The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Author: thepcsingspouse (Page 1 of 3)

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality Be Flexible

Hey y’all! It’s been a minute and I am so very sorry for the delay, life has been crazy around here! I am not sure that if I mentioned it in my last post, but I returned to work the end of July and adjusting the family to a new schedule and routine has required a lot of patience, grace and….FLEXIBILITY! J I didn’t want to leave y’all hanging with this last post, so let’s jump on in to it!

I saved the topic of flexibility until the end for a couple of reason. One, it will mean something different to everyone, and two, it really is a piece of career life that is unique to us. I really never gave career or job flexibility much thought, I always just assumed I would get up and go to work, hopefully doing something I loved, until I retired. Then I married a sailor and moved to Virginia. Then moved to Ohio and had a baby. It was not until almost five years after become military affiliated did the concepts of telecommuting, remote work and flexible work days start to surface as buzz words in interviews. Fast forward three years and the concept has becoming more and more popular with employers and it is the ideal situation for MilSpouses. Many of us may be sitting there thing, why did/have I not considered this option? Don’t feel crazy, I never had even given it a second thought until I had our daughter. In my last position I worked at a remote site two days a week and some of those days I could work from home, but to think of having a full time job where I worked in my slippers, from the couch? I was intrigued and wanted to know more.

After having my daughter, around the 6 month mark I knew I was ready to get back to work. My goal was to return to work by the time she was a year old, so I knew I needed to start getting myself ready. At that time, MY SECO was getting ready to host their Virtual Military Spouse Symposium and they had an entire track dedicated to flexibility and remote employment. Many of speakers discussed how to brand yourself as a remote employee, and how to sell the idea of telecommuting or working from home to your employer. I will share a couple of those ideas with you.  

Ensure that you and your family are prepared for you to work remotely. Designate a area of the home to be your office, ensuring there will be enough quietness for phone calls and concentration.
Working for home is not suitable for all people. You have to be very disciplined and focused, ensuring that you remain on task and keep up with in office productivity.
When preparing your resume for remote positions, be sure to include skills that are related to remote employment ie: video conferences tools, file sharing databases, IM and other technology skills that have the ability to “bring you to the office.” Also be sure to include soft skills that show you have the personality and discipline to work from home.
When discussing the topic with your employer, maybe begin with 1-2 days a week to ease into the transition.

These are some of the ideas recommended when considering making the transition to remote or telecommute type employment. While not exhaustive, it’s a great start when considering this type of change to your career. You might be thinking now; well what kind of jobs are remote positions. The simply answer is almost all jobs! I would recommend ten times over to sign up for a three month membership with Flex Jobs as well as going on the MY SECO website and going to their job bank. In the MY SECO job bank they have a list of employers that all have remote positions and are military spouse friends. Flex jobs allows you to create a profile and upload your resume. From there you will receive daily updates on positions that fit your criteria. Flex jobs also partners with employers who are military spouse friendly.

So I say all of this to say what you ask? I have learned that military spouses are some of the most resilient people in the world. We adapt, adjust and just when we are getting comfortable, it’s time to move. If you have a career, or you are hard worker, the 3, 4, 5 year rotation can do a damaging number on your work history and resume. With the flexibility of working remotely or even better, being hired in with a larger company that is nationwide and allows you telecommute, you can now have the opportunity to create long standing work history, gain strong references, and still support your service member and family.

It has been my pleasure to share an area of my life that is very near and dear to my heart with all of you. I never realized just how complex employment as a military spouse could be, and I wish all you the very best of luck in your career endeavors, and wherever your branch of service takes you. Thank you for letting me spend the last couple of months with y’all, remember;

Empowered women, Empower women,

 

Keadra Young-Bogardus

The Resilient Military Spouse

I see you. I see you taking night classes in silence while your children sleep and your spouse is in the field. I see you spending hours, days, years of your life job hunting. Filling out hundreds of applications only to be told you aren’t the “perfect” fit, or worse getting no response at all. I see you working jobs far below your capabilities, for pay that barely pays your Daycare. I see you biting your nails over your pile of bills as  you wait for a CDC spot to open up at your new duty station. I see you hustling. Desperately pleading with your friends on Facebook to buy the inventory you maxed out your credit card to get. I see you leaving the only career you’ve ever known in the name of student loans and car payments. 

I see you,  because you’re amazing. Sure, sometimes you get down, but then you get up. You always get up. No matter how many jobs you don’t get, how many degrees you can’t use, you keep getting up. I love when people say “well it could be worse” or “this is what you signed up for.” As if you could have passed on the love of your life because they chose an inconvenient profession. I feel sorry for those people because they don’t know what it’s like to love someone so much you’d make any sacrifice to have a life with them. Yes, it could always be worse, but your struggle is real. It’s real, and I see you, because military spouses are the most resilient people I know.

So be kind to each other. When your friends are hawking beauty products on Facebook, buy some. When someone is venting on the spouse page, let them. Offer them kindness and hope instead of judgement. When you’re leaving a great job, try to fill it with a fellow milspouse. Be a part of the solution. See each other, support each other. We are all in this together.

Premium LinkedIn Update!

Hey there ya’ll. I wanted to drop a quick note for those that are looking to take advantage of the free LinkedIn Premium offer. In speaking with My SECO Coach, I learned about some of the specific eligibility requirement for being able to use this service. The specific eligibility requirements to meet for LinkedIn Premium are as follows; if you are doing a PCS move 6 months or less from now, or it’s 6 months or less after your last PCS move, then you meet the requirement for a year of free LinkedIn Premium access. Military spouses can use this benefit each time they PCS to a new duty station.  This benefit is also for spouses who are within 6 months of separation from the military.

If you do not fit within these perimeters, I don’t either, then please make sure that you are logging into the MySECO page and using their services, especially setting up an appointment with a career coach.

 

More to come!!

 

As always…

Empowered Women, empower Women

 

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality Joining Military Spouse Employment Program

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July and ya’ll are enjoying this summer weather. Here in Ohio, the temps have been in the middle to upper 80s, and as a girl who misses the South, it has been great! I wanted to jump right into these last two posts because SO many great things are happening for military spouses in the area of employment support. As I stated in my previous post, SECO has partnered with the LinkedIn’s Military and Veteran’s Program to open Premium services to military spouse who have just PCS’d  AND those who’s service member is transitioning out of the military. If you haven’t heard of this amazing partnership and all that it entails, check out my last post as well as heading on over to the SECO website to learn more.

In this post I wanted to talk about another group that has a lot ofgreat resources available to military spouses, Military Spouse Employment Program (MSEP). As I have said before, until I was an out of work transitioning spouse, I didn’t know a thing about any of these programs or the wealth of information that they provide. MSEP is part of the larger DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities initiative seeking to strengthen the career and education opportunities of military spouses. As we know all too well as milspouses, the transient life of a military family makes establishing a career path a little harder than normal. MESP has invested in helping military spouses understand their skills, interest and goals, and then how to enhance them though job skills training, educational certifications and licensing, ultimately making the spouse a more marketable and viable candidate. In addition to this service, they also have an employment database that boast over 360 military friendly partners who have hired over 112,000 military spouses. Through their targeted recruitment, they create employment connections that provide companies with direct access to military spouses.

Additionally, MSEP has a LinkedIn discussion group where military spouses from all over can connect to share employment advice, updates, as well as MSEP partners and staff can post employment opportunities, webinars and hiring events. The following link takes you to the MSEP job search portal https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal/msep/jobsearchwhere you can access over 200,000 active jobs and a list of Hot Jobs as well. These Hot Jobs are positions that are listed within the last five days that are deemed “in high need.” It is important to mention that these jobs refresh every day so if you see one that interest you, be sure that you follow up with it immediately. Recently studies have shown that many employers are looking to move towards more telework and remote opportunities for employees. This option not only saves money for the employer, but the employee as well, and this is a great concept for military spouse, allowing you to essentially take your job with you. The following link takes you directly to the MSEP telework partners. https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/Portal/Msep/jobsearch/Partners with this list you can see what employers offer telework opportunities as well as getting a feel for the types of positions that are telework ready. I was able to do some telework with my last employer, and I can tell you, it was very nice. While it does take some discipline and planning, if this is something that you think you may be interested in, please check out some of the articles on SECO regarding this topic.

I hope that this little intro to MSEP and all that they offer have been a help to you as you continue to navigate your employment journey. If you seek any more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Until next time,

Empowered women, empower women

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality LinkedIn Part 2: Enrolling in Premium for Military Spouses

Hey there ya’ll! I wanted to take a quick minute to add a little mini post about enrolling in the LinkedIn Premium program for Military Spouses. This specific program began its roll out July 1, 2018, and there are a few steps to complete to ensure that you are eligible to enroll. The full launch will not be available until July 23rd, so be sure that you have created your account with SECO prior to that date. The first is to make sure that you have indicated on your LinkedIn profile that you are military spouse. After that, ensure that you are enrolled with MySECO using this link https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal/content/view/8256

If you already have a LinkedIn account, ensure that you are following the MSEP group page so that you can stay abreast of new updates regarding the Premium program as well as employment updates, employer highlights and of course networking opportunities.

Until the next time,

Empowered Women, empower women

 

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality Creating a LinkedIn Profile

Welcome back ya’ll! We are nearing the end of this series, only 2 more post after this, and it is my sincere hope that the information up to this point has been useful to those looking to resume working and those just beginning this journey. The progression of the posts has been with the idea of taking you from the beginning to the end of the job seeking process. We began with brainstorming to develop the information necessary for a quality resume, and then we developed your resume. After that we touched on resources that were available locally to assist you with continued employment readiness, resume assistance and priority employment placement. The next three posts will cover the concept behind networking and different avenues you can use.

 

I am not sure how many of you know about LinkedIn and the benefits it offers not only to MilSpouses, but also to Veterans. For those that may be completely lost to the world of LinkedIn, it is the social media platform for workplace professionals. Using LinkedIn correctly will not only assist you in growing your professional network and meeting people who are in your chosen field, but it will also allow you to potentially network with hiring managers of employers before you move. LinkedIn allows you to build and grow your contacts, join various industry related groups, create a profile and a personal brand, and search for employment opportunities. Before we get into any more benefits of LinkedIn, let me say this…IT’S FREE! The basic services on LinkedIn don’t cost anything to you; however they do offer a premium service that allows for greater connections and training.  As many of you know, the Spouse Education Career Opportunities and LinkedIn’s Military and Veterans program have partnered to offer all Military spouses who are moving due to a PCS and military spouses within six months of separation a free one-year upgrade to LinkedIn premium. This service is already offered to service members who are separating.  This upgrade allows you:

  • Get advanced intelligence about how you compare to other applicants, including analysis of your education, experience, and skills.
  • Access free online training to develop new skills or refresh old ones, to eliminate any skills gaps between you and other applicants.
  • Message those you may not already be connected to, in order to build a professional network that will help you achieve your professional goals.
  • Access LinkedIn’s learning path for military spouses, focused on obtaining and succeeding in remote, flexible, or freelance work opportunities.

Build Your Profile

 

The first step in developing a successfully LinkedIn account is to build your profile. Like other social media platforms, you profile is your introduction to a potential employer. Unlike other platforms, this profile needs to remain STRICTLY professional. This includes your profile picture. Your profile picture should be a professional photo, preferable a head shot in business professional attire, with a neutral background. Building your profile in LinkedIn is done in sections, and like your resume, you want to ensure each section is perfect and polished. You can import your resume into many of the sections, but review to ensure everything transferred successfully. You have a section underneath your photo to write your personal branding statement. You can use the statement from your resume, or you can create something totally different. If you are in need of assistance in writing your brand, I suggest this article on the My SECO website https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal/content/view/3849, and really using some of the exercises listed. LinkedIn now allows you to add your skills (try to have 5 or more that are directly related to your industry) and expertise that you can have people in your network endorse. Last but not least, be sure to include in your profile that you are a military spouse.

 

Growing Your Network

 

I think one of the best qualities about LinkedIn is the opportunity to network with people all over the world. This is a huge asset to military spouse because we tend to end up traveling all over the world. If you are an introvert or semi-introverted like I, this process of “networking” takes the fear out of speaking to people you don’t know. There are a couple of ways to go about growing your network. If you are currently employed, be sure to connect with your coworkers as well as supervisors. You can also add connections by importing contacts from your email accounts, and the search function. If you know a friend works for Amazon, or Microsoft, search that company and see if there are other folks there you may know. The more connections you make, the larger your secondary network will grow. We will talk about this more.

 

Following up is very important. Whether you attended a conference, met someone in the doctor’s office, commissary, exchange or at a spouse event, reach out to them on LinkedIn and work to develop a professional relationship. One of the many benefits of being able to upgrade to prime for free, is that you will have the opportunity to message people you may not be connected to. This comes in handy when you are looking at applying at a company where you maybe don’t have contacts and you have located someone from human resources on LinkedIn. You will now have the capability to message this person directly to begin the networking process. This brings us to the next area of connecting, blind connections. When you have found “that job” and you know that you are a PERFECT fit, but don’t know how to get your foot in the door, this is where those secondary connections come into play. First, look and see if you have any mutual connections. If you do, and you are comfortable, ask your connect for an introduction. This may seem a bit farfetched, believe me, I thought the same thing, but this is how business is evolving. If you don’t have a connection, send a clear, customized and detailed request for a connection. This not only shows initiative, but will also allow you to make your awarding winning elevator pitch right to one of the decision makers.

Like I said in the first post, looking for a job is a full time job; this is no different on LinkedIn. You want to continue to have an active presence as well as keeping your status updated. Weekly you want to search for new connections, reach out to contacts and participate in conversations in your groups. Use short post to share information, ideas, links and opinions with your connections.

 

Resources

Some great areas for networking and resource information are the millions of groups on LinkedIn. Joining a group such as a college alumni group or groups related to your career field are great ways to build your network and open the door to additional connections. Join the Department of Defense’s military spouse LinkedIn group, which will signal your status as a military spouse to recruiters seeking to hire from within the community.  LinkedIn Channels LinkedIn Today allows you to stay information about area of interest as well as participate in conversations to add your knowledge. Just make sure you proofread everything before hitting send J finally, like I said before, LinkedIn is a great place to look for employment, you can target your search by company, industry field, or by location. As a military spouse make sure you are joining the MSEP group and following their company page for highlighted jobs from MSEP partners. It should go without saying, if there is a partner that is of interest to you, be sure to follow that company page as well.

I will be the first to admit I was never on the LinkedIn bandwagon until I started working in Workforce Development. It was not until I began to see how often employers utilize this platform to “research” a potential candidate long before they are even interviewed, did I start to update and revamp my own profile. Since this time I have been able to stay abreast of so many new developments to workforce industry as well as making connections with other military spouse.

 

Until next time,

Empowered women, Empower women.

 

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

 

 

 

Remodeling at a New Duty Station

Truth is I wrote and re-wrote this blog post a few times. I wanted to paint this picture of an amazing DIY home remodel that worked flawlessly. Honestly that is not what is happening in our home currently. We are working with a military budget, and on a military time frame. So instead I will tell you a little bit about my projects, give you my current tips and when we finally finish maybe I will share a fabulous update.

We moved to our most recent duty station with no intention of buying a fixer upper. We really had considered living on base again. However a VERY long wait list changed our minds. As we drove around and got familiar with our new town we found one location that just stood out to us as “the area we want to live”.

So we did it, we bought a house right in our desired neighborhood. It looked nice from the outside, ok from in the inside, but we saw a lot of potential in our new home. 30 long days later it was time to move in.

Once the previous owners things were out we could see how damaged the house truly was we knew it was going to take a lot of sweat equity to make this house a home.

The whole house needed new carpet, every single room. The whole house needs new paint, every single room. The back sliding door no longer locked or shut completely. The garage door has been rammed a few times and is all bent up. The fridge stopped working the first week we were there. The whole house needed new blinds, every single room. Door frames were broken. The living room had this weird built in entertainment center over the fireplace that was designed for one of those old tube televisions. The legit hardwood floors in the kitchen have water damage and need sanded. Honestly the list could go on. Now some of these things we were prepared for, others came as huge surprise after closing.

While our house is slowly becoming a home, it is going to take us awhile to finish. This has been the most challenging, frustrating, expensive, learning experience.

So my tips for any of you headed out to your next station and considering a fixer upper.

  1. Don’t. It is not as easy as it looks on Fixer Upper or any other HGTV show.
  2. If you do, make a plan. List all the things you want to do and place them in order of priority.
  3. Create a backup plan. Find a handyman or a contractor willing to do the jobs you can’t.
  4. Be prepared that the job can and will be put on hold for TDY, or other Military related reasons. (2 week TDY right in the middle of laying hardwood floors happening right here)
  5. Youtube.com will become your new best friend. Don’t know how to spray texture on walls? There is a youtube video that will give you step by step instructions. How do we know what we are doing? We don’t but we are not afraid to learn from someone who does.
  6. Try to enjoy it by being hands on. There is nothing more satisfying than realizing you are capable of more things than you ever thought you’d be able to do. I measured, cut, and hung 90% of the sheetrock in my new family room. It is so rewarding to be able to say I DID THAT!!!
  7. Be prepared to learn about yourself, your spouse and your marriage. Remodels/DIY projects/Home Repairs are not easy. They are stressful, time consuming and can be financially straining. Communication is key, talk it out. You will learn what each of you and your pocketbook can handle and don’t be afraid to take a step back and re-access.

Whatever you decide to do whether it be renting, base housing, or buying I just want to say Welcome Home!  

***Welcome to our newest blog teammate Alysha Lutz!!!

Careers and the MilSpouse: Part 3 Rethinking Resources

Visit Your Local Workforce Development Agency/Employment Commission

 

Welcome back everyone! Now that we have your initial resume created, I promise you will revise it at least three to four times a month while actively seeking employment, let’s talk about local resources that will help you with finding work and/or training. As I stated in the first post, I used to be a Career Developer with a local One-Stop Office in Norfolk, Virginia. If you are not familiar with One-Stops or the local Employment Commission, you are missing a little hidden gem. These agencies are State offices that receive Federal dollars to assist residents in job skills training and employment readiness. At the office where I was located, we conducted employment readiness workshops, had a computer lab that people could use to use to apply for jobs and work on resumes, as well as complete school work. Additionally, we had representatives from other social service agencies housed in our building for continuity and ease of service.  Most of the centers, also called American Job Centers (AJC), also offer job skills training in labor market sectors that are in high demand. All of these services are of course free of charge; however there will be some eligibility criteria for some of the more intensive, one-on-one services. I’d like to touch on a couple of the services that are most beneficial to MilSpouses and Veterans.

While these are not an exhaustive list of services, and they will vary from location to location, the basics should be the same.  The areas I believe are most helpful are: Workshops, Jobs Skills Training, and Employment Services. These three areas are really the bulk of the services that the AJC provides, but some resources not mentioned are hiring events, and the business services. Before moving into each area, I wanted to share with you about a term you may hear and one you should address when visiting these centers. That term is Dislocated Worker, and you will qualify as a dislocated worker if you have moved to a new duty station and not obtained full time employment. A DW is a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of such member. You also qualify as a DW if you were required to go to work due to a deployment.

Workshops: Each center will have a monthly calendar that illustrates the workshops they offer related to job readiness. These could range from resume writing, interview techniques, to on-line applications, and the use of social media in job seeking. All of these workshops are free and usually require you to register with the AJC and sign up in advance. I cannot stress the importance of having a good working resume before beginning your employment search. The facilitators of these workshops are usually all certified workforce specialist who have gone to trainings for these topics. You are able to attend as many workshops as you believe necessary and always feel comfortable to ask questions.

Job Skills Training: This service maybe called an intensive or enhanced service depending on the location, and will require some eligibility requirements. Eligibility is based on household size and income, however in the case of the military spouse, your service member’s base pay is all that is calculated and again, if you are deemed a DW, this information is not counted. If you qualify for job skills training, you will be allowed to receive funding for up to two years in an employment field that is deemed in high demand. The range in training providers and programs offered will vary from location to location and also depends on the labor market demand for each field. By this I mean you are more likely to receive training in a healthcare field than in an arts field like graphic design. Depending on the cap set at the start of each fiscal year, you could enroll and complete the program at almost zero cost, and obtain a certification or even Associates Degree.

Employment Services: Like the job skills training, some of these services will be deemed intensive or enhanced services, it just really depends on the AJC you are working with. This is the service that allows you to work one-on-one with a career coach or employment specialist. Not that I am partial, but I cannot even begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge, resources and support having a career coach offers. When you are assigned a career coach, they will take time to look at your resume and review your work history to determine if you will need any jobs skills training. If so, they will work with you on enrolling for a training program that will assist you in gaining skills that will make you more marketable. In addition to enrolling in job services, your career coach can also work with you on reviewing your resume and cover letter, mock interviews, and of course celebrating the success of being hired. An area that your career coach may be able to also assist is with the partnership of the business services department of the AJC. The business service section works directly with employers and businesses within the community who are looking to fill vacancies or have hiring events. This department usually sends these requests to the career coaches, where they can look for qualified applicants to send directly to the employer.

I was not aware of the vast services that these One-Stop Centers provided until I began working at one, and now that I have learned the many programs and services that are available to MilSpouses, I would be foolish not to share them with you. Here is the link to find your local office, as well as the site for the career one stop.

https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/local-help.aspx

https://www.careeronestop.org/

 

Until next time,

Empowered Women, Empower Women

 

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad, and the Reality Part 2

Part 2 :  Develop a Working Resume

Welcome back! At this point, I hope you have had the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate with family and friends about your previous work experience you have accumulated over the years and are ready to “put pen to paper” as my Mother would say.  Last week I attended a virtual symposium for Military Spouses that focused on career readiness, education and entrepreneurship, it was AMAZING!!! I was able to gather some great resources and tools that I plan to share with y’all. The symposium was put on by Military One Source and SECO; if you have never been to either of those websites, definitely check them out!

Ok, let’s get into writing your resume. I am sure you have been told your resume is your first “look” from an employer. The purpose of your resume is to draw enough interest from a potential employer to secure you an interview. That being said, there are a couple of key categories that you want your resume to have in order to tell a flowing story that will offer a better chance at you securing an interview. Before getting into the categories, I want to just touch on a few topics that are pretty basic, but may not be that common in knowledge. The first is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which are being used more and more in the weeding out of resumes. It is very infrequent that your resume is being viewed first by the hiring manager, and not a computer program that looks for certain key words that match the position description. Additionally, some of these systems do not pick up on certain fonts, therefore it is best to use the sans serif fonts, and Calibri and Ariel. Once your resume has passed the ATS, you have more of a chance of having your resume being reviewed by the hiring manager or team. Finally, while it may be the dirty side of employment hiring, discrimination is real. Avoid any factors that can lead to discrimination; age, zip code, and employment that may date you and be irrelevant.

Now that we have covered those, let’s get into the categories which are; contact information, personal brand, knowledge highlights, applicable skills, work history and education.

Contact Information: This is pretty self-explanatory; you want to have a way for the employer to contact you. Include your name, phone number and email address. Ensure that your voicemail is clear and professional, as well as professional email, usually your first and last name work well. Additionally, include your city and state, but not the physical address of your home for security reasons. You will also want to include your LinkedIn handle if you have an account. LinkedIn is being used more and more by employers, so if you do not have an account, be sure to create one. The SECO website has some great tools on creating one!

 

Personal Brand: A branding statement is the foundation for marketing your unique set of skills. You may be familiar with an objective statement in a resume. The objective statement tells the employer “this is what I want” versus the branding statement which says, “Here is the value I offer.” Think of your branding statement as your 30 second elevator pitch to the employer. You can use your branding statement to summarize your resume in your cover letter, on various social media outlets (think LinkedIn), as well as answering the “Tell me about yourself question” in the interview. Your branding statement should include the following four elements

  1. Your Specialty       –        Who you are
  2. Your Service           –       What you do
  3. Your Audience       –        Who you do it for
  4. Your Best Characteristic –   What you’re known for

An example of a branding statement is: Highly competent Administrative professional with experience supporting senior level executives in the insurance and financial industries. Known for ability to be flexible and to respond to problems and issues quickly and adeptly. Professional manner at all times and relied upon for confidentiality and handling sensitive materials. Strengths include dependability, strong interpersonal skills and attentiveness to details.

I will attach some worksheets to this post to assist with writing your branding statement.

Knowledge Highlights: These are the major career accomplishments that you have gained in previous work areas.  Think of awards and accolades that you have received in the past and list them here in bullet format. You also can think of recommendations or statements from previous performance evaluations to include in this area. If you have any security clearances, organizational affiliations or specific certifications that are related to the position or employer, this is a good place to list them.

 

Applicable Skills: This area is often called ‘Area of Expertise’ or ‘Core Competencies’. These are going to be your hard and soft transferrable skills. You want to ensure that you are looking at the position description and using the same wording from the description to write your skills. A great tool that we used at my job was Tag Crowd (https://tagcrowd.com/). You can highlight, copy and paste the position description into the field on the website and the word cloud will populate the most important and used words in the description. You should aim for 6 to 9 skills, again, listed in bullet format, ensuring that the skills listed are reflective of the position.

 

Work History: Depending on if you are using a combination format or a chronological format, you will list your employment history, starting with the most recent and going back 10 years. You will want to include the employers name and location, your title and dates in which you were employed. You will want to include 3-4 bullets of position duties under the listed information. Try not to simply state what the job duties were, but what YOU brought to the position and something successful you completed while in that role. If you have limited work experience you may want to list major skills that you acquired while working and the successes and growth of those skills prior to listing your work history. I will include a template of both the chronological and combination format of resumes.

Education: Your education can go in two different sections based on, relevance to the position and the length of time since earning your degree/certification. You will want to list the following information for any degrees earned:

   Degree, Major (if relevant)       20XX

University                                       City, State

If you are still enrolled in the program you list it as such:

College/Training program attending, anticipate certificate/license and completion date.

Finally, if you have you do not hold any degrees, list any relevant on-the-job training or relevant experience in this section as well.

 

I know that this can seem like a lot of information, but if you did the brainstorming, all of this will essentially write itself. It may be easier to write your branding statement after you have written your resume, so your skills are fresh in your mind. I will include some documents that should offer assistance in writing and formatting your resume as well as a practice template for your branding statement. Next time we will discuss visiting your local American Career Center and the free services they can provide.

Until next time,

Empowered Women, empower Women

Attachments:

Branding

chronological template

Combo template

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

 

Military Medical Retirement: 3 Tips for how to help your spouse

 

If you have a spouse in the armed forces, you know that this job can take a toll on their body.  You hear it when they make that groaning sound every morning when they roll over and out of bed, and see it when they wash down handfuls of ibuprofen with an energy drink.

Every workday they will spend at least an hour doing PRT, or Physical Readiness Training. Top minds at the Department of the Army spent years designing this optimal physical strengthening regime that consists mostly of jumping up and down in a parking lot for an hour. Not exactly the kind of exercise that is gentle on the joints of the body.

Add ruck marches, field exercises, deployments, air jumps, and running- miles and miles of running- and suddenly your spouse calls to tell you that this time, it’s not just going to be three days of quarters, or a temporary profile.  This time, the doctors are recommending a Medical Evaluation Board, or MEB.  Now what? Well, don’t despair; with a little bit of organization and motivation, you can go with your spouse into the Medical Retirement process with confidence.

 

Tip # 1: Help a hubby out!

 

Once your spouse has been selected for the MEB, things will start to move very quickly. He will enter the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, or IDES.   He can expect his first phone call within the first week after being given a P3 profile. He will be assigned a PEBLO (Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer) who will be his main point of contact throughout the entire process.  The VA will also assign him a MSC (Military Service Coordinator). These two people will be your lifeline if you have any questions along the way.  If possible, you should attend these meetings with your spouse so you can be well informed as to what to expect over the coming months.

First, help by making the initial few meetings amicable.  PEBLOs and MSCs will see many, many clients during the day, and can get in a rut. You don’t want them to see you, and your spouse as just another face in the revolving door of clients they are supposed to support.  If you take the time to ask them a few questions about themselves at the top of the meeting, and show you are interested in them as a person, you can begin to build a rapport, and set yourself apart as someone that they are invested in helping.

Second, take notes.  A lot of information will get thrown at your spouse in a short amount of time.  If you are writing down what is being said, your spouse is free to engage with the person who can really help get this process off to a good start.

Third, ask questions; this one can be tricky because service members (and your PEBLO and MSC will undoubtedly be retired NCO’s) have a culture that frowns on civilians butting in, but it can also be beneficial if you seem knowledgeable and engaged in the process.  The best thing is to go over everything ahead of time with your spouse, so you go in knowing what they know, and you don’t end up repeating questions that have already been answered.

You are his battle buddy in this fight.  Help him keep track of appointments, sort medical paperwork, and most importantly, be there to listen. This will help him feel confident and prepared, knowing that he has thought of everything, and has a solid game plan.

 

Tip # 2: Encourage him to stop being “ARMY STRONG”

 

If he is hurting, he needs to say that he is hurting. This is the opposite of what he has done his entire career, and it will take him some time to come around to.  Remember that his identity has been built around a mentality of “drink water, drive on” and changing that will be hard.  But he needs to be honest about his pain. He needs to make appointments if something hurts or even just feels wrong. The way the military sees it, if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.

He has probably gotten used to a level of daily pain civilians would not dream of tolerating.  The big shift in thinking he needs to make is, soon he will be a civilian too. If there is something wrong with him that makes it so that he cannot function at the level that is comfortable for him, that is a disability.  It is disabling him from living a normal life, no matter how big or small.

 

Tip # 3: Learn to say “No”

 

The military is a mission-based organization.  That means that there is always something that your service member could be doing to further the mission.  It might be moving vehicles at the motorpool, qualifying at the range, guard duty, staff duty. Whatever it is, it is less important than your spouse’s new mission; to get out of the military with fair and adequate compensation for his injuries. His unit will try to use him as long as they can; however they can. They will tell him he is indispensable at his job.  They might even believe it.  The truth is, commanders, first sergeants and first line leaders say this about everyone, but as soon as they’re gone, they will just fill the spot with the next guy.

No one is going to check his last NCOER when he goes to look for employment in the civilian world. Your spouse is separating from the military. He needs to make it a priority to make his medical appointments, the appointments with his PEBLO, and his VA coordinator appointments. Focusing on ones self is hard for service members that are used to sacrifice, but there are no second chances when it comes to Medically Retiring from the military.

The military was in every part of his life, every day, for the last many years.  Now focus must shift, to ensure that you are prepared to go into the future with a solid plan, and some security for your family.  As a military spouse it is important to not minimize your role in this process, because there is so much that you can do to help. You just have to be willing to do what needs to be done.  And as mil-spouses, that is what we do best.

 

****Welcome to our newest blog teammate Kari Elkins!!!!!

Author: Kari Elkins

www.itdoesntfallfar.com

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