Studies show almost nine out of 10 military spouses want or need to work outside the home. If you’re one of them, here’s good news — more than 82,000 military spouses have been hired by employer partners in the Military Spouse Employment Program since it launched in 2011.
How did those thousands of spouses get hired? It’s probably because they stood out from the rest of the job seekers. Do you?
- Network. You know more people than you think – friends, colleagues, family members, alumni from your school, parents of your kids’ friends, your cousin’s brother-in-law. Leave no stone unturned: Tell everyone you know you are looking and use every social media tool you can. That means setting up a profile on LinkedIn or tapping into the MSEP Spouse Group on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to check out job fairs. The Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes campaign holds a number of hiring events where you can meet employers in your city.
- Upgrade. Make sure you’re “the best you can be.” Have you practiced interviewing techniques? Do you look and feel confident when you meet a prospective employer? Is your resume up to date? MSEP has both resume and cover letter templates that can help you stand out. They also offer great advice for all military spouses: Check out the “Ask and Expert” career portal, where you can email your questions for help, or call 1-800-342-9647 anytime, day or night.
- Go local. Hero 2 Hired has employment coordinators who can help you find the right job. Find your state coordinator (with contact information) by clicking here. “H2H coordinators can be a big help because they are experts in their states,” said Teri Sackman, H2H employment coordinator for Idaho. “They have developed employer contacts and understand what the employers in that state look for in background, experience and resumes.” H2H coordinators help spouses as well as Service members, she said. H2H also sponsors or co-sponsors career fairs in many states that are open to military spouses.
- Intern, volunteer or go back to school. It’s an investment of your time, but going back to school could pay off by boosting your earning power and opening new career possibilities. The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program can help. Likewise, don’t rule out internships or volunteer jobs that could lead to a job, increase your contacts, or add to your experience.
- Be your own boss. If you’ve dreamed of being an entrepreneur, take steps to make it a reality. The SECO program has a monthly webinar for most of 2016 geared to starting your own business as a military spouse. And remember: Your business can be you. Consider creating a “portable career” that can be done anywhere, even with frequent moves. Think grant writing, public relations, social media, accounting, sales or fundraising. You can search for portable career opportunities at the MSEP.
- Think outside the box. If you have to move because of your military spouse, then can your job possibly be transferred or can you do it from home? Don’t be afraid to ask. When one woman’s husband’s duty station changed, she worked with leadership to get her job converted to allow her to work from home. It helped her and her company.
Remember, you have a lot to offer any employer. Military spouses are well-known for being motivated, team-oriented, adaptable, organized and resilient. Any employer would be lucky to hire you.
“I have found that employers who want to hire military people are just as interested in hiring military spouses, because they understand that supporting military spouses supports our military,” Sackman said.