How To Engage On Social Media & Virtually Grow Your Network

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - ©2020 Reprinted with permission

Have you ever wondered how you can meet new people especially when you're unable to attend events? You can engage on social media and grow your network. Social media opens the door to new relationships and all it takes is being human (and a plan). Engagement, in social media terms, means commenting or interacting with something posted on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. When someone engages with a post on social media, it shows that there is interest in the topic and/or person. I metion this to help you understand how welcome and appreciated commenting is! When you leave a comment it conveys your interest. It's the equivalent of talking with someone after a presentation. And in some cases, it could be considered virtual small talk or a conversation-starter. This is how relationships start... Read More

Personal information of about 46,000 veterans compromised after VA data breach

By Steve Beynon | Stars and Stripes - Reprinted with permission, ©2020 All Rights Reserved

WASHINGTON — A data breach at the Department of Veterans Affairs has potentially compromised the personal information of roughly 46,000 veterans, the agency announced Monday. VA officials said the agency is already reaching out to the veterans impacted including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased. The department is offering free credit monitoring to anyone whose Social Security numbers were accessible. The Federal Services Center, the finance department for the VA, discovered one of its online applications was "accessed by unauthorized users" who gained access to financial information, according to a VA statement. It was unclear Monday when the breach was discovered or which specific application was compromised. However... Read More

VA-accredited claims agent discusses mesothelioma claims and world-class VA care

By Retired Naval officer, Lt. Cmdr. Carl Jewett | VAntagePoint - Reprinted with permission ©2020 All Rights Reserved

Every year in the United States, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Unfortunately, this cancer disproportionately affects the men and women that have served our country. Some reports indicate that about one third of mesothelioma patients are Veterans... Read More

Congress to finally consider adding four conditions to Agent Orange list

By Nikki Wentling | Stars and Stripes - Reprinted with permission ©2020 All Rights Reserved

WASHINGTON — A measure to fast-track benefits to thousands of Vietnam War veterans was added to the annual defense budget this month, giving it an audience with Congress after years of effort. The measure would approve benefits for Vietnam War veterans suffering form bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension and Parkinson's-like symptoms — conditions thought to be caused by exposure to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange. The bill would add the diseases to the Department of Veterans Affairs presumptive list, which lowers the amount of proof veterans must provide in order to receive VA benefits... Read More

Learn How to Avoid HR During Job Search

By Hannah Morgan - careersherpa.net - Reprinted with Permission

Avoid HR during your job search and target people with the power to actually hire you. You don't get hired simply because you have the exact match of skills an employer wants. Companies hire people who fill a need within their company and whom they trust/like/see as a fit. If hiring were as simple as finding someone with the right set of skills, companies wouldn't be screening and interviewing and interviewing and interviewing the way they are, would they? Given the complexities and high stakes involved in hiring today, my advice is to stop playing the job application game. Build relationships instead. But avoid HR. The role of Human Resources (or talent acquisition) is to screen candidates... Read More

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How To Engage On Social Media & Virtually Grow Your Network

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - ©2020 Reprinted with permission

Have you ever wondered how you can meet new people especially when you're unable to attend events? You can engage on social media and grow your network.

Social media opens the door to new relationships and all it takes is being human (and a plan).

Engagement, in social media terms, means commenting or interacting with something posted on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

When someone engages with a post on social media, it shows that there is interest in the topic and/or person.

I metion this to help you understand how welcome and appreciated commenting is!

When you leave a comment it conveys your interest. It's the equivalent of talking with someone after a presentation. And in some cases, it could be considered virtual small talk or a conversation-starter.

This is how relationships start.

Change Your Approach

Let's say you want to have a conversation with someone you don't know.

If you were to send an invitation to connect through LinkedIn, they may not accept it. However, if you engage with something the person has said or posted on social media, that person is likely to respond.

This opens the door for you to send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and since they recognize your name, they are more likely to accept your invitation.

Does this take more effort and time? Absolutely. But the end result is many times better.

Build A Connection First

Keep in mind, you can't just ask someone for a meeting or conversation during your first interaction on social media.

To earn the right to ask someone for a favor (or conversation), you need to build a connection with the person.

You can do this by first finding a common professional interest. Do you both care about social media, HR, recruiting, technology? Respond to something they've shared in a thoughtful comment.

Or show interest in what they are doing or sharing.

The ultimate goal, one you can't ask for, is to develop a relationship online that can be converted into IRL (in real life).

This happens every day across every social media platform!

Start by identifying people you want to engage with!

Check out How To Use Social Networks...To Network.

5 Ways to Engage On Social Media

One of the best ways to engage with people you don't know is to interact with something they've posted on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram).

These are five ways to engage on social media (and start a relationship):

  • Mention/tag people
  • Re-share or re-tweet something they've posted
  • Start a discussion on recent industry news
  • Ask a question
  • Share your educated opinion

Now, let's look at examples of how to do this.

LINKEDIN

Go to the person's activity section on LinkedIn and review their posts and see what comments they have made.

One option is to reshare something they've posted on LinkedIn and tag the person who posted it to give credit as the source.

You don't need to be connected to the person to tag them.

(Type the @ and then start typing their name until you see profile pop up. Be sure you select the correct person).

Your post shows up in their LinkedIn notifications when you tag them.

They may feel flattered that you referenced what they shared. They will absolutely be appreciative of the fact that you gave them credit for posting, authoring or sharing the content. This is just one way to start a new relationship.

Have you ever had 187 people comment on something you've shared on LinkedIn? Maybe you haven't tried it. Here's an example:

Job Search Tip:

Look for people inside your target companies that you would like to meet. You could look for people with similar job titles, company recruiters or people who are second-degree connections with people you know well. Or use all three options.

You can never have enough inside contacts. In fact, the more connections you have inside a company you are interested in, the better information you will acquire about working there.

FACEBOOK

I always make sure I mention the authors of the articles I include in my Summary Sunday when I share it on social media.

If you reshare or post an article written by someone, tag them on Facebook (if they have an account).

When these authors monitor their Facebook account, they will see I've tagged them via Facebook notifications. Some will repost my update, others will like it, and some may say Thank You. In short, my post gets on their radar. If they share it, that puts my name and article in front of everyone in their network! That's great exposure!

You can usually find their Facebook business page in the article they've written or go to the author's website and poke around a bit. You'll find it if they are on Facebook.

Job Search Tip

Find good stories or news about a company you are interested in and then tag the company or people who work inside the company. You should be following your target companies on Facebook and if they have a Facebook careers page, follow that too! This gives you more opportunities to comment and engage.

TWITTER

Be sure whatever you post is relevant to your career goals!

You don't have to publish your own content. You can share someone's article and mention their name in your Tweet. Just make sure you are using the correct Twitter handle.

And be strategic about what you post/retweet. Is it written by someone you want to connect with? Is it about a company you are interested in working for? Is it about a topic that's important to your career?

There's a whole-lot of mentioning going on in this Retweet by Phyllis Mufson. It's got 8 likes and even a couple of shares.

FYI: everyone mentioned in this retweet sees it listed in their Twitter mentions tab.

Job Search Tip

Find and follow company accounts or company career accounts and retweet their content. Be sure to tag/mention them.

Recruiters want to know that you have an interest in working for their company so your interaction with company recruiters on social media is a good way to engage too.

INSTAGRAM Resharing

Instagram does not allow you to reshare posts or stories to your timeline. But you can use 3rd party tools to Regram (reshare on Instagram). You can reshare someone's Instagram post to other sites like Facebook, Twitter or in Instagram Instant Messenger. Instagram's Terms of Service state you must get permission before sharing someone else's post.

If you really want to Regram, you have two options:

  1. Take a screenshot from your phone and post it to your Instagram. (Always give credit in your post to the original poster)
  2. Use Repost for Instagram (a 3rd party app — free)

Job Search Tips

Follow all your target companies on Instagram so you can see what they share! Like their updates and leave a comment when appropriate. Always ask for permission before you Regram.

Also look for hashtags...#[company name + careers]

A Word of Caution

Before you do any of these, make sure your LinkedIn profile or personal website is up to date.

Also, make sure you've reviewed your status updates to make sure they are professional and show you in a positive light (no complaining, trolling or badmouthing).

Here are articles to help you pimp your social media profiles:

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Personal information of about 46,000 veterans compromised after VA data breach

By Steve Beynon | Stars and Stripes - Reprinted with permission, ©2020 All Rights Reserved

WASHINGTON — A data breach at the Department of Veterans Affairs has potentially compromised the personal information of roughly 46,000 veterans, the agency announced Monday.

VA officials said the agency is already reaching out to the veterans impacted including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased. The department is offering free credit monitoring to anyone whose Social Security numbers were accessible.

The Federal Services Center, the finance department for the VA, discovered one of its online applications was "accessed by unauthorized users" who gained access to financial information, according to a VA statement. It was unclear Monday when the breach was discovered or which specific application was compromised. However, the compromised application was taken offline, according to the VA.

Veterans and beneficiaries who have not been contacted by VA officials are not at risk of having their information stolen, according to the department's statement on the breach.

"Veterans whose information was involved are advised to follow the instructions in the letter to protect their data," the statement said. "There is no action needed from veterans if they did not receive an alert by mail, as their personal information was not involved in the incident."

Veterans or next-of-kin who receive notification their information is potentially at risk from this incident can send questions to VAFSCVeteransSupport@va.gov or write to VA FSC Help Desk, Attn: Customer Engagement Center, P.O. Box 149971, Austin, TX 78714-9971.

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Congress to finally consider adding four conditions to Agent Orange list

By Nikki Wentling | Stars and Stripes - Reprinted with permission ©2020 All Rights Reserved

WASHINGTON — A measure to fast-track benefits to thousands of Vietnam War veterans was added to the annual defense budget this month, giving it an audience with Congress after years of effort.

The measure would approve benefits for Vietnam War veterans suffering form bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension and Parkinson's-like symptoms — conditions thought to be caused by exposure to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange. The bill would add the diseases to the Department of Veterans Affairs presumptive list, which lowers the amount of proof veterans must provide in order to receive VA benefits.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif., pushed to add the measure to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2021. The NDAA sets the Defense Department's annual budget and includes a slew of policies for the Pentagon. It's one of the only major bills that passes reliably through Congress each year, making it a desirable target for lawmakers to attach other measures.

"Justice is long overdue for our aging veterans currently dying from conditions resulting from their exposure to Agent Orange chemicals in Vietnam," said Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. "The reality is that taking care of our veterans is the cost of war — and it must be paid.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced his support for the measure this month. At a news conference on Long Island with Vietnam Veterans of America, Schumer said, "They risked their lives for us in an awful war. Now, they got these diseases because of exposure to Agent Orange. Are we going to back them up? And the answer finally is 'yes'".

Veterans have been waiting years for the VA to add the conditions, despite some scientific evidence linking them to Agent Orange exposure.

Jerry Edgin, a Marine corporal in Vietnam, went into the doctor for a checkup in 2013 and was diagnosed with bladder cancer. His wife, Martha, began to research whether there was a connection to his military service. Researching, documenting and applying to the VA quickly became her full-time job.

The couple was denied for benefits twice. The third time, they were approved — but not because of exposure to Agent Orange. The VA accepted a link between Jerry Edgin's bladder cancer and his exposure to diesel engine fumes in Vietnam.

Through her years of research, Martha Edgin met a community of people online who were struggling. Two years ago, she contacted the VA, the Office of Management and Budget, congressional offices and anyone else she thought might know something about when — or whether — the condition would get approved as a presumptive.

On Thursday, Edgin said she was thankful the issue was receiving attention in Congress.

"The longer it's put off, the fewer veterans and their families will be alive to receive any benefits," Edgin said in a message. "I plead with lawmakers to do the right thing, as they have suffered long enough without our government providing them the help they deserve."

In 2018, researchers with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found for the first time that enough evidence exists to link hypertension to Agent Orange. Researchers also determined there was "suggestive" evidence linking Agent Orange exposure to hypothyroidism.

A 2016 report from the academies determined that there was "limited" or "suggestive" evidence linking Agent Orange to bladder cancer. That year, the academies also clarified that Parkinson-like symptoms should be considered as part of Parkinson's disease, which is on the list of presumptive diseases.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie indicated earlier this year that he wasn't likely to make a decision about the conditions until the end of 2020, when results of two more scientific studies on the issue are expected to be published.

Seven national veterans groups wrote to President Donald Trump in February asking him to intervene and criticizing the VA for dragging its feet.

Previous efforts were made by former VA secretaries to add the conditions. Under former VA Secretary David Shulkin, the agency recommended in 2016 the addition of bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson's-like tremors to the presumptive list. Shulkin's recommendation never made it past OMB. Lawmakers were told at the time that OMB was waiting on the results of more scientific studies.

OMB and Mick Mulvaney, its director at the time, objected to the recommendation. In addition to a lack of scientific evidence, OMB had concerns about the budget implications of expanding access to VA benefits to the thousands of veterans diagnosed with the conditions, Military Times reported, citing emails between Shulkin and OMB.

Harder, who helped get the measure into the NDAA, said it was a "national shame" that the conditions weren't already on the list.

"We have a real chance here to make this right after all this time," Harder said in a statement. "We have a strong chance to finally get this done."

Wentling.nikki@stripes.com
Twitter: @nikkiwentling

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Learn How to Avoid HR During Job Search

By Hannah Morgan - careersherpa.net - Reprinted with Permission

Avoid HR during your job search and target people with the power to actually hire you.

You don't get hired simply because you have the exact match of skills an employer wants.

Companies hire people who fill a need within their company and whom they trust/like/see as a fit.

If hiring were as simple as finding someone with the right set of skills, companies wouldn't be screening and interviewing and interviewing and interviewing the way they are, would they?

Given the complexities and high stakes involved in hiring today, my advice is to stop playing the job application game. Build relationships instead. But avoid HR.

The role of Human Resources (or talent acquisition) is to screen candidates. They often do not have the first-hand knowledge of the real job requirements. (I used to work in HR and have lots of HR friends.) Read more about the differences between HR, recruiters and hiring managers.

In short, HR's job is to filter applicants to make the hiring manager's job easier. Wouldn't you rather have the hiring manager make that decision?

When you apply online, you are putting that decision into the hands of HR.

Stop playing the job boards and work on building connections inside companies and within the industry you are interested in.

How do I make this shift?

If you are serious about quitting the job boards, at least for now, you need something powerful to replace that activity with. The answer:

SOCIAL MEDIA/SOCIAL NETWORKS

Use the time you would have normally spent applying for jobs online to build and nurture a virtual network comprised of people you know, experts in your field and hiring managers!

How Do I Start Using "Social" in Job Search?

The really wonderful thing about social networks is that, when used correctly, they allow you to build relationships with people you might otherwise find it difficult to connect with.

Social networks also make it easy to stay connected with people you already know.

Why You Need to Get Social

The job market is competitive. In order to stand out among the sea of applicants you need three things:

  • The right reputation
  • An online presence
  • Likability

You also need to have the desired skills, but that's a different topic.

Steps To Build New Relationships On Social

Here are the steps to avoid HR and focus on building new relationships with people who can influence the hiring decision.

  1. Identify companies you would like to work for
  2. Go to LinkedIn
    1. find and connect with people you know
    2. find and follow 2nd level connections and ask your 1st degree connection for an introduction
    3. find and follow employees who hold a role similar
    4. find and follow people you would report to
    5. follow the company page
  3. Go to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
    1. Search and follow company pages
    2. Search for the user profiles of employees and company leaders and follow them
  4. Follow industry experts, speakers, and industry newsletters on social media
  5. Engage
    1. Comment, reshare, like posts coming from the company or its employees.

Learn How To Leave Engaging Comments that will help you build new relationships.

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