Networking and Self-Marketing Bring Job Search Success to Military Spouses
Networking leads to 70 percent of all jobs. While it isn't difficult, networking does take time and effort. It requires getting to know people in your chosen field and staying in touch with them throughout your career. If you want to get hired, you need to be your biggest fan. Here are a few ways to toot your own professional horn.
- Network extensively. Attend industry and college alumni events. Reach out to friends, family, former classmates and colleagues.
- Maximize the Internet. Use career-focused social media portals like LinkedIn to connect with former colleagues and bosses. Be sure you have a professional, noteworthy profile on Internet sites like LinkedIn. Join relevant industry groups.
- Reach out to potential employers. Find out about career opportunities and current openings at companies you like. You can also connect with employers who are committed to hiring military spouses through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.
- Make a great first impression. If you're invited to interview for a job, get there early, dress for the position and know something about the company. Be sure to bring along your business cards and a polished resume. It's also a great idea to have a well-rehearsed elevator speech when the interviewer asks you about yourself. This is a 30-second summary of your skills, experience and goals.
- Be confident. When you're confident in your abilities, others will notice.
- Write a winning resume. Make sure your resume is polished and professional.
- Write a brief thank you note within three days of meeting a potential employer. It should include where and when you met, any follow-up items and your contact information.
Take advantage of networking opportunities
- Career fairs provide an opportunity for job seekers to meet with people from several companies in one location. Employers may be recruiting for specific job openings or giving information on future job opportunities at these events. Also, look for job fairs exclusively for military spouses.
- Chamber of commerce groups hold regional events like mixers, workshops and fundraisers. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation leads the Hiring Our Heroes campaign, which helps veterans and military spouses find work.
- College career and networking events are generally for alumni and students and usually take place on campus.
- Community service groups allow volunteers to staff fundraisers, where you might interact with hiring authorities. Don't be afraid to work for free. Volunteering and interning are great ways to get your foot in the door, and it can be a great learning experience. The same is true for meetings, workshops and conferences for professional and trade associations.
Visit MySECO if you want to know more about marketing yourself for your career. You can also call 800-342-9647 or click here for overseas calling options to speak with a certified Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career counselor. You should also join the Military Spouse Employment Partnership LinkedIn page for potential contacts.