5 Tips for Finding a Job as a Military Spouse
As a military spouse, you have unique challenges when it comes to seeking and maintaining a professional career. Theses challenges aren't insurmountable though if you take some time to work through them and prepare yourself to put your best foot forward. Consider these five tips as you prepare to conduct your next search.
Tip 1: Prepare That Resume
This is important, particularly for spouses of active military members. Be honest. If you have “gaps” in your resume such as stay at home mom or overseas stations, say so. Don’t leave the space blank, tell your potential employer exactly what you did during those times. Did you take a foreign language? Did you lead scouting troops? Did you volunteer at your child’s school? Did you homeschool your kids? Did you stay at home with young children?
All of these activities require skills applicable to the labor force. Think about how you can apply your experiences (not just your employment) to future career opportunities, and list them in relation to each job you apply for.
Tip 2: Be willing to take temporary jobs.
This isn’t anybody’s first choice, but acknowledge the reality that sometimes your perfect job won’t meet you upon arrival in your new location. This doesn’t mean you should turn down everything else.
Tip 3: Financially prepare yourself for the move.
Building on tip #2, be prepared financially for the possibility of not finding a job immediately after moving. Save some money in a rainy day fund for this time in order to help cut down on stress and allow yourself time to focus on finding a job that fits you and your family, rather than having to accept the first offer for financial reasons.
Tip 4: Google government programs and military/veteran spouse friendly employers.
Whether this is job fairs for military veterans and their spouses, companies that give preference to active duty military spouses, employers who offer transfer programs, or simultaneous education/employment opportunities, there are a lot of resources available to military spouses seeking employment. Don’t overlook these. Read about them. Ask your friends. Talk to others who have utilized these resources before, and accept their guidance and assistance.
Tip 5: Network like crazy.
The number one tip for finding a job for anybody and particularly for military and military spouses is networking. No other medium will yield better results than person-to-person interaction. Be proactive about this. Online, update your LinkedIn profile. In person, talk to the transition office, family support office, or spouse employment office on base. Communicate with acquaintances in your new location, and with friends and family in other locations. Let it be known what you’re looking for, and allow yourself to ask for help. Don’t expect other people to do the work for you, but ask for guidance and for information about opportunities. You might be surprised by what you find.