Remember the movie “Castaway” with Tom Hanks? He played a man who crashed landed on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And he lived there for many years, alone, until one day the tide washed up a piece of metal that he used to build something that helped him get off the island. The point was that you never know what will wash in with the tide and how it could be the very thing that will save you. This has been my experience with job hunting. You never know what will happen, so be prepared to use every resource.

 

Everyone who has served in the military is accustomed to making things happen with limited resources on a daily basis. When I transitioned about eight months ago, my number one resource was information. I wanted to do something that I had experience with in the military. The question was how to get started. Although I did not see it coming or knew what job I would ultimately get, I was prepared to take advantage of any opportunity no matter how small to make it happen. As a young soldier, and later as an officer, accomplishing the mission with the resources I had was the standard taught to me by many outstanding leaders.

 

I worked with a few organizations to get my military experiences translated into an effective resume. The transition assistance programs the military provides is a great start for younger soldiers who do not have a resume and that need to get something to work with. Use them and learn how you can translate your skills to create success for the company you are applying to.

 

The most important resource I was able to use was my individual network. For most of us leaving the military, we already have a network of people who are or have transitioned and who work in multiple industries. I have many friends that I have served with all over the world and keep in contact with them to this day. This is the one single factor that helped me get my new job and start my new career. My network kept me informed of any job openings near me that closely related to what I did in the military. Just before my last day of terminal leave, I was told by a former colleague that their company had an opening so I applied. A few days later I was interviewed and was hired shortly after that. Yes, I had a little luck in timing. But having my information ready and available with my resume closed the deal. Stay in contact with old friends you served with and let them know when you are transitioning. Using LinkedIn is a great way to get your message out and companies like Veterati can help you sharpen your message so recruiters and future companies can see what you have done and how you can bring value to their organization.

 

Now, knowing what you want to do is key. You may also have to accept starting at a lower position in a new career. Having the patience to develop within the job is key. Appreciate the opportunity and use it to move up in your career. You did not become a master sergeant in a month or a captain or colonel in six months — it took years of deployments, assignments, and training. Learn as you did when you were a young soldier and show the desire that you want to succeed. This is something we as the next generations of veterans can offer to any organization. 

 

Be prepared for changes that will happen almost daily in your job search. Most importantly, be prepared for what the tide might bring and run with it once it does.

As a digital mentorship platform where mentor-mentee conversations take place over the phone, think of your first call with each mentee as a chemistry match. With strong chemistry matches, you and your mentee may decide to continue building the relationship, perhaps off-line, or it might be easier to just continue scheduling via Veterati. Or, your mentorship session is more an informational interview where the mentee is trying to get specific questions answered. 1 conversation might already make a big difference to your mentee, and you might not need to build the relationship forward. It is ultimately up to you and your mentee.

 

William Lu, Navy Veteran with 27 Veterati mentors, shared the following after he landed his job: “I will be forever grateful to all my mentors for their time, advice and support. Through my mentors I have received LinkedIn advice, resume revisions, networking opportunities, interview prep, elevator pitch formatting, additional transition classes, reading materials, introductions to industry professionals and motivation to keep pushing. I do not know where I would be right now without all their help. I look forward to paying it forward to future transitioning veterans. Thank you so much!”  This gives some context into the incredible value you, as a mentor, bring to the service members and spouses seeking your advice. You can read more mentees’ stories here.

 

Thanks so much for becoming a mentor for Veterans & Military Spouses! You are wonderful and deeply valued & appreciated.

Before the Internet, we had Tribes.

 

Tribes were how we survived: strong social bonds, knowledge-sharing, taking care of each other. The Internet has made us more “connected” than ever, but actually, our connections with each other have weakened. We’ve gone from my neighbor having my kids over for lunch when I’m out on errands to browsing what my neighbor’s making for dinner on facebook feeds. We’ve gone from a village coming together to help a tribe member down-on-luck find a job through collective networks and advice, to one person, sitting at a computer, alone, sending out hundreds of job applications hoping one human being might respond.Our tribal bonds are weaker than ever.   Veterati is activating one of history’s most powerful tribes: the United States military, and the 94% of Americans who support our military, to solve the greatest crisis of opportunity for 1.5m Veterans and 5.5m military spouses today: finding a job.

 

When we approached this crisis, we didn’t think about it traditionally. Our big insight was that 80% of jobs don’t come through job boards, they come through the people who believe in you: your Tribe. So we asked a completely different question. “How do we connect Veterans to the people who believe in them? To the Tribe that will mentor, sponsor, and champion them to success after they come home from the battlefield?”

 

Enter Veterati: A digital mentoring platform that empowers Veterans and military spouses to book direct phone-calls with members of the MILITARY-PASSIONATE TRIBE (Veterans, military-passionate civilians, and employers who want to hire Veterans). Through these conversations, mentors level-up Veteran talent to become focused, confident, and interview-ready candidates– ready to land the jobs of their dreams.

 

Welcome to the Veterati Tribe.

I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn — it’s part of my job. While there, I see many veterans and military spouses using LinkedIn very effectively to brand themselves and position themselves as the next key employee at their target company. But I also see those who use it very, very poorly, hindering their chances to make a good impression with potential employers. So in this article, I wanted to talk about how to use LinkedIn the right way and avoid making some common mistakes.

 

LinkedIn is NOT Facebook! Do not treat it as such! This is NOT where you and your friends hang out to chat about politics, how ineffective the VA is, or what guns you want to buy! This week I have seen posts of suicide hotlines (good intentioned, but belong elsewhere, like Facebook), opinions about The Donald, and profile pictures that show an individual taking a selfie in a bathroom mirror! PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! Imagine you are a hiring recruiter from a Fortune 500 company. You want to hire someone who understands how to represent themselves in a business environment. They will avoid even considering someone who cannot do this on a social network for professionals.

 

This brings me to my next point. Use LinkedIn as it was designed to be used – as a PROFESSIONAL social media tool. Remember, everyone who reads your profile likely fits into one of the following categories: your potential recruiter, your potential boss, your potential HR director, your potential colleague, or your potential direct report. Everything you post will inform the impression they have of you.

 

The standard rules of the workplace should apply here:

  1. No politics, religion, or sexually/racially charged comments.
  2. Only say things you would want your boss to hear you say.
  3. Only say things you would want your colleagues to hear you saying about them.
  4. Only say things you would say to the recruiter or HR Director’s face while interviewing for a job.
  5. Don’t get too personal – this is not the place to show pics of your family vacation unless it directly relates to a professional experience or lesson learned.

 

Bottom Line: All LinkedIn content should bolster your professional image.

 

Before every post ask yourself:

 

  1. What does this tell others about me?
  2. How will it help me land my perfect job?
  3. How could my posts be misinterpreted?
  4. What will future clients think when they see this?
  5. How can I ensure I put my best foot forward with this post?

 

Carefully censoring yourself in a professional environment is not being phony. It is being smart. In the military, you are taught to follow long-standing traditions, manners of dress, and professional courtesies. While perhaps not as strict, the private sector is no different. Look at the profiles of peers and leaders in your industry to get an idea of what is acceptable.

 

Do yourself a favor as you venture into social media to tell the story behind your personal brand — know the difference between the platforms and don’t use LinkedIn like Facebook.