Know Your Networking Tactics

Know Your Networking Tactics
Attendees expand their contact lists during MOAA's 2023 networking event at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. (Photo by Mike Morones/MOAA)

Have you neglected your network?


Maybe you’ve been so focused on the other parts of a military transition that you’ve been unable to build or maintain connections. Maybe as a spouse on the move you feel like you’ve lost track of too many friends, colleagues, or co-workers. Maybe as a veteran in the private sector you’ve struggled to build new relationships.


Whatever the trouble, keep one message in mind:


“People want to help. So let them,” said Col. Brian Anderson, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s senior director of career transition and member services, in a recent webinar. “The key is to reach out and make those connections.”


[REGISTER NOW: Network for Success With MOAA (Oct. 2)]


How do you start (or restart) your newly energized network? Anderson offers the “3 W’s” for consideration.



Building your LinkedIn contacts will help your cause, but you’ll want to find other venues to make meaningful connections, Anderson said.


Some will have their roots in your past. A service academy or college alumni group can be “a powerful place for you to go to help you in the networking space,” he said. And don’t discount your high school days, either – “you have instant trust” with many friends from high school, and “it only takes a little bit of time to reestablish that.”


Or look toward the future by becoming active in the right professional association. Let your service experience start you in the right direction: Those in human resource specialties should consider joining the Society of Human Resource Management, for example, while engineers have the Society of American Military Engineers to help advance their career prospects.


[RELATED: 6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Job References]



You’ll likely find networking opportunities where you least expect them, Anderson said. This could include running into co-workers at the commissary or meeting old friends at the airport.


When it comes to targeted events, don’t overlook the informational interview, both as a way to connect with those in your industry of choice, and a way to grow your network.


At the end of these interviews, “what you should be asking for is not the job,” Anderson said. “You should be asking, ‘Who else should I talk to?’ And oftentimes, they’re going to connect you with other like-minded people that they think … would be most fertile for you.”



When it comes to networking, there is no off switch.


“It’s 24/7 as far as making those connections,” Anderson said.


Looking for your next opportunity? Check out MOAA’s full schedule of upcoming events and find a career fair, networking session, or seminar that fits your professional path.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on X: @KRLilley