by Randall S. Hansen Ph.D.
Two relatively new social-networking Websites dedicated to current military and transitioning veterans both offer amazing opportunities to advance your career (military or civilian) and tap into resources that might otherwise be overlooked or undiscovered.Both Unite Us and RallyPoint have spent the past year under development and are now fully functioning offering many benefits and features.
For transitioning veterans Unite Us unquestionably has a mission and purpose that is all about providing you easy access to the plethora of resources available to veterans throughout the U.S.Unite Us strives to bring together military veterans military families military supporters community action groups and employers in an online community in which a veteran can find the resources (careers jobs housing and the like) he or she needs with a few keystrokes — pinpointed clearly on a detailed map on his or her screen.Unite Us “takes a comprehensive approach to helping veterans overcome the obstacles they face” said Kareem Elsirafy co-founder and COO of Unite Us — and a Marine veteran.Unite Us is a digital clearinghouse to resources and people who can help a transitioning veteran succeed in the transition from military to civilian life. The site currently has about 8000 resources plugged in with more added regularly. “It’s an on-going process of reaching out and adding more resources as we learn of them” said Elsirafy.While the site covers the entire United States large metro areas are more represented than smaller communities. Unite Us is working with veterans who share the site’s vision and can serve as ambassadors for the site by finding and adding additional resources.Besides the mapping of resources two additional features stand out.First partnering with HirePatriots.com the stie helps veterans in dire need of immediate employment find short-term work opportunities often 1-day jobs — from people who have a job that needs to be completed (moving painting yardwork and the like) and want to hire a veteran to do it. Veterans simply need to enter their zip code to find the opportunities in their area.Second is an extremely useful skills assessment tool for transitioning veterans unsure of what civilian career they want to enter. The tool that helps them examine their tangible and intangible skills — allowing them to indicate which skills they like to do and which they do not — and which results in populating a list of potential career fields. Veterans can then research the careers chose one field and then review job listings in that career field.There is no question about the passion behind the founders of Unite Us. The core management team members all have a military background understand the frustrations and obstacles facing transitioning veterans and are determined to provide vets with the tools needed to succeed in the transition back to civilian life.
RallyPoint is a military-only networking site. Its main strength is the power of people — and connections. Only current military personnel and veterans can become members. With more than 100000 members in close to 7000 locations worldwide representing more than 9000 military units and more than 10000 civilian employers this site is a goldmine for information and answers.In fact according to Aaron Kletzing co-founder and COO of RallyPoint one of the most popular features of the site is the crowd-sourced answers to questions and discussions among members. “RallyPoint is really about building personal relationships” said Kletzing a former Army officer and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.While the site appears to be a bit more focused on helping current military personel learn how to advance through the ranks — Kletzing talked about how many new members to the site are in the military academies — transitioning military veterans can find many useful connections for assistance in the civilian job market.Heralded in TIME and TechCrunch as “LinkedIn for the military” RallyPoint is free for members of the military and veterans.
Final Thoughts on Social Networking for Transitioning Vets
While joining one or both of these sites — along with a civilian networking site such as LinkedIn — may seem like a lot to do you will quickly discover the benefits of learning from those who have transitioned before you of gaining new contacts who can provide invaluable insider information and of discovering resources you may have never found on your own.You are not on this mission alone. You will always have the help from people you served with — along with an army of civilian volunteers with a mission to assist transitioning veterans (which you can find using Unite Us) and a network of military and veterans ready to answer your questions (via RallyPoint).
Maximize your use of the many no-cost veteran and career resources — including career consulting to resume-writing to job placements. These resources are there to help empower you to success in your transition from military service to civilian worker.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college career and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms. This article is part of Job Action Day 2013.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author with several books chapters in books and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally Dr. Hansen is also an educator having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.