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Online Networking: Don’t Set and Forget!

One in four military spouses are looking for work right now.  Are you one of them? If you’re not, you will be soon because — as we all know — kob seeking is a regular part of military life.

The good thing is, no matter how often you have to move, your online network (BeKnown, LinkedIn) moves with you. So how can you work that network into a job, or better yet, a career?

1. Be Current: Don’t set and forget.

Go to all of your social media channels where you are searchable. Was your picture taken more than three years ago? Was it taken at a bar or wedding?

If so, it’s time for a new picture. As good as you look in that strapless dress with your full face of make-up, it’s not professional.

Are you showcasing your work? Projects you’ve participated in should be listed and linked to (if possible) on your LinkedIn account? How about  your volunteer work?

If you haven’t worked on anything in a while, you can post things that you read elsewhere in your field of interest, and comment on them to show your knowledge in that area.

Do this now: Change your profile photo to a more professional one. Don’t have one? Call a friend. iPhone pics work fine, as long as there’s a clean background and you look professional. Already have that taken care of? Add something to your profile right now (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) that showcases your expertise.

2. Be Observant: Communicate with people where they are, not where you want them to be.

It has gotten a lot easier to keep in touch with people in your professional network.  Boost your visibility by communicating with people where they are online.

If someone tweets a lot, retweet them or respond to them on Twitter. If they post a lot on LinkedIn, comment on their posts.

People are busy, but it doesn’t take much to remind them that you’re alive and out here in the world! Doing this regularly will make it a whole lot easier to reach out to them when you need something.

Do this now: Identify 5 people whom you either know professionally, or know are in a field or location of interest and send them a message- right now.

3. Be Calculating: Set your sights on a target and make a plan.

When you apply for a job, always find the name of someone to send your resume to. This can be as easy as an online search, or you may have to call. It’s worth the time to make your application stand out against all the other “To Whom it May Concerns” and “Dear Hiring Managers.”

Once you identify the person you’re trying to reach, follow them on Twitter (if they tweet) and connect with them on LinkedIn. They don’t even have to accept or follow you back. But they will recognize your name when they see your resume… which ups your chances that they’ll read it.

And don’t forget to get your professional contacts to review you on LinkedIn. Feel weird about asking? Here’s a tip: review them first. I’m not talking about endorsing, but an actual recommendation. They’ll usually write you a review in return. And if not, you still made them feel good!

Do this now: Write a recommendation on LinkedIn for someone right now.

4. Be Clear: Explain what you’re looking for.

Some experts don’t think you need a summary on your LinkedIn profile, but as a military spouse you probably do. Say what kind of work you’re looking for—especially if your resume doesn’t reflect it—and explain why you’re qualified to do it.

Also, when you want someone to help you get a job, make your “ask” clear. Saying something like,  “I really want this job and have applied. Could you email so-and-so to check out my resume?” is a lot more effective than “I’m thinking about sending my resume.”

Do this now: Add a summary of your experience, specific skills you can apply to your next job, and what kind of job you’d like to have.

 

Besa Pinchotti is Communications Director at the National Military Family Association. Previously, she worked as a television news anchor and reporter and spent years covering Camp Lejeune, where she met her now veteran Marine husband. Besa also worked as a Marketer in the tech industry for several years. When she’s not Instagramming pics of her two adorable little girls, you can find her writing for her personal blog, MominDCity and for RedTricycle.

 

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