Who is in Your Network?

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Ever submitted resumé after resumé and heard nothing back? Searching for a new position can get so disheartening we start to get excited when someone takes the time to tell us we didn’t get the job.

When your mission is to help people create their bigger future and find their dream job, you end up running into people experiencing this frustration a lot. Our advice? Stop with the resumés, you’re not very likely to get a position that way.

Don’t get us wrong, having a well-crafted, company-tailored resumé is important. That’s why one of the first things we do in our ADU LIVE: 21-day Sprint Course is send every past or present service member in the course’s resumé to an expert to review it.

You’ve got to have a resumé and it has to be well made.

But relying on a resumé alone is not going to get you through the door. Think of it as if you and hundreds of others are shoving your piece of paper through the crack under the door. Someone inside might stop to pick one of them off the floor and it might be yours. But there are tons of papers and they are all on the floor.

What you need is someone to walk your resumé through the door – someone already on the inside.

How do you get there? Networking.

The majority of jobs are never even posted to the public and are filled through networking. There’s a lot to cover when it comes to networking, far more than can be covered in one article. In fact, our 21-day Sprint Courses spend a whole week on the topic. So let’s start at the beginning: who should you network with?

Know, Like, and Trust

Bob Kinnison, one of our ADU Coaches who spent 13 years at Apple, recommends you network with people who know, like, and trust you. If you don’t already have someone in your network who can help you get where you want to go, it’s okay to make a new connection – just make sure you get that connection to know, like, and trust you before you ask for a favor.

If you connect with someone new on LinkedIn, start out by asking them to take 15 minutes on a phone call with you to tell you a little bit about their journey to get where they are today. Building that relationship is key and they may offer to take your resumé to the right person without you even having to ask.

Understand Your Background

It’s best to network with people who understand your background. For past and present service members, this probably means veterans who are now working in the civilian sector or some civilians who have strong ties to the military.

The advantage is that those in the military community are likely to like and trust you very quickly because of your shared background. They will understand what your experience means. They can become confident you’d make a good employee more quickly and can share their confidence in your qualifications with the appropriate people, which can help bridge the gap in trying to translate military experience to the civilian world.

Are Where You Want to Be

Lastly, you should focus on networking with people who are in the industries, companies, and roles that fit what you are looking for. These people will be the best advisors to you, especially if they got where they are after coming out of the military.

They’re also the people who can walk your resumé through that door, or they’ll likely know someone inside a similar door who they can connect you to. You might not end up working at the company they work at but odds are you’ll end up at a similar one in the same industry.

Back to the Resumé

Of course, you need something good to hand these people once you’ve connected with them. That’s why your resumé is still important. Networking will get you through doors your resumé never could on its own. Ultimately, connecting with others opens a much less frustrating path to your bigger future.

Want more guidance in networking and finding your dream job? Check out our 21-day sprint course to get plugged into a family of past and present service members. We’re here to support you!

bethany@americandreamu.org

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