Job Hunting While Deployed
It can be difficult for service members to network when deployed to remote locations. Even preparing to retire from an overseas assignment can be challenging - as you have to decide where to live and how to secure employment, while living across the globe.
A CONUS job search from an OCONUS duty station can be complicated. Social media can be leveraged to facilitate networking opportunities before you return to America, even if you are stationed on a ship or in some remote location.
Social Media Can Help
Social media/Web 2.0 sites are social, interactive web-sharing applications that help you build an engaging online presence. Various sites include Slashdot, Yahoo!, naymz.com, ziggs.com, zoominfo, Xing, blogs, LinkedIn.com, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Digg, and Del.icio.us. There are scores of similar sites.
LinkedIn.com is for professional use and is an excellent place to meet people, network, and join groups (the perfect opportunity for services members to engage in professional discussions with other professionals in similar occupations - before leaving the military). Also, many recruiters now use LinkedIn.com as their primary resource for sourcing candidates.
Twitter is an up-to-the-minute comment network using only 140 characters to express a message.
Here are some current social media statistics:
- 226 million Google job searches per month (queries for jobs)
- Indeed (Job Aggregator) – 100 million unique visitors a month
- 2/3 of the global population use social networks
- Average growth of Facebook: 600K new profiles a day
- Average age of Facebook Users (25 – 44)
- More people read blogs than newspapers
- 100 million U-Tube Videos are watched daily
- 11% of US population is using Twitter (up-to-the-second happenings)
- Recruiters may read a résumé on their Blackberry or iPhone
Other Online Resources
Leveraging social media can pre-position your profile with potential recruiters and for future employment, long before you exit the military. Use social media strategically and consider targeting one or two specific sites that work best for your job search, i.e., post your profile on LinkedIn.com and join one or two groups. And, perhaps reconnect with your network via Facebook.
By posting your profile and joining groups long before you exit the military, then, when you start your job search, your name will most likely emerge on a Google search.
Recruiters often perform Google searches when they are ready to check references before they offer employment. They are looking to see if they see any "digital dirt" (so, refrain from posting unflattering pictures or regaling unflattering tales); and they are looking for positive, active on-line involvement. If the candidate is answering questions and participating intelligently on LinkedIn, for example, Google will capture and display those results, too.
Once you have reconnected with people via these media, you can conduct additional networking via email while you are deployed or living abroad.
Other Online Resources
Creating your profile and developing an online presence is only part of the online job search strategy. You may also consider posting your resume on major or niche job boards; or using these job boards for research to target specific companies and industries of interest. You can also post your resumes onto specific company website employment links.
Finally, you can search for jobs and relocation resources by visiting the Chamber of Commerce and other community websites in the state or city you are targeting to live in when you return to America.
Actively, but carefully, participate in Social Media to establish the important personal visibility you'll need when you are fully involved in a civilian job search. If you have limited time and access, focus on building a solid profile on one venue - LinkedIn - that will have the biggest payoff for you, being very careful not to reveal anything classified or tactical in nature.
For more information about leveraging social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) for your civilian job search, check out the articles in Job-Hunt's Social Media & Job Search section.
© Copyright, 2008, Diane Hudson Burns. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Job-Hunt's Job Search Expert for Veterans, Diane is a military transition job-search strategist and career coach. She designs and composes military conversion resumes and helps position service members for employment in corporate or Federal America. Diane holds eight industry credentials including Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach and Federal Job Search Trainer & Counselor and owns Career Marketing Techniques.