Job Searching as a Military Spouse During COVID-19

How to fine tune your resume for remote positions
Kelly Grivner-Kelly
Latest posts by Kelly Grivner-Kelly (see all)
Highlighting the right experience on your resume is vital to having success applying for remote work.

Military Spouses are resilient and are capable of achieving success in the most trying times. In my most recent blog post, I explained why it’s a good time for military spouses to look for remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also listed resources and tips to find open remote positions. This time, I’ll dive into the skills and experience your resume should feature when applying for remote work.

Crafting a Resume for a Remote Job Application

To land an interview, your resume needs to be tailored to remote organizations. 90% of companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to organize and go through resumes. ATS systems look for keywords from the job description to make sure that you are a good match. Most companies rely on this technology to filter through the many candidates who apply. The closer your resume matches the experience in the job description the more likely you will get through these systems and into the hands of a hiring manager! When applying for remote jobs, here are few things to make sure to mention in your resume/ cover letter:

Technical Skills: Online platforms are the reason remote jobs can exist, which is why your online skills need to be top-notch. Remote companies use software to bridge the communication gap. List any software tools that you are familiar with using. Some might include Google Hangouts, Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Skype, Zoom, and many more.

Communication: Your resume should mention your strong communication skills, and typos should be non-existent. Your email communication with hiring managers and recruiters should be punctual and precise.

Independence: It can’t hurt to talk about any time you were a “self-starter” or worked on projects without much supervision. Any time you worked with low or no supervision is valuable.

Highlight Previous Work from Home Experience: Recruiters and hiring managers offering remote jobs often look for people with previous experience, so having any past remote work experience on your resume will help you stand out. Your experience can be temporary or occasional.  It’s important that you’re able to demonstrate how efficient and productive you were when working remotely.

Jobscan.co is a great resource to use in the resume tailoring process!

Avoid Scams 

Some work-at-home positions are not legitimate, so pay close attention to the warning signs. Steer away from positions requiring you to pay a fee for information, training or a starter kit.

Military spouses know how to adapt, overcome and make the very best of each situation. The COVID-19 virus will pass. For those military spouses in a job search, keep the faith and continue applying! During this health crisis, the number of remote workers will increase. If you follow the above information to finding remote work, you will increase your odds of being one of them. If you are a military spouse in need of employment assistance, register for Hire Heroes USA’s serving spouses program today, here!

Structure Your Day: Six elements to add to your daily routine

Structure Your Day: Six elements to add to your daily routine

When I talk about my work to others, I always say something along the lines of “I’m privileged to work from home. It gives me the power to plan my own day and be creative with my time.” Many of us have found ourselves either unemployed and looking for a job, or working from home with unfamiliar distractions. Our new normal is bizarre and unpredictable, but if you’re a military spouse or have served in the military, you understand how to adapt. 

No matter your situation right now, setting a daily routine is crucial and proven to fight depression and anxiety. A few years back, I moved back home from overseas and found myself in need of a job. After spending a few weeks applying to hundreds of jobs in my pajamas with no plan or focus, my dad told me to make a daily plan. That daily plan worked for me during my job search process, and I still use it while working from home. Feel free to modify your routine, since our lives are unique to our circumstances. I like lists, so I’m sharing six elements to add into your daily routine.

Exercise

Exercise has helped me a great deal and it is a free way to keep your mind focused and your body relaxed. Some people might not be able to get outside right now, but if you can, it is a mood-lifter. You can also use exercise as a way to keep in touch with friends and hold each other accountable. I know people who are doing Zoom workouts together and highly recommend it. For me, I have an app that keeps me to a workout schedule and a dog that drags me on walks.

Social Engagement

By this, I don’t mean Instagram or Facebook. In fact, I encourage you to limit your time scrolling – especially during this time. I have found my social media to be a hindrance to my day rather than a motivator. Instead, schedule some time each day to call or video a friend or family member. I live for my breakfast time when I Facetime with my sister, nieces and nephews. It helps me feel connected and brings me joy at the start of my day, which sets the mood for the next few hours. 

Productivity

Even though the world feels like it’s on hold, our lives are not. If you are in need of work, block off two-hour increments to apply for jobs, send messages on LinkedIn, and research companies that are still hiring right now. If, like me, you are working from home, block your hours off for each task on your to-do list. I even find it helpful to put emails I need to send on my list. Not only does it ensure its completion, but it gives me great pleasure to check something off! This applies to hygiene and home-life too. Shower, get dressed and make your bed before you start your day! I promise it will change your outlook. I know I have trouble focusing on work if my house is dirty, so every evening, I do a quick run-through to make sure my home is in order to set myself up for the next day. 

Sustenance 

There are so many articles being shared right now about how important a healthy diet is when you are stressed, so I won’t belabor the point, but make sure you are eating regularly. I have the bad habit of skipping meals or delaying lunch while working or stressed, and my productivity and mood suffers. I read this morning that eating plenty of leafy greens, healthy fats, and whole grains are perfect for mood boosting – which I think we all need right now.

Stillness

The other day I joked with my boss that all of my great ideas come to me in the shower. She shared with me this anonymous quote: “A head full of fears has no space for dreams.” It’s so easy to give into anxiety especially during this pandemic. I encourage you to make space for creativity and joy through stillness. Many people are recommending mediation apps; I use my daily walks to clear my head or think of something that excites me. Whatever works for you – carve out at least 10 minutes here and there to not be productive and let yourself be quiet.

Grace

I am currently sitting writing this blog post in dirty sweatpants and eating salt and vinegar chips, and that is OKAY! Give yourself grace – a routine shouldn’t make you feel guilty, but give you the freedom to get your tasks done and make time for yourself. If you submitted 10 job applications yesterday and today and it just feels too much, give yourself a break. If your heart isn’t in it, it will show in your job search efforts. 

I hope this helps you as a starting point to build your own routine. If you are looking for more tips in maintaining a regimen during your job search – then register for our services to be paired with a Transition Specialist! Hire Heroes USA can help you stay focused on your job search and set a routine that leads to success.

Partner in Success: John Tortarolo

Partner in Success: John Tortarolo


“After I retired from a long career in corporate and public sector human resources leadership, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity using my career experience,” John shared. Like many of our dedicated volunteers, John was driven to use the lessons he’d learned to make a difference. Throughout his career, John had interviewed 100s of people and amassed a lot of tips worth passing on. Sharing that advice with veterans and their spouses was an obvious choice: “My father-in-law, a decorated Army lieutenant colonel, was a role model to me, instilling in me an admiration and respect for our armed services,” John said. “ I’ve also looked for ways to thank our veterans for their service, with more than just words.” 

John Tortarolo, Hire Heroes Volunteer

“While researching Hire Heroes USA,” John explained, “I found that volunteers were an essential part of their outreach resources.” And that is true – our volunteers are an extension of our own team, connecting with clients in meaningful ways every day. From narrowing down professional interests to advising on an elevator pitch, volunteers play a critical role in client success. 

What keeps John so passionate about volunteering? “I enjoy and appreciate being able to help veterans engage in their post-service careers,” he answered. John respects that each client he works with is on a different journey. “I research each person’s needs and provide specific information, advice, and suggestions,” he says.  “Most importantly, I listen and make sure they know I’m here to help in any way I can.” His reward? “Their enthusiasm,” John explained, “and the ‘Ahah!’ moments we share when we click on their employment game plan.”

In four short months, John has made a tremendous impact, touching the lives of many and furthering our mission. He has spent nearly 21 hours mentoring veterans in transition and we sincerely appreciate his commitment to our clients’ success.

“ Our veterans have a wealth of experience and leadership responsibilities, but it is often difficult to translate their service experience to civilian employers. If I can help them make that translation, I’ve done my job.”

You can make a difference, too. Become a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today.

Partner in Success: Theodore Williams

Partner in Success: Theodore Williams


Theodore Williams is a passionate advocate for the veteran community. Theodore leads the “MilComm” resource group within the Phoenix office of his company, The Hartford. He reached out to Hire Heroes USA in 2019 hoping to provide co-workers with meaningful ways to serve the veteran community and to get involved himself. 

Theodore’s admiration for service men and women runs deep and hits close to home. “I have a daughter and son-in-law currently serving in the Army, [a] step daughter who served 4 years in the Army and my father served in the Air Force,” Theodore shared. “I am very thankful and grateful to our service members and the freedoms they allow us to enjoy.”

Theodore Williams and his daughter.

In his current role as Senior Staffing Coordinator at The Hartford, his personal passion matched with his professional experience make him a stellar volunteer. “Career Development [and] Talent Acquisition is a passion of mine, one of the most rewarding experiences is being able to help another individual find their dream job,” he said. “In learning about HHUSA and the opportunity to volunteer and provide career consultation to service members and their spouses was a match made in heaven!” 

When asked about his time on Hire Heroes’ volunteer team, Theodore shared: “My experience thus far with each of the individuals met have all been extremely meaningful and unique. It is very rewarding being able to provide some insight and enlighten an individual on something new that he/she did not necessarily know about before.” Helping with mock interviews and career counseling sessions, Theodore has invested more than 12 hours in our mission. For that, we say thank you! 


You can make a difference, too. Become a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today.

Partner in Success: Daniel Lennox-Choate

Partner in Success: Daniel Lennox-Choate


The military to civilian transition is a personal one for Daniel Lennox-Choate. After graduating from West Point, Daniel deployed twice to the Middle East as an Infantry Officer. When it came time for his next adventure, Daniel pursued his MBA at Harvard. Embarking on his civilian career with his degree under his belt, Daniel was motivated to help other soldiers make good choices during an overwhelming time: “I learned a great deal by trial and error during my transition, so I thought it would be great to share the lessons I learned with others,” Daniel shared. 

Daniel Lennox-Choate, Hire Heroes USA Volunteer

Since he started volunteering five years ago, he has spent almost 21 hours counseling other veterans and military spouses in their career transition. “I really enjoy connecting with other veterans and helping them weigh career decisions,” Daniel said. “I’ve gotten to meet with people with a variety of experiences and help them with everything from interview prep to LinkedIn reviews. It’s especially rewarding to meet with people who come from industries and experiences very different from my own since I get to learn so much from them while I share advice about their next steps.”

Volunteering is really about the human connection. Each individual comes to Hire Heroes USA with a different story and diverse goals. Daniel gets to know each client he works with and through sharing his personal perspective and providing productive advice, he empowers every client to reach for their professional goals. 

“I’ve had a few opportunities to meet with and advise with folks who are returning to the workforce after several years away,” Daniel shared. “Recently I got feedback that one of those people had found full time employment in a role they are very happy with. It’s always great to hear from the people I’ve connected with, but it’s especially great to hear that I was helpful to someone who successfully made a big leap back into the workforce after time away.”

On behalf of this client and so many more, Daniel, we want to say thank you for volunteering with us – you are making success after service a reality.


You can make a difference, too. Become a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today.

Partner in Success: Laurie Reed

Partner in Success: Laurie Reed


Laurie Reed, Hire Heroes Volunteer

For Laurie, helping others find their place in the civilian workforce is a personal and professional calling. Laurie earned her Masters Degree in Career Counseling and has worked in Vocational Rehabilitation for 30 years. Through the decades, Laurie has learned a lot about how to help others overcome challenges and plan for success. “I have worked with veterans in my career,” Laurie explains, “and [I] have a great deal of experience assisting veterans with disabilities including individuals with PTSD who need vocational guidance and counseling to return to work.” 

Giving back has long been a part of Laurie’s life, too. “I have always been an active volunteer and learned the value of volunteering early on through my family,” Laurie shared. “It has been very meaningful to work with HHUSA clients to provide career counseling advice particularly when I get to experience their joy in having a plan and direction to guide their career choices. I hope to provide volunteer services through my retirement.” 

“I enjoy volunteering with HHUSA as it allows me a chance to give back to veterans and their spouses who have given so much in service to our country.”

Through career counseling sessions and mock interviews, Lauries is helping veterans and military spouses find a productive path forward. In the 19 hours she’s invested in our mission, she has helped clients realize professional success is within reach. On National Volunteer Week, we want to say thank you. Thank you, Laurie, for being on our team! 


You can make a difference, too. Become a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today.

Partner in Success: Allisyn Ruttle

Partner in Success: Allisyn Ruttle


When Allisyn joined the Volunteer Team in 2018, she brought a wealth of professional knowledge and a passion to serve:  “I decided to pursue a career in Talent Acquisition because, as I learned through a student job as a peer-to-peer Career Counselor at Pitzer College, there is something fulfilling and profound about guiding someone from one chapter of their lives to another,” Allisyn shared. “Volunteering with Hire Heroes USA allows me to take that notion beyond my 9:00 to 5:00 while giving back to a community that I whole-heartedly respect and admire.” 

Allisyn Ruttle, Hire Heroes USA Volunter

Allisyn grew up surrounded by a spirit of service. “While I’m not a veteran myself, I have a family full of them, Marines in particular. I have a brother and a brother-in-law that are currently active duty, with more than a dozen retired Marines in my extended family,” Allisyn explained. “I am so grateful that services like Hire Heroes USA are available to them should they need it, and it’s the least I can do to do my part when I can to keep Hire Heroes’ mission going in practice.” 

Allisyn has invested 26 hours to help veterans and military spouses find their place in the civilian workforce and answer many, many questions about the ins and outs of the gaming industry from her perspective as a Recruiter at Riot Games. Beyond sharing job search best practices and conducting mock interviews, Allisyn goes deeper to really understand what success means to each individual she works with.

“As a Recruiter, I not only review applications and usher folks through the interview process at Riot Games, but also building relationships with folks by actively listening to their goals and motivations. Being a volunteer Career Counselor with Hire Heroes USA allows me to give back to the community and make a difference while flexing the skills I already have, and listening to the stories and intentions of my clients continues to inspire me as I move into my third year as a volunteer,” Allisyn explained. 

And Allisyn’s insight is in high demand! Many of our clients are interested in the technical and creative intersection of video game design. “There is an obvious bridge between veterans and the gaming industry; veterans love gaming! Because of the highly selective nature of the games industry and the specialized skills involved in most roles in game development in particular, veterans have historically found it challenging to engage with the industry, despite the fact that the population of veterans that play games is unquestionably high,” Allisyn shared. “Most of my clients have dreams of breaking into the video game industry, and a vast majority of those clients had never had the opportunity to learn first-hand from someone already in the industry.” 

Realizing she is a unique position to help, Allisyn shared that “volunteering with Hire Heroes USA has ‘unlocked’ a passion in me to bridge the gap between veterans and the video game industry one client, one conversation, one resume at a time.” For that, we are so grateful.

Thank you for being on our team, Allisyn!

You can make a difference, too. Become a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today.

Financial Resources available for those impacted by COVID-19

Financial Resources available for those impacted by COVID-19

Jamie Rimphanli
Latest posts by Jamie Rimphanli (see all)

Have you been laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic? There are programs in place to support you during this time. It is important to stay resilient and diligent through this process as there are a high volume of individuals who face similar problems. Right now, your job is to get access to the funds that can help you through the months of unemployment.

CARES Act

What does this act mean to you? Get the basic facts on how the CARES Act works here.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment amount is increased under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, including those who were ineligible like contractors or business owners. To qualify, you must be ineligible for any other state or federal unemployment benefits; unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work due to the COVID-19 public health emergency; and cannot telework or receive paid leave.

How long will you receive benefits and how much should you expect?

• Unemployment benefits are expanded and increased to $600 per week for up to four months. If your benefits run out, you can file for a 13-week extension until the end of the year.

• To file a claim, click here and search from your state.

The Stimulus Check or Recovery Rebate for Individual Taxpayers

The purpose of the rebate is to bolster the economy. This refundable tax credit is automatic via direct deposit or paper check. The rebate decreases a taxpayer’s tax liability dollar-for-dollar, and the credit can be refunded to a taxpayer if they have no tax liability to offset. This is applicable to taxpayers who submitted their tax return in 2019 or 2018. Not everyone will get a rebate and Credit Karma has an easy-to-read table on the cap. There’s also a handy tool from Tax Foundation available below to view your rebate.

Health Insurance

There are options for your health insurance. qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

COBRA – The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time.

Affordable Healthcare Act – You may qualify under three different plans: Marketplace Insurance Plan, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Defer Your Bills

During this time, it’s important to talk to your utility providers, credit card companies, car notes and insurance, and student loans. Utility providers are offering deferments ensuring not to turn off the power, water, and gas. The government and charitable programs are available and you can find programs by calling 211.  In addition, the new law also suspends payments for six months.

Housing

The government is calling for all states, counties, and states a ban on evictions and offer forbearance. Different local state governments are taking action on property owners disobeying this call to action. As this is an ongoing issue, across the country, there’s a common fight to understand housing as a human right especially during this time.

Food

There are programs to leverage so you can save money.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

SNAP state directory. Under this program, school cafeterias are still offering meal plans and you can pick different meals and snacks for your children.

Emergency Food Assistance Program – The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost.

Job Search

Employment will turn around, and some companies are still hiring. If you’re unemployed, it’s vital to prepare to land your next job. If you’re a veteran or a military spouse, Hire Heroes USA is here for you. Be sure to register for our free services and sign up for our webinar, Achieving Success During COVID-19.

Get ready – Prepare your resume, learn what’s out there, and check out freelance work. Upwork has a constant listing of opportunities to help you create your schedule and offer flexibility. Hire Heroes USA is offering additional education through virtual career events

LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn! Re-engage with your profile and your contacts. Find out what’s going on and keep a tab on their opportunities. Let recruiters find you.

Virtual Events –  Companies that are still hiring are relying on virtual outreach. Find webinars and virtual career fairs for open positions. Hire Heroes USA has three more this year: May 14, August 13, and October 22. If this is a new experience, we’re here to help. Check out our blog on how to make the most out of your experience.

Job Searching as a Military Spouse During COVID-19

Job Searching as a Military Spouse During COVID-19
Kelly Grivner-Kelly
Latest posts by Kelly Grivner-Kelly (see all)
COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for military families.

Military Spouses know a thing or two about dealing with things that are beyond our control. We are equipped to handle obstacles, even in a time of crisis. Since COVID 19 has forced families across the country to shelter at home, military families now face a new form of adversity. Fortunately, flexible choices remain for spouses to find employment during this crisis.

I have been a Military Spouse for almost seven years, and I like to compare Military life to a rollercoaster ride with many twists and turns. This latest turn happened during PCS season, when many military families, including my own, were preparing to move. There was fear that our move would be delayed due to COVID-19. Luckily, we were able to continue to our duty station and settle into our new home. However, other families were not as lucky. 

Currently, there are more than 120,000 troops unable to go on to their next orders. Some service members stuck between moves are paying rent or mortgage bills in two places due to the military’s 60-day stop move order. Many military spouses were also searching for a job near their new home when the global pandemic hit.

What can military spouses do to find a job during a pandemic? As companies and organizations require employees to work from home, this offers a unique chance for jobseekers to  find remote positions. Remote work can be a great fit for military spouses. Remote jobs provide work-from-home and portable employment opportunities which allow you to relocate with your service member with less of an impact on your career.

There are companies that are still hiring. It is crucial during this crisis to do your part to keep your career search from becoming stagnant. Don’t hold off on sending your resume to employers and networking on Linkedin, both of which can be done from home.

How do you find remote work?

There are several ways to describe remote positions. Companies describe these jobs using different terms, and it’s important  to use each of these search terms while looking for remote roles.

• Remote work

• Telecommuting/Telecommute

• Work from home

• Online job

• Telework

• Anywhere job

• Virtual job

• Distributed team

• Home-based

• Off-site job

Where to Search for Remote Jobs

Below are some vetted resources that feature remote employment opportunities:

Hire Heroes USA Job Board You will see “Featured Employers” with hot jobs and “Partnered Employers” all of which we have formed partnerships with recruiters and can help streamline your applications. Make sure to create a detailed account by completing your profile and uploading your resume.

Grow with Google Google Search makes it easier to find quality remote jobs. Now, you can search for jobs that match your skillset, like “sales jobs” and filter your location to “work from home” to see relevant job listings that meet your criteria. Remote work requires its own kind of expertise, so Google created hands-on training that offers helpful tools and advice to set military spouses up for success in remote jobs. 

FlexJobs allows you to access hand-screened remote, part-time, freelance, and flexible jobs—quickly and easily.

Instant Teams enables companies to scale and manage their remote workforce while delivering remote work options to untapped talent pools of professionals.

Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) seeks to strengthen the education and career opportunities of military spouses by providing career exploration opportunities, employment readiness assistance, and training that can help them reach their career goals.

Virtforce VirtForce is reducing the unemployment rate for Active Duty MilSpouses and Veterans by connecting employers seeking to diversify and distribute their talent network to qualified virtual candidates within the military community. Join their newsletter to receive great remote opportunities. USNLX Virtual Jobs partnership collects and distributes job openings exclusively found on corporate career websites and state job banks.

Organizations hiring Virtual Assistants

• Boldly

• Patriot Advantage

• Wise Advise + Assist Team

• Squared Away

If you are a military spouse in need of employment assistance, register for Hire Heroes USA’s Serving Spouses program! We offer free resources to help military spouses succeed in the workforce. Each spouse client is paired with a Transition Specialist who will guide them through their job search from start to finish, staying in touch along the way to coach, listen, and encourage!

Four Tips to Nail a Video Interview

Four Tips to Nail a Video Interview


Kyla Hensley
Latest posts by Kyla Hensley (see all)

With any job interview, it’s all about leaving the interviewer with a positive impression. In this new work-from-home environment, the rules haven’t changed, but the format is a little different. Video interviews were growing in popularity before the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are now more common than ever. Understanding how to be successful during a video interview is now an essential skill for job seekers, and while they may not seem drastically different from in-person interviews, there are key differences.

I’ve outlined four actionable steps each veteran or military spouse can take to ensure success in your next video interview.

1. Research, research, research!

This is the key to any interview, and it remains critical here. Research the company, be familiar with news updates about the organization and the individuals interviewing you. You should also feel comfortable explaining how your experience relates to the role. Still feeling unsure ahead of the big day? Here’s a quick and easy video to build your interview preparation checklist.

2. Determine your video interview setup

The “little” details here will set you apart. Find a space in your home or office with a neutral background and ensure the area behind you is clutter-free and clean. Adjust your computer a little higher so the camera is level with your eyes. You don’t want to appear to be looking down interviewers. Next, test the technology ahead of time. Find a friend or family member to help you do a test run of the application or software. Try to do this at least one day before your interview at the same time your interview is scheduled. This will allow you to test background light, internet speed, audio and outside distractions.

3. Dress the part

It may seem fun to wear a suit top and sweatpants on the bottom, but please don’t do this. Dress exactly like you would if you were walking into an in-person interview. This will help you to feel and perform your very best. Approaching the interview with confidence and care is key. Dress for success is a catchphrase for a reason. If you’re unsure about what to wear, research the company culture. A good rule of thumb is to be dressed one level above what the company norm is. So if business casual without jackets is the norm, it would be appropriate to include a blazer or tie for your interview.

4. Practice, but don’t become stiff

Just as if you were preparing for an in-person interview, it will be important to practice your routine. Do a trial run to see how much time it takes you to get ready. Set up your laptop, log into the software, and be ready for the interview. Also, practice answering some trial questions in front of your computer. You should get used to making eye contact with the camera, not the screen, while answering questions. Be sure to smile while you wait for questions or when answering questions. The interviewers won’t be able to see the rest of your body language, so be sure to clearly answer your questions in a warm and welcoming tone.


At the end of the day, people hire people they want to work with. Let your personality show through. Remember, it’s okay to be a little nervous, it means you care about the outcome. You can’t do anything to get rid of the nerves, so acknowledge them and jump in. Good luck!