Dear Sam: After reading one of your columns on developing a networking plan, I was prompted to ask, “how does a career military officer, with 24 years of active service, create such a plan. I feel challenged given I have been outside of the civilian world for 2+ decades. — Lou

Dear Lou: First, I imagine your network extends within and beyond the military. After all, many military peers may have retired or moved on, and of course, their network connections would not be exclusively military personnel. A network doesn’t just have to be who you meet at work, but rather anyone in your 360-degree purview. Think about neighbors, people at your church or any other organization you may belong to or attend, and those you have been in contact with through other professional or academic experiences. Then, with the power of LinkedIn, if you connect with someone in your peer group, you will have access to all of their connections, of whom I am sure are not all military. LinkedIn is so powerful that you have not only access to your 1st-degree connections but also 2nd and 3rd degree; hence, your network extends far beyond what you may realize.

There are many archived resources on my website both in the blog section and the Dear Sam Live section (videos) that explore networking and leveraging LinkedIn, including video tutorials on how to set up your LinkedIn profile! Start there and harness the power of networking in your search.

Dear Sam: I enjoy reading your column every Sunday. I am a military veteran, and I teach a small class at Camp Pendleton every few months for transitioning military veterans. I saved a lot of your old columns to review before my upcoming class! One of them I had archived was from March 2019. The Title is “What is the purpose of a qualifications summary?” In that column, you state the “Objective Statement” is outdated and should be replaced by a qualification summary. That recommendation was fascinating to me as I have always recommended candidates include both of those sections on a resume. My logic was that the objective statement would let the reviewer know what the candidate was interested in, and, given it only takes up one line, I didn’t think it would harm. How long do you think the qualification summary should be? — Ed

Dear Ed: Thank you, Ed, I appreciate your readership and sharing the column with your students. I would argue that just by including an objective statement on a resume, your candidacy looks outdated. By the sheer fact that the candidate is applying for the role, that should communicate the candidate’s purpose or objective. Given the top third of page one of a resume is the most crucial real estate, I would not even waste one line and any of the hiring manager’s time in the ever-so-brief screening process.

There isn’t a “rule” in terms of summary length, nor is there a rule for how it should be formatted. You could do a few 2-line bullet points, a small paragraph, or even just a few centered lines of text. Take a look at the samples on my portfolio page for ideas on how to approach, structure, and design a high-impact qualifications summary. Thank you again for sharing the column and for your loyal readership!