Thursday 9 October 2014

Networking for Military Leavers - and Everyone

This is one of a series of posts on useful tools for entrepreneurs leaving the Armed Forces. Here is the full list and links.

A couple of years ago I started speaking to military leavers about how to prepare for the transition to civilian life. Most often this has been through Heropreneurs events and visits to serving military units, and addressed to servicemen and women who want to start their own businesses.

But one piece of advice applies whether you want to set up your own business or not - and whether you're serving or ex-military or a lifelong civilian: the value of networking.

Back to Kevin Bacon

In 1994 Kevin Bacon famously claimed to have worked with everyone in Holywood, but since then the world has become much more connected. In summer 2012 I went to Linkedin to find that I was 3 removes from Kevin Bacon - 7 people I knew knew someone who knew one of the 142 people he listed as connections. 6 months later I knew 11 people who knew one or more of his 204 connections.

Now in October 2014, Kevin Bacon's status as an icon of networking has been raised by his advertisements for EE, the mobile network. Meanwhile he now has 234 connections - and my third degree connections have jumped to 42.

Bringing Home the Bacon

You may not be looking for a role in Kevin Bacon's next film, but whether you're leaving the armed forces or developing your career options, remember that networking brings you inevitably closer to opportunities. So it's essential to keep building relationships with people you like, admire and can learn from.

Networking is about meeting people and pursuing connections and interesting leads. My advice to everyone whether ex-military or not, is to set up a LinkedIn profile and start to build their community of shared interest. Especially for those leaving the armed forces, this is a very quick way to secure introductions among people who will understand your background, your values and your ability.

And in case of doubt, I'm not stalking Kevin Bacon, or earning commission from LinkedIn!

This is one of a series of posts on useful tools for entrepreneurs leaving the Armed Forces. Here is the full list and links.

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