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All social networking sites are not created equal.

People gravitate to different Internet venues based on personality, communication styles and comfort levels. Your job, as a recruiter or business owner, is to understand how each one works and then leverage it so that you connect comprehensively with the various audiences of each. By having a presence in different arenas, you position yourself as a savvy employer who understands the nuances and advantages of technology with an avant-garde, military-community workforce.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. Work with your HR department to identify veterans with a presence on the site who can reach out to those in their own network to alert them to new opportunities. It’s also wise to have a point of contact on your company’s LinkedIn page who is dedicated to recruiting veterans and spouses. When veterans ping your page, it streamlines the connection for both you and them.

And check out the Veteran Mentor Network’s LinkedIn Job Seeker Subscription subgroup here to see how veterans are using the site to find you.

RALLYPOINT

Think of RallyPoint.com as a LinkedIn that's built especially for service members and spouses and the folks who want to hire them.

By its very nature, the military is a worldwide community whose members cross paths at various points in time and in different geographies. They lose touch with one another and then find each other again. As such, networking is extremely important in the military culture, for both professional and personal connectedness.

RallyPoint capitalizes on the importance of this dynamic. Like users of other social networking sites, users of RallyPoint build their own free online profiles, except that the professional military community comes together to stay in touch with each other’s careers. Members use the site to evaluate their career options with greater clarity, both inside and outside the military. They also receive updates on professional achievements of those in their network and can follow the activity of units in which they are serving or have served.

So why should this be important to you, as a civilian employer? Because after veterans leave the military, they compare notes on those who have hired them. Those who are already working for civilian employers provide information to others getting ready to exit about their work environments and choice of civilian professions.

Anyone currently serving or who formerly served is allowed to join RallyPoint, although those no longer serving have more limited access. Actively serving military members, by default, can be viewed only by others who are actively serving. Members must verify their military identity with the site before gaining full access to it.

How can you gain access to the site? RallyPoint has several options to help your business identify and recruit the best military talent. All you have to do is contact the team at recruiting@rallypoint.com to discuss your organization’s needs.

Once you’re on board, this is how the connections work:

  • RallyPoint members enter their estimated date of employment availability.
  • Their interest in civilian employment is never shared with other RallyPoint members or the military. Only you as an employer will know that the veteran is interested in a position or in learning more.
  • Be aware, however, that RallyPoint members are in charge of their civilian career search. They control who may contact them and how.

FACEBOOK

Because Facebook connects friends and family members, its focus is less on the career and more on the personal side of life. That said, you can showcase your company’s family-friendly policies, plus photos and short write-ups about your military support activities and community volunteerism and activism among your employees. Think of Facebook as a place where people get to know the human side of your operation. Proactively show them why you care—and how you care for them.

It also is worth connecting with military advocacy groups that have a strong presence on Facebook. The Military Spouse Network is a good example of one group that uses the site effectively.

TWITTER

As much as Twitter is used for advertising a company’s products, it deserves a second look for your recruiting outreach efforts. A designated military recruiter can follow groups like the Military Officers Association of America and the National Military Family Association, to name a couple. Engage in conversations with them and their Twitter followers in real time. You’ll see a ripple effect by doing so, because those who follow those groups will notice your engagement and interest. That, in turn, could lead to conversations about job openings, the potential you offer for career advancement, your support for military families and how people should send their resumes for your consideration. Just like face-to-face conversations, one thing leads to another. This is doubly true on Twitter, which makes it possible for those interactions to take place swiftly and easily.

PINTEREST

Scrapbooking on the Web may not be your company’s “thing,” but if you’re not on Pinterest, you’re missing out on an opportunity to reach military families and job candidates on a visual and emotional level. Pinterest allows you to create photo “boards,” which are like collages on the Internet. Like Facebook, the dynamic of Pinterest is that you get to showcase your company’s outreach efforts, your philosophy about hiring veterans and spouses, and your corporate culture. Pinterest is less about direct recruiting and more about painting a portrait of your company’s environment. You also connect with military families by “repinning” photos of theirs onto your own Pinterest site. For example, look at this Pinterest board called “Military Support Board.” This is a great example and will give you a good flavor for the types of things that appeal to the military community and how you can add to your own Pinterest presence.