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Networking For Success

Most candidates know what they offer and what they want out of their careers but find it difficult to articulate those things on their resumes, cover letters, and online applications. For this reason, networking, be it online or in person, is a great way to organically spread the word about one’s career aspirations and, possibly, open doors.  

Online & Social Networking 

Joining and remaining active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms is an excellent way to establish oneself as an industry leader and participant. Candidates in pursuit of greater opportunities can share news articles, research, and opinion pieces written by other authors and include personal context or experiences in the post. By sharing valuable content, those active in the industry will find common ground and ways in which to connect. 
Candidates should also use social media platforms’ search tools to actively connect with industry colleagues and organizations. Most social media platforms allow users to search keywords, names, institution names, titles, etc. allowing candidates to respectfully follow and engage with leaders and peers in the industry. Establishing online contacts in this manner allows candidates to expand their pool and to learn from those making a difference within the industry. 
Once connections are made, social media platforms like LinkedIn allow users to send messages for work anniversaries, promotions, and more. Using these friendly and professional greetings to engage with peers is a low-pressure way to stay in touch. Liking, commenting on, and sharing posts by organizations that may make a good match for employment ensures that candidates are staying on top of the company’s news, which would come in very handy during an interview. 

In-Person Networking   

Staying informed about advancements and promotions within one’s local industry is paramount to creating advancement opportunities. Now that in-person events, conferences, and conventions are on the rise, it’s important for those seeking out new opportunities to participate and engage with peers at these events. 
While in-person networking may be difficult for some, due to social anxiety or disdain for small talk, nothing beats getting to know colleagues with shared interests and in similar roles. An easy way to make connections is to make eye contact and smile at other attendees. Especially if a candidate is not comfortable approaching a stranger, an inviting disposition will allow others to approach. Greeting those seated nearby during conferences and lectures is also an easy way to make meaningful connections, especially over multi-day events. And, of course, having a physical or virtual business card allows for possible follow-up if the need or interest arises.  

Networking & The Follow-up  

It is often said that “the fortune is in the follow-up” and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to networking for success. Especially after meeting colleagues at conferences, trade shows, etc., it’s important to follow up via email or connect on social media as a way to stay in touch. Most attendees at major industry events will meet dozens if not hundreds of contacts in a few hours or days, which means that only a select few will likely be recalled unless there is meaningful follow-up. 
When following up, candidates should remind the contact how and when they met, reintroduce themselves, use no-pressure language, and offer to connect locally or provide a few ways in which they might work together in the future. Making connections in person and then following up by email ensures that fruitful connections remain as such, even after the craze of the event is over. 

Using the Best Technology  

In addition to actively networking, candidates should focus their efforts on using the most streamlined technology to make career connections. At Veterans ASCEND and Ability ASCEND, we match veterans and military spouses and the disability community respectively with employers using our AI-Powered Talent Sourcing Platform. Email us at to learn how we help candidates reach their goals. 

The Issue with Resumes

Putting one’s professional history and career accomplishments into a resume can oftentimes feel overwhelming. It’s hard enough to summarize job titles, skills, and performance in a limited number of bullet points let alone having to recall the endless contributions one has made to all of the roles they have played in the workforce over years or decades. To add insult to injury, resumes are rarely read by human beings anymore, which makes the resume one of the most outdated and dehumanizing parts of seeking employment, especially for veterans and their spouses, whose work titles and skills cannot be accurately summarized onto a piece of paper or PDF file.
Choosing the right words to describe one’s ability to successfully execute assigned tasks is no easy feat. A focus on resumes can create unfair hiring practices, barriers, and biases, giving priority to those that can afford resume writing services and proofreading technology while rejecting candidates with disabilities, foreign nationals, older populations, and other candidates that may bring exceptional talents to the workforce, despite a sentence structure issue, spelling error, or formatting mistake on their resume.
Furthermore, resumes make it impossible for hiring managers to truly grasp the scope of a candidate’s professional accomplishments and ability to perform the duties for which they are hiring. Resumes focus on job titles, company names, and a brief description of the job itself. The standard resume format fails to highlight the reasons why a worker might outshine another in a real life situation. Military veterans, for example, are some of the most well-rounded and capable workers in the workforce due to their extensive training and exposure to various leadership and collaboration roles. Yet, the resume of a military veteran may be overlooked simply because the scope of their experience cannot be adequately conveyed on a resume.
As if the practice of requiring resumes weren’t antiquated and restrictive enough, resumes are rarely viewed by a human being until a candidate pool has been significantly narrowed. Most companies ask for resumes to be uploaded to online applicant tracking systems that review resumes using artificial intelligence that seeks out keywords including company names and job titles, eliminating valuable candidates that have worked outside the industry or have gaps in their employment, yet bring dynamic experience to the organization.
Due to the use of resumes as a first step in consideration, highly qualified candidates are being excluded from roles in which they would excel. For many, resumes present a barrier to getting an interview and, therefore, lucrative employment. Instead, employers must consider using more objective hiring tools that focus on candidates’ abilities and skills, highlight the ways in which their talents can be used to further the organization’s mission, and humanize the hiring process. One such tool is Veterans ASCEND, an innovative system that matches employers with veterans and military spouses based on skills. To learn more about Veterans ASCEND, contact 864-887-5865 or