The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Category: employment

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

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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

“We’ve got orders.” Those three words have two reactions; instant excitement for a new journey, or a wave of anxiety that starts a mental “to-do list.” Either way, this phrase is bound to arise once, twice, eight times in your life as a MilSpouse; and after the first few pack outs, unpacking and rearranging, it becomes easier to accept a new zip code as home. If only the employment path for a MilSpouse could be as organized and orchestrated as a move with a  good moving company. As a former Career Counselor in Hampton Roads Virginia working with Veterans, exiting Military members and Military Spouses; and being a MilSpouse myself, I know firsthand the interruption a PCS can bring to a career. Whether you are just beginning your career after graduating college, or you are returning to the workforce after raising your children, navigating the ever changing and not always accepting world of workforce can be daunting. It is my hope that in the next five posts I am able to offer some tips of the trade and suggestions to make the process of looking for and returning to work less stressful and overwhelming.

Along with my co-workers, we developed these top six recommendations for MilSpouses who are seeking employment. I will address each of these steps in the next five posts. These tips work for all stages of your career path.

  1. Brainstorm Your Work History and Skills
  2. Develop a Working Resume
  3. Visit Your Local Workforce Development Agency/Employment Commission
  4. Create a LinkedIn Profile
  5. Join a Military Spouse Employment Group
  6. Be Flexible

Brainstorming Your Work History and Skills

 

Some of you may say, well wait a second, I haven’t worked in ___ months/years/ever. Or, I have been out of the workforce for over ___ months/years, or even; my degree/certification doesn’t match what I really want to do now, I think I covered them all, if not, not to worry, you can still create a killer resume.  Grab a sheet of paper, a cup of coffee and about 30 minutes of free time and a quiet place to think. Ask yourself these questions, what do you do at home to keep things running smoothly on a day to day basis? What about while your spouse is deployed, TDY, underway, or on duty? Do you volunteer for the command, at an outside public or private entity? If you don’t have a long work history, but plenty of volunteer experience, you have work experience! Paying bills, making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be and on time, working a soup kitchen or bake sale? Translate those skills to: bookkeeping and financial management, time management and organizational skills; good communication and written skills, fundraising. See where we are going here? Just because you may not have had a solid 8-5, you still have skills that are utilized in the workforce; you just have to know how to word them. If you have been volunteering on a consistent basis, while financially uncompensated, that still falls under employment, and can be used to show work history, and skills.  If you have work experience, list the employer and duties in chronological order going back 10 years. This process can take a couple of days or even weeks, don’t feel overwhelmed. Your resume is your “face” to the employer until you land the interview; you want to show your best. In the next post we will look at determining which style resume is best suited for you and how to create it.

Until next time;

Empowered Women, empower Women

 

**** Welcome**** to our newest blog teammate Keadra Young-Bogardus!

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.

Settling Into a New Duty Station

Lately, I have been hearing about many spouses having a difficult time finding work and adjusting to an unfamiliar duty station. I am here to share a couple tips that I found to be most useful to me (in no particular order):

  • If possible, use resources that are available to you to get a head start to know the area that  is surrounding you.
    • At our current base, we have access to the Fleet and Family Center. This facility has an abundance of resources (and people!) to help you with your needs or wants. Sometimes, they offer FREE classes on certain topics like New Parent Support, Budgeting for Baby, Resume Writing, and New Spouse Orientation, just to name a few.
    • Use Social Media if you can! Prior to us moving, I sought out the local spouses’ Facebook group page. I found information on what to do in the surrounding areas and made new friends.
    • Ask your spouse to get you in contact with the Ombudsman (if applicable) at your spouse’s new command. He or she may also have some pertinent information for you and your family to assist in the adjustment.

  • When you get to your new duty station, if you are able, go exploring with you and your family member(s)! Make some new memories by finding some local shopping or cuisine. Talk to locals about some common questions you may have!

  • Besides wandering around looking for “Now Hiring” signs, you can look on websites for the local newspapers and set up the automatic search function on job websites. Most of the time, it is FREE!
  • Get in touch with the region liaison for USAJOB’s “Program S”. To briefly summarize: this program will allow spouses (on military orders) to be matched up with job openings based on their interests and qualifications. A resource that can help point you in the right direction would be somewhere like the Fleet and Family Center, as mentioned above.
  • Open yourself to additional interests that can lead to a broad range of job opportunities. I currently have my Associate’s degree in Web Publishing, but have not found employment that aligns with my wants and/or qualifications. Instead, I have looked to expanding into my other interests such as Real Estate, physical fitness, and photography. I can take my knowledge of Web Publishing and incorporate it into Real Estate, specialty fitness classes, and use photography as a marketing tool.

  • Volunteer! It is a way to get to know the area or lead to a path of employment! (Not to mention to pass the time while your spouse is deployed!) I volunteered with my daughter’s new school to get to know the school staff and found out that they were hiring for a position! You do not know until you try and it allows you to expand on other interests and hobbies.

There you have it! Those are a couple of tips to help you with settling into a new duty station or finding employment!

 

***Welcome**** To our newest Blog Teammate Tiffany Kyall!!!

Tiffany Kyall is a fellow Navy spouse trying to find the balance between military family life and building her own career. Interests include but not limited to: technology, photography, real estate, and fitness.

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