Military Spouses: 5 Transferable Skills for the Job Market
Signing up for life as a military spouse comes with more than the traditional highs and lows of marriage. We wholeheartedly embrace the duty of providing consistent support, ensuring our families not only persevere but thrive amidst the challenges of training, relocations, deployments, and any unexpected hurdles life may present. Navigating this journey fosters a myriad of essential life skills, but they also have a secondary application: the job market. As a military spouse, you can highlight your unique qualities in comparison to your civilian counterparts to stand out in the job search process. Let’s dive in to review specific examples and how they can best serve you in the job market.
From last-minute changes in duty stations, to emergency deployments, the list of 11th-hour adjustments in military life is endless, and we pivot each time. We ensure that our spouses and families have everything they need to maintain their sense of normalcy and continue pressing on.
Don’t minimize the fact that you’ve successfully navigated last-minute changes or remained calm when situations outside of your control arise. As a job applicant, there is no larger or more last-minute change an employer can throw at you that you haven’t already handled at scale. Changes to a presentation before tomorrow? Done. Shifting the project focus based on market analysis? Easy. Knowing that you can keep pace with business needs and continue a smooth operational workflow is a major highlight for a potential employer.
Moving cross-country, or even internationally, every two years while maintaining medical and educational records, providing emotional support, and overseeing all operational logistics takes a mastermind. Military spouses have extensive experience prioritizing competing tasks, budgeting, organizing vendors, and communicating effectively with individuals of diverse personalities and backgrounds. These skills are highly transferable to the job market. Marketing yourself as the person who “makes things happen” can help land you a new position.
Losing military documents, medical records, IDs, and powers of attorney is simply not an option. Keeping detailed records is an unwritten requirement when managing life as a military family. When your family’s well-being depends on your meticulous organization, that translates easily into any career.. Cite specific examples of the level of detail, deadlines, and volume of documents you’ve handled to emphasize your administrative skillset.
Volunteering is a pillar of life for many military spouses, and if that is your personal experience, shout your contributions from the rooftops. Not only can this be added as professional experience to your resume, but many companies have specific philanthropic initiatives that provide opportunities for you to be a standout contributor. Showing your commitment to a philanthropic cause can be an attractive quality for companies seeking someone with a servant-leader mindset for their team.
Stretching a dollar is a familiar concept when dealing with military pay. (I know I’m not the only one who holds onto curtains of every size in case they fit a house in the future.) Making the most of what you have and limiting waste can be a major highlight for a future employer. Who isn’t seeking a candidate who knows how to be savvy with a budget, resources, and personnel? We can leverage this innate problem-solving, forecasting, and budget-focused mentality in the workplace as well.
Even if you weren’t earning a paycheck for the many skills you acquired managing life as a military spouse, they still have a direct marketplace value and can be used to demonstrate how you will thrive in your future career. As long as you can provide specific examples, quantifiable metrics, or other tangible ways to digest what you have accomplished, then you should confidently highlight the skills learned from military life. For more insights on job seeking as a military spouse, read Lessons Learned as a Military Spouse Job Seeker.
Sidney Hubner is a Transition Specialist on the Serving Spouses Team with Hire Heroes USA. For more information about obtaining services with Hire Heroes USA as a military spouse, go to www.hireheroesusa.org