Let MOAA Help Build Your Professional Network

Let MOAA Help Build Your Professional Network
MOAA networking in action during the 2019 MOAA Military and Veteran Networking Forum and Hiring Event at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (Jennifer Milbrett for MOAA)

You will hear over and over that networking is going to be the key to your professional success. But what is networking?


Simply put, networking is about developing casual, professional relationships. Regardless of your employment status, you should always cultivate and maintain a strong professional network. However, for servicemembers transitioning into a civilian career and for veterans seeking career advancement, networking takes on a heightened importance: It becomes your main source for information, job leads, and potential interview opportunities.  


You should ensure everyone you know -- not just professional colleagues, but friends and family, too -- understands your career interests and desires. Conversely, always remember that networking is a two-way street. You need to nurture, develop, and grow your relationships by being genuine and proactively ready to help others, as well. 


It is conservatively estimated 80% to 85% of all jobs come through networking. Therefore, you need to put in the right amount of effort on networking when you are in job-hunt mode.


[RELATED: Register for MOAA's Upcoming Transition and Career Events]


People tend to spend too much time on résumé development when they should be expanding and strengthening their networks. Initially, I would recommend putting 75% of your time toward networking, with the rest spent on résumé preparation and other administrative tasks. Think of networking as your overarching system and your résumé as just one tool in the toolbox. 


Bottom line: You should always be networking, whether you are actively looking for a job or not. To assist you in those efforts, MOAA has put together a series of interactive virtual events to help you do just that!


Three Can't-Miss Networking Events From MOAA

First, many of us recognize the significance of LinkedIn as a networking platform, but we don’t know how to maximize its true value and potential as a powerful online networking tool. If you're interested in mastering your LinkedIn profile, join two MOAA career transition specialists on Wednesday, July 8, at 2 p.m. Eastern for insights and information on the use of LinkedIn for networking. They will share LinkedIn best practices as well as answer your questions. Register here.  


Then, on Friday, July 10, at 1 p.m. Eastern, MOAA has assembled a panel of veterans from across various industries and sectors who have landed successfully in their civilian positions. They are ready to share key insights about how to find connections through the art of networking, and then to help you develop, hone, and maintain those relationships as you grow your network and progress along your career journey. Register here to join MOAA for an impactful conversation on networking.


After the conversation, put your networking tools into action! Register for MOAA's Virtual Networking Evening on Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. Eastern and connect with MOAA networkers and resource specialists at the national level, and from regions across the country, who are ready to introduce you to employers and help you find veteran support organizations in the local community.


Be sure to register for these exciting virtual events, which are part of MOAA's ongoing Virtual Career and Transition Toolkit series. Remember, for people in your network to help, they need to know you need assistance -- they will be glad for the opportunity to support you in attaining your professional career and employment aspirations.


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.