U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Bratic.

When I decided to leave the Navy, I had no idea what I’d do. When I decided to seek an MBA, my thought process was as simple as:

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U.S. Army photo by Nathan Herring

Networking. The word itself makes some people smile, and others cringe. The good news is that networking is a skill. And like any skill, you might be a natural at it or you might need to work at it. Either way, it’s something that you can learn.

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DoD photo by Sgt. Ashley Armstrong

As you leave the military, letting your curiosity guide your approach to building your veteran network is one of the best ways to transform the quality of your professional connections.

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U.S. Army photo

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Hirepurpose’s Career Compass, a virtual library of the advice, guidance, and tips you need to find success in your civilian career.

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I was privileged in my 23-year Army career to work directly with four very successful general officers. The lessons I learned from them can be applied to both military and civilian leadership at every level and I promised my peers that one day I would write down what I saw.

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Photo by Nathan Herring

Networking opportunities can be found in many different focus areas, concentrated on industry, region, and even race/national origin, gender, and age. Each of these focused networking events brings together similar types of individuals. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you want to take away from the experience. I have had my fair share of networking experiences, mostly with negative results.

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