Transitioning Veterans: 6 Must Dos

Simply having a LinkedIn profile and polished resume is not enough to differentiate yourself during your transition and job search. Personal brand building and mastering social media communications is an investment that will pay dividends during this critical life event.

6 Social Media Must Dos

  1. Optimize your social media profiles. Spend the time needed to complete your core social business profiles (LinkedIn and Twitter) to reflect your brand and message. Ensure that the basics like profile picture and other standard content are complete. Take advantage of attributes like background image, interests and summary sections to make your identity personal, unique and differentiated.
  2. Grow and deepen your network. Connect with academic, personal and professional relationships. Make a concerted effort to consider relationships developed throughout your military career.
  3. Create original content and promote the content of your network. Sharing insights in your own voice is key to developing an audience. Publish, repurpose and reuse blogs, SlideShare presentations and video content both created by you and others.
  4. Set goals for each social media channel. Set objectives for how often you will publish, where you will publish, how much time you will spend to promote content and what your engagement and reach goals are. Establish a personal discipline and plan to review your goals and degree of accomplishment at least monthly, and make changes as needed.
  5. Be open to and ask for feedback. Your network connections will provide feedback organically through commenting, sharing and liking. Although trying something new and putting yourself out there can be daunting, you will likely find that your network will be more welcoming than anticipated. Stay true to who you are, listen to your network's feedback and find your personal voice and style.
  6. Convert your online communications to offline behavior. Social media is simply an additional way to communicate. Ensure that you are employing your social skills to set up calls and in-person meetings.
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Statistics (Watson Institute, Brown University)

  • Between 2015 – 2019, it is estimated that 230,000 - 245,000 enlisted and officer service members will transition per year.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, from 65 percent to 80 percent of veterans surveyed left the military without a job, expecting to find meaningful employment quickly.
  • The $92.7 billion that the VA alone has put toward re-training veterans since 2002 is a combination of spending on rehabilitation and investment in veterans’ education and job training. 

Closing Thoughts

  • Leadership requires action - get started. Be authentic and genuine on social media, and most importantly, take the first step!
  • Have fun with social media and social business communications. You are building and enhancing your individual brand and your ability to influence and advocate for things in which you believe.