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The Importance of Networking for Veterans: Part 1 – Core Components

Networking is an incredibly stressful element of any job hunt; whether you are a veteran or not. On top of that, some veterans may have it a little harder than most due to issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, and others. So how do you overcome that? You take it slow!

Essentially, you are starting over. Remember that there are numerous others out there in the same shoes as you, so you are not alone. The first thing I and most veterans who have left the military will tell you is that you need to have a support system. Your support system could be friends or family, a career coach, or online friends. Ideally, you want someone who is going to push you towards your goals when you are not feeling so motivated.

Second, I would recommend you only take what your exiting branch tells you with a grain of salt. There are numerous programs for separating service members in each of the branches. But in my experience, these programs are written by people who are still active in the military; so what could they possibly know about leaving the service. Granted a lot of information can be gained in these classes, and that information could be beneficial. But again, these classes are not designed by people with relevant experience.

Third, make sure your resume is squared away. It should be easy to read, and the information should be qualitative and quantitative. If you saved the unit $1,000,000 by going with green rubber gloves, put that on there and make it fit with the overall theme and flow of your resume. You will also want to make sure that your resume is no longer than two pages, and printed front to back. There is nothing worse than a poorly formatted resume that is too long.

Lastly, try to locate networking events in your area that pertain to your career field. Do not go to a networking event aimed at construction workers if you are an accountant. Whenever you attend one of these events, bring plenty of resumes, and make sure to dress sharp. First impressions are everything. Now, this is not a guarantee that you will receive a job offer on your first event, but everything helps.

These are just general suggestions to get you started on the job hunt. I know that these are covered in most military separations classes, but these are core topics for anyone wanting to leave military service. Learn these and keep them as job hunting principals.