Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Career Advice for the Military Spouse

If you are married to a military service member, you don’t have control over where or when you will move. However, you can take control of your career. Following these tips will give you a head-start on your next transition.

Be Proactive
With the use of the internet, the job search possibilities have widened. As soon as you find out your next assignment, proactively begin to research employers in the area. Use social networking tools such as www.linkedin.com and www.facebook.com to gain entry to the local network. Start by connecting with people and building a support network before you even get to the new location.

Identify Your Skills
As a military spouse, you have a skill set that is all your own. You are flexible to new environments, you have the ability to quickly adapt, and you are resilient. In addition to these skills, identify what you bring to the table in terms of transferable skills and personal traits. It is very difficult to sell a product – yourself – if you don’t know its features and benefits.

Being perceived as a job hopper is one of the biggest challenges of being a military spouse. To counteract this, consider volunteering your time to build some consistency on your resume. Whether you volunteer with your children’s school, lead a Girl Scout troop, or work with local women’s shelters, build a consistent theme of making a difference and adding accomplishments to your resume.

Consider Alternative Employment Options
You may consider starting your own business and working from home. Starting an eBay store or contracting for a medical billing company can be done no matter your geographic location. Self-employment is not for everyone, but it is another option to consider.

Focus Military-friendly Companies
Consider working for the federal government. Once you enter the federal employment system it is much easier to transfer among your locations. Alternatively, Military Spouse magazine (www.milspouse.com) publishes an annual list of military-friendly companies. Among them are USAA, Home Depot, Re/Max, U-Haul, and HealthNet Corporation. Working for a company that understands, and embraces, the military culture will make your transition easier.

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