A number of great networking tools and techniques can be used in the pursuit of “networking nirvana” and the ideal job opportunity. Here are two of those tools you should be using in your post-military career search.
LinkedIn. This professional networking site has more than 500 million professional members worldwide. That's a lot of potential networking contacts! An effective profile is one that has a photo, which greatly increases the likelihood that it will be viewed - 14 times more likely according to LinkedIn.
Your branding is also important - the headline under your name. This shouldn't be used for your job title but rather used to highlight your skill set. And when reaching out to other professionals with a connection request, be sure to personalize it and use a reassuring subject line. Doing so will help the recipient understand why you want them in your professional network and assuage any personal security concerns.
[RELATED: Visit MOAA's Career Center]
Elevator speech. Being prepared when conversing with others means knowing what to say when asked about a change in career or a shift in professional aspirations. This is a chance to provide a few essential details that inform the listener of key skills, abilities, and qualifications. An effective elevator speech generally is no longer than about a minute. Write it out, practice delivering it to company representatives at career fairs, to networking contacts, or even to new acquaintances at a social event.
The ability to provide a polished sound bite about yourself is the hallmark of a true professional. Think about what you are saying from the perspective of the hiring manager. It isn't what you want to do but rather the skills you can bring to another company.
[RELATED: Not sold on the importance of an elevator speech? Here's more on why you need one.]
You can do this! Networking is a crucial skill well within everyone's reach and should be actively cultivated by all serious job-seekers.