Tips and Strategies: Navigating the Job Search as a Military Spouse
- Tips and Strategies: Navigating the Job Search as a Military Spouse - October 4, 2023
Military life brings with it a unique set of challenges and opportunities. One of the significant challenges faced by military spouses is maintaining a career while dealing with frequent relocations and the unpredictability of military life. The constant movement can make it seem daunting to secure and maintain meaningful employment. With the right strategies and support, military spouses can successfully navigate the job search process. In this article, we’ll explore some valuable tips and strategies to help military spouses on their journey to finding and sustaining a fulfilling career.
1.) Assess Your Skills and Interests
Before diving into the job search, take some time to reflect on your skills, strengths, and career interests. You have to know what you want to do to have a successful job search. Consider what you’re passionate about and what types of roles align with your skillset. Military life often involves acquiring a diverse range of transferable skills such as adaptability, leadership, and problem-solving, which can be assets in various job settings. Check out our most recent blog, which discusses the 5 Transferable Skills for the Job Market that military spouses have in their toolbox.
2.) Create a strong Resume
Your resume is your first impression to potential employers, so it’s crucial to tailor it to showcase your qualifications effectively. Highlight your transferable skills, volunteer experiences, and any professional development you’ve pursued. Use keywords from job descriptions that match your skills and experiences to increase your chances of passing through automated applicant tracking systems. Sign up for Hire Heroes USA where you will be assigned a Transition Specialist who will rewrite and help develop your personalized resume for you.
3.) Explore Remote Work and Portable Careers
Remote work is on the rise and offers military spouses the flexibility to work from anywhere. Look for industries and job roles that embrace remote work, and explore freelance or consulting opportunities that can travel with you from one duty station to another. There is increased competition for remote work; therefore, you do have to work even harder to stand out from the crowd of applications. Let this serve as a powerful motivator as you meticulously refine your resume and master the art of interviewing!
4.) Job Search Engines and Platforms
There are job search websites and platforms specifically designed to assist military spouses in finding employment. Websites like Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), Hire Heroes USA Job Board, VirtForce and FlexJobs cater to military families, offering job listings that are compatible with military life. Set up job alerts and use location filters to find positions that match your current or upcoming duty station.
5.) Networking and Support
Connect with other military spouses who have been through similar experiences. Online communities, social media groups, and local spouse clubs can be valuable sources of job leads, guidance, and emotional support. Networking with fellow military spouses can open doors to hidden job opportunities. Wives of the Armed Forces is a great online support community for military spouses.
6.) Attend Job Fairs and Workshops
Virtual and in-person job fairs and workshops provide opportunities to meet potential employers and learn about the job market. These events often focus on connecting military spouses with military-friendly employers. Participate actively, gather information, and make connections that can help you in your job search. Check out all of Hire Heroes USA’s upcoming virtual events.
7.) Application Tips
Craft a compelling cover letter for each application and tailor your resume each time to the specific position. Employers receive hundreds of resumes for each job posting, and they often use ATS to filter out unsuitable candidates. By tailoring your resume to the job description, you can increase your chances of being selected for an interview.
8.) Preparing for Interviews
Prepare thoroughly for interviews, whether they’re conducted in person or virtually. Practice answering common interview questions and be ready to explain any gaps in your employment history due to relocations. Showcase your ability to adapt and thrive in diverse environments. Make sure to come prepared and ask questions at the end of the interview.
9.) Upskilling and Continuing Education
Stay updated with industry trends by investing in continuous learning. Consider online courses, certifications, or degrees that can enhance your qualifications and keep you competitive in your field. Hire Heroes USA has a partnership with Coursera, where Hire Heroes USA clients can take advantage of hundreds of online classes for free.
10.) Explore Alternative Employment Options
Freelancing, consulting, or gig work can provide flexibility and allow you to maintain a career despite frequent moves. Many military spouses have found success in these non-traditional roles.
While navigating the unique path of a military spouse in the job market, you’re not just facing challenges – you’re sculpting resilience, honing adaptability, and crafting a versatile skill set that sets you apart. By assessing your skills, customizing your resume, exploring remote work opportunities, networking with other military spouses, and staying flexible in your career choices, you can navigate the job search process with confidence. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey, and there is a community of military spouses ready to support and empower you in your career aspirations.
Kelly Kelly is the Serving Spouses Program Manager at Hire Heroes USA. Kelly is married to her husband, who is an active-duty Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force. As a Military Spouse, Kelly has experienced the hardships that come along with finding meaningful employment, and as a former client of Hire Heroes USA, Kelly has experienced firsthand the way Hire Heroes USA carries out its mission. She currently oversees the Serving Spouses Program of specialized Transition Specialists, workshops, and webinars tailored toward the unique needs of military spouses. Kelly enjoys mentoring veterans and spouses to determine their professional goals and then teach them how to posture themselves to achieve those goals. For more information about utilizing services with Hire Heroes USA as a military spouse, please visit www.hireheroesusa.org