If you’re looking to make the transition to the civilian workplace, social media could help. Many employers now post openings on Twitter and Facebook but as the world’s largest professionally oriented network, LinkedIn can be particularly helpful. The site claims to have over 380 million members in more than 200 countries and territories, so the coverage is enormous. LInkedIn can be useful for applying for posts directly, but it is mainly a great place to network and make contacts.
‘Demilitarising’ your profile may help your job search. In a ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ blogpost, former US Navy man Robert Martin said: “You need to remove all the typical military language from your write-up. Remember, very few of the people you come in contact with on LinkedIn will understand your background. Remember to write [your profile] from the perspective of a civilian because this [is] what you now are.”
To this end, it can also be advisable to use a professional-looking profile picture that does not depict you on service or in uniform. This doesn’t mean you should hide or not mention your background in your profile; your service history is a selling point. However, it’s important to translate and emphasise your transferable skills in ways that apply to Civvy Street.
Former US Marine Erick S. Van Savage said: “Being a marksman with an M-16 has little applicability to supply-chain management. But attributes such as self-discipline, dedication, leadership, courage, esprit de corps and a strong work ethic have great application to virtually all facets of business.”
Once you have a strong profile, it’s time to start making connections. It’s likely that people you served with will already be on the site and some may be able to offer opportunities or make further introductions. Reach out to people in the areas you are interested in and get involved, joining and participating in LinkedIn groups in the relevant fields.