I have talked before about the importance of networking. Lou Adler, CEO of the Adler Group, has a running survey on how people get jobs. The results are no surprise; the number one way is networking. As military spouses, we can get frustrated when we see this information because we feel as if there is no way we can network before we arrive to a new duty station. I want to tell you there is hope and you can network no matter where you are.
Networking for a military spouse can be daunting on top of everything else on our plates, but it does not need to be. Check out these simple ways to network.
- Begin with your current network. Do you friends, colleagues, supervisors or acquaintances know anyone in the area you will be PCSing? If so, have them connect you. If you are like me, you have friends spread throughout the world, so be sure to let your Facebook friends know you are seeking employment.
- While you are on Facebook, connect to pages and groups at your new duty station. I messaged the spouse club and they provided me with some local places that might be hiring.
- Are there professional organizations for your career field? If so connect to the chapter in your area. Give them a call, they may have leads on jobs or specific organizations you might want to target. If you are actively involved in the chapter where you live, reach out to see if anyone has contacts and have them connect you.
- Carve out 30 minutes three to five days a week and build up your LinkedIn network. Update your profile to show you are seeking work in your future location. Follow companies and connect to professionals in your career field at your target companies. Join in on conversations in professional groups.
- Reach out to the Employment Readiness Program at the local family center (Airmen and Family Readiness Center, Army Community Service, Coast Guard Work Life, Fleet and Family Support Center or Marine Corps Readiness Center). See if they have contacts in the community or send out job postings. Let them know what you are looking for.
- Do not forget about resources like the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership. Be sure to check out their LinkedIn page and upload a resume.
Networking does not have to be hard. Schedule some time before you PCS so your network is ready when you arrive. Taking a job takes time, by building a network before you PCS you may shorten that time or find a job more suited to your career.
Rose Holland is the spouse of an Active Duty Army Reservist and is an advocate for military and veteran families. She has three adult children and has been married to her husband, Michael, for 30 years. She is a certified Workforce Development Professional, Federal Career Coach and Job Search Trainer.