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5 Tips to a Successful Military Spouse Career Search
Image: – – Macho Spouse
You know, I started Macho Spouse because I couldn't find a job in my career field during our last PCS. Most of us military spouses have probably gone through similar depressing job-searches. But after two years of unemployment, here I am, back in the job market and gainfully employed. This time, however, I have a whole new appreciation for what it takes to land that next job. The following is a short list of what I learned during my latest employment drought.
The first thing every military spouse needs when planning his or her career is patience. Patience, patience, patience. We must understand that our career trajectories won't be as quick, or logical as our civilian counterparts. And that's OK. As long as we understand where we want to be at the end of our working life, taking a step backwards now and then isn't a big deal as long as it moves us further forward down the line. Remember, our life situations can change rapidly, so we don't have to find that “perfect” job today since we probably won't be able to keep it anyway. Focus on building your resume so that when your spouse does decide to retire, you will have a great resume and lot's of experience to land that “perfect”job.
Stay positive! Believe me, I know it can be difficult to stay positive through this process, especially in a tough job market. But you must. Negative attitudes breed poor performance and outcomes. If you're not careful, a negative disposition will become apparent to potential employers. I sat on many hiring boards during my last job and it was always clear who had a positive, go-getter attitude and who didn't. Guess which candidates we hired 100% of the time. Try and find an “inner happiness/peace” during each job search and interview.
Network. Networking is probably the single most important tool a military spouse can use when trying to find, and maintain, employment. Get out of the house and go to those career fairs and military spouse functions. You may not find a job, but you will be laying the groundwork for possible future employment. If you can't get away from the house, try participating in a virtual career fair. The simple truth is we never really know when or where our next job offer will originate, so the more people who know us, the better. These events also allow us to meet fellow military spouses who are experiencing similar issues, something that I've found to be very healthy. It is an overwhelmingly positive feeling to discover that we aren't alone.
Be creative. Don't be afraid to “pop your career bubble” and accept a position or opportunity that may not align exactly with your education and experience. Part of being a valuable employee is having a well-rounded work history that pulls from different career fields. For example, I've been able to use my experience in the restaurant industry to help with my organizational and customer service skills. Skills that are very valuable in the video production industry. Taking chances like these can also lead to opportunities that you never would've known existed had you stayed in your career bubble.
My final tip is to look for jobs with larger corporations. Large companies usually have multiple openings and are more capable of transfering you from one location to another. I always start my job-searches with companies who openly promote hiring military spouses. Having an employer who understands the unique demands of our lifestyle never hurts. It's no secret that AT&T sent me a couple iPad Gift Baskets in return for writing this blog, so let's use them as an example. Go take a look at ATT.Jobs and see how they work with military spouses, http://att.jobs/doing-great-things/atts-women/military-spouses. I am very impressed with the amount of resources these guys are putting into hiring people like us, even going as far as breaking out specific telecommuting careers and jobs close to military installations. At the time of this blog, they had several dozen opportunities in San Antonio alone!
Speaking of the AT&T iPad Gift Basket, thanks to everyone who entered his or her suggestions on how best to show appreciation to a military spouse. I put everyone's name/email address in a hat and drew Jack Lauters. Congratulations Jack! I also drew a second name in case Jack doesn't want the iPad, and the runner-up is Jeremy Hilton. Jeremy, you receive nothing…unless Jack wants to surrender his right to the iPad Gift Basket. Thanks again guys, and thank you AT&T!
A great way to show your appreciation for military families is to adopt a military family this holiday season. What? Adopt a military family? Yes! Reda Hicks, the Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year, explains how operationwearehere.com can help you show your appreciation.
November is Military Families Appreciation Month, and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Branch Spouses of the Year (Branch SOYs) want to help everyone, everywhere participate in thanking and honoring military families.
Americans love our military, but many people don't quite know how best to express their gratitude. As National Guard Spouse of the Year Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee notes, “saying "thanks" to our military families is something that many want to do, but are at a loss as to how to do it –or in the case of Guard and Reserve, how to find us!”
So the Branch SOYs created #30Ways of Thanks to help. Each day in November, the Branch SOYs will release a video with an action item that people around the country can participate in virtually or locally, individually or in groups. Participants can hash tag #30Ways so that their messages, photos, or videos are spread far and wide. Hash tags #GratefulNation and #MilFamsRock can also be added as a short-hand way to say “You are amazing, military families!” Best of all, the entire #30Ways video collection will be stored on the Branch SOYs' YouTube channel so that it can be repeated in Novembers to come, or whenever someone is looking for a way to say “thank you” to military families.
When Motley Crue's “Final Tour” came through San Antonio, my wife and I felt we just had to go. Their music played such an important role throughout our impressionable years, well, honestly Vince, Tommy, and Nikki had more of an impact on Dana than me. (Sorry Crue, but I've always been more of a Parrot Head!) But I do like several of their songs and have seen them in concert a few times, so a final romp on the wild side sounded appropriate.
We are slightly older now than we were in '88 so a lot has changed. For one, rather than just show up slightly intoxicated and hope to find some cheap seats, we bought our tickets weeks in advance. Good ones to! We also made sure both of us had the following day off from work, no more working with ears still ringing and head pounding. We are now productive adults. Plus, neither of us was planning on passing out in our car after the show, or driving home, so we felt it important to get a room…a nice room…on the River Walk. Twenty-five years ago we would've shacked-up at the cheapest "roach motel" for the night and not worried about location, comfort, or cleanliness. Oh how times have changed!
Staying at the TownePlace Suites was a pretty easy decision considering they had just given me a couple free nights in their hotels in exchange for some honest reviews, this is one. Before TownePlace Suites contacted me I honestly had no idea they had a location in downtown San Antonio, my wife and I usually stay at the Hyatt or Sheraton. So this would work out perfectly, especially since TownePlace welcomes pets and we wanted to bring our dog, Brutus. Yeah, bringing our doggie to a night of rock and roll craziness with Motley Crue...oh how times have changed!