Though you’ve heard it before, it’s not what you know but who you know when looking for employment. The countless job sites inhabiting all corners of the Internet make it seem like cold applications are an acceptable form of job hunting, but they rarely end in even a call-back. In fact, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking, meaning you need to know someone before you’re going to be taken seriously for most positions. Even our SAVI business partners agree that they’re more likely to hire candidates who come recommended by other employees.
If you’re a Veteran new to the job scene, here are three ways to grow your Veteran connections and build your personal brand through networking.
Much of what attracts employers to employees is determining whether or not they would make a good culture fit within their company. One way they do this is through the personal brand you’ve cultivated. And one of the first places they’ll look for that brand is on a little site called LinkedIn. Oh, you’ve heard of it? LinkedIn started in 2003 as a job search tool and has grown to become the largest online professional networking platform in the world. According to research, 50 percent of LinkedIn members have found a job through a mutual connection on the site, and 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate candidates. So if you’re a Veteran entering into the civilian job market, networking via LinkedIn is a good place to start finding connections. LinkedIn is also military-friendly, as it offers military community members one year of free access to LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Learning. Go here to see if you’re eligible.
Veteran Networking Conferences
Despite the power of online networking resources, there isn’t anything that can replace a good old- fashioned, face-to-face meeting. That’s why networking conferences are another important aspect of getting your brand and name out there to potential employers. For Vets, it’s especially helpful to attend Veteran-exclusive conferences. Each of these events bring companies who are looking to hire Vets specifically. By just being a Veteran, you’ve already passed the first round. If you come with a solid personal brand intact, this is a great place for Vets to connect with business professionals who value candidates with military backgrounds and skill sets.
Connect and Build
Once you connect, whether online or off, the next step is to cultivate a relationship from that connection. Luckily for you, there’s a formula to building professional relationships and it’s pretty simple. First, reach out to that connection and set up a time for a quick informational interview. This is you showing you’re interested in the company and want to learn more. The key thing here is to NOT ask for a job. You’re simply showing interest and asking questions. Once you’ve had your meeting, send a thank you email and ask if there’s anyone else you can talk with to learn even more about the company’s culture. This is a great way to make sure the company knows you’re highly interested. Since most job openings aren’t advertised, this is also a technique to keep your name relevant if a position does become available. Put the time in and you may just reap the rewards.
SAVI works with businesses across various industries to offer relevant knowledge to Vets transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce. Contact us today to learn more about these business partners and how they’re serving the military community.