Sunday, 27 October 2013

Military Professionals - Are You Missing On Networking ?

Career Transition Tips # 4; The Power Of Networking


“Networking has turned out to be the most powerful tool for job hunting in the recent times”.

In this five 
articles series  on career transition, we have already seen the value of accepting the change of uniform from military to corporate( click here), the overwhelming benefits of starting early in  career transition( click here) , and the importance of knowing yourself ( click here). In this fourth article, we will see the advantages of networking and what best practices the retiring/retired military professionals can employ for a better career.

With the popularity of social and professionals platforms such as facebook and LinkedIn ,Networking has gained enormous importance in today’s time for finding the right job opportunity. The traditional method of meeting each other also hold the  importance though in today’s fast –paced environment , there is too little time for face-to-face socializing and networking. 
Military professionals aren't encouraged to take active participation on social platforms during their military service due to the services constrains. On the other side, Networking is an art which an individual learns gradually, spending time on these platforms and examining new techniques. Therefore, when a serving personnel is on the verge of retirement, his network is restricted to only his circle, which constitutes mostly military professionals, whereas he is stepping into a world which is full of corporate people, who are unfamiliar to him. Also, In the times of recession and gloomy economy, employers and recruiters just don’t want a bad hire and therefore they want to recruit someone whose referrals are available to them from a trustworthy contact. All this together places the military professional at a major disadvantage when it’s time for him to enter the corporate world.  A few practices can help military professionals in finding their dream job with less stress.

An account on these social platforms will mark your presence for further exploitation. A LinkedIn account is your mini-resume and hence gives a good glance of your profile. Make sure to complete your profile in all aspects as doing so increases your chances of meeting the eye of the recruiter. LinkedIn is used extensively by recruiters to find the suitable candidates for their companies. Make sure your profile has recommendations from your links or contacts.

If you have lost touch with your school or college friends who are in corporate, use facebook and LinkedIn to get in touch with them. Those friends  have been in corporate for long and can really help you not only  in understanding the corporate dynamics but also in finding a suitable job in corporate. Suppose your school days friend happens to be connected with the recruiter of the company that you would like  to work with, Your friend can act as the required link between you and the recruiter. Try to take out some time during your leave to connect with some of your friends in corporate.

The social platforms also have companies pages and following them may help you in finding the job openings in that particular company( For M2C’s company page, click here and here).

Once you've shortlisted the career that you’re interested in, you can join the domain specific groups to know the various practices,  and take part in discussion related to these groups. For example, if you’re interested in Aerospace and Defence industry, joining groups of this field will allow you to interact with professionals working in various Aerospace and Defence industries. You can even connect with them and seek their suggestion on how to make your profile stronger. Also once you actively participate in various discussions on these groups, you will start getting noticed by the industry people and you will find more and more people are viewing your profile. This way you increase your chances of your profile meeting the eye of the recruiter.

Once you’ve shortlisted 20-30 companies that you want to work with, you can use the search engine in LinkedIn  to know which all employees are from military in that company. For example you are interested in working with XYZ company  and you want to know the work culture and the environment from a ex-military professional working in that company, you may search with the company’s name and Indian army or Air force or Navy , you will get a list of military experienced professionals who have worked in the past or are working presently with the company. You can even be friend with them to get a lead for working with that company. The shared values of our past military profession allows an opportunity for us to connect with  other military professionals and help out each other.  

In this telescopic world, networking has become an essential job finding tool and a detailed understanding of the best practices in networking allows the exploitation of this tool to our advantage. Those who actively engage with other professionals face to face and also on social platforms will gain more than those who use only one of the two ways. Other related articleHow to exploit best out of networking sites
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