By Diane Hudson Burns
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.
Appropriate use of social media is necessary for a successful job search -- in most fields -- today. Poor use of social media (rants and nastiness, bad grammar and spelling) is deadly for a job search.
But, avoiding social media may be a sign that you are out-of-date with how business (and society) operate today.
Leveraging social media can pre-position your profile with potential recruiters and for future employment, long before you exit the military. A "complete" LinkedIn profile appears more often in both LinkedIn and Google search results more often than an incomplete one (LinkedIn provides a status indicator).
A complete LinkedIn profile provides more credibility than an incomplete one, and getting started before you hit the job market gives you the opportunity to be sure your profile is ready when you need it.
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 job candidate is 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.
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 and professional 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.
Job-Hunt's Job Search Expert for Veterans, Diane Hudson Burns 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.