A Military Spouse’s Soft Skills Are Rock-Solid
Military spouses are often the de facto heads of household when their active duty or reservist spouses are deployed overseas or geographically separated from them. They give a new face to the term “multi-tasker” and develop tons of soft skills, perhaps without even realizing it. For instance, they oversee budgets, family finances, frequent moves, establish networks and connections in new communities, and meet deadlines. Because the military provides exposure to diverse environments and cultures, military spouses are accustomed to working and socializing with people from all kinds of backgrounds. These soft skills have a huge value in the marketplace.
Many recruiters would rather hire someone with strong soft skills than a candidate with the hard, technical skills required for job, reasoning that candidates who are the right fit culturally can be taught certain hard skills and molded to fit a number of roles. A 2017 joint study from Boston College, Harvard, and the University of Michigan suggested that soft skills training in areas like problem solving and communication increases productivity and retention by 12 percent, with a 250 percent ROI.
LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report concluded that among the trends transforming today’s workplace, 91 percent of survey respondents agree that soft skills are very important to the future of recruiting and HR. In addition, 80 percent believe soft skills are increasingly important to company success.
Show Them Off
On Your Resume
If there are gaps in your resume, consider using a format that showcases your soft skills, including resiliency, adaptability and how you’ve successfully handled problems. If you’ve done significant volunteer work you have undoubtedly employed a variety of soft skills that could translate into sales, management, marketing, event planning, and administration.
• Successfully cold-called companies for sponsorship opportunities for family-friendly movie event/campaign.
• Arranged on-and off-site entertainment, transportation, logistics, travel, food, accommodations, and family activities for guests and families during two-day base celebration of aviation.
• Developed strong time management, networking, and multitasking skills directing a busy household with four active children attending two schools. Manage family budget, bill paying, home repairs and upkeep, schedules and transportation.
At a Career Fair
There’s never been a better time to be professionally curious, and today’s labor market is poised to remain tight. RecruitMilitary will host more than 120 career fairs at bases and other locations in 2019, as well as a number of virtual career fairs that deliver opportunities to speak to recruiters in a more informal setting.
There are lots of ways to illustrate to potential employers you are a great candidate. Highlight life experiences that translate well into the workplace. For example, you’re probably a great team builder if you’ve had to create a new infrastructure for your family that includes schools, medical care, child care, and social activities. This also tells a potential employer that you have strong networking and communication skills. These are portable skills that can move with you from base to base.
As the labor market remains tight, employers are frequently turning to candidates with strong soft skills who can make a positive impact. Bonnie Amos, former First Lady of the U.S. Marine Corps said, “Military spouses have to get it done or we fail. And we refuse to fail.” Who wouldn’t want to hire someone with that attitude?
By Chris Newsome