How Networking Can Increase Veterans' Job Prospects

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., holds an event.
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., holds an event on July 3, 2013. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley/U.S. Coast Guard photo)

We've all heard networking is a key job-search strategy, but how often do we actually use our connections or extend ourselves to make new contacts? Luckily, the internet makes networking a little easier.

Several veterans organizations have websites providing information on military reunions, how to locate old friends or news on current trends in veteran employment. You can connect with others by using web resources to learn more about professional associations and their benefits to members, or by initiating an alliance with veteran comrades who understand your skills and have shared similar employment experiences.

If you're a veteran currently looking for employment, these online resources will aid you in your networking and information-gathering efforts:

  • Mentor Network: Network with veterans in the industries you are interested in. Use military mentors to get plugged in and make new connections with veterans who can help your career.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs: This site provides information on benefits, such as health, burial, life insurance, education, home loans, and vocational rehabilitation and employment services.
  • Women in Military Service for America Memorial: This is the only national memorial honoring all 1.8 million servicewomen. This site provides access to names, addresses, photos and memorable experiences through the memorial's register. By registering in the database, you can locate old friends and reestablish a lost network of allies.

But visiting websites is just the beginning. Your interpersonal skills will come into play as you rebuild lost connections or make new ones. A networking campaign will require you to reach beyond the job postings and your computer screen to attend events, ask questions and get referrals.

Begin by seeking advice from those who can identify with your military background and have successfully transitioned into the civilian workplace. Other veterans who are aware of employment obstacles in the job market may provide you with support and advice that will help you make solid decisions.

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