the service” require a unique approach for network cultivation. Here are a few tips for cultivating a location-independent network, even if it is from thousands of miles away:
We all live in the digital age. Instead of chatting with your neighbor over a glass of sweet tea, or flipping through the phone book (or rolodex!) before giving someone a ring, today’s communication methods are primarily digital. This shift in communication preferences requires adaptation into our networking strategy. Thankfully, we have a wonderful platform exclusively designed to help professional connect—LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn profile is one of those things in which you get out about as much as you put in. Beef up your LinkedIn profile with a professional headshot, eye-catching tagline, descriptive summary, and engaging work history. Prioritize increasing your online connections, skill endorsements and posted recommendations. Consider publishing industry related content on LinkedIn Pulse.
My junior high basketball coach always emphasized, “It’s all about the follow through.” While this athletically derived adage works miracles on free throws, its applications extend into the networking game. Introductions are great, but completely worthless for your career development unless a relationship can be established.
Staying in touch across countries and oceans (as many of us military spouses find ourselves) can present a unique set of challenges for the “follow through”. Add new contacts on your favorite social media channels and prioritize routine –monthly or quarterly—engagement. Reach out via e-mail to touch base on possible collaboration opportunities, share interesting industry articles, or update colleagues about exciting projects. Don’t fall into the trap of only communicating with your connections when you need something.
Participating in group opportunities is a great way to expand your network. There are a variety of civilian and military spouse networking groups available; the Levo League, 1 Million Cups, local Chambers of Commerce and In Gear chapters are a few of my favorites. Be sure to incorporate both in-person and virtual opportunities into your networking strategy.
Not sure where to start? Reach out to similar professionals in your area, and ask for recommendations on organizational involvement. Most professionals are happy to recommend organizations they find useful.
While military life present unique challenges to today’s spouses’ professional pursuits, cultivation of a network without limits is a practical possibility thanks to technological advances. Prioritize digital professional presence, consistently engage with your network, and become active in professional organizations–apply these three tips to your network strategy and watch your career opportunities soar.
About the Author:
Hannah Becker is an author, entrepreneur, professor, and military spouse. She currently provides millennial marketing & PR consulting services through Becker Marketing & PR, and owns the grass fed beef operation, Willow Springs Farm. Hannah is passionate about military spouses achieving their professional goals. Follow Hannah on Twitter at @MotivatedGenY and learn more about her professional journey at: www.themotivatedmillennial.com - See more at: http://moaablogs.org/spouse/page/6/#sthash.g4GCuV7B.dpuf