By Britni Miltner, Navy Spouse
Is it possible to turn job hunting as a military spouse into a positive thing?
Yes! I say embrace the military spouse status! In fact, I have it displayed proudly on my LinkedIn.
Military Spouse Employment and Networking
Use our network to our advantage. We want to help each other!
In my opinion, our network is our greatest mil-spouse advantage. We are a mighty network and tend to look out for each other.
This is really where LinkedIn comes in handy. Create a profile and connect with as many contacts as possible. If you want a job at a specific place, use the search function on LinkedIn to find out if any of your contacts have a connection with the desired company. Also, you can see if they have been employed by that company at any time and request an introduction. Remember, sometimes it’s who you know, not what you know that will help you.
Think Outside the Box
Get creative with your resume; some companies receive thousands of responses to a job listing – especially if it is a remote position. Out of the box applications and resumes will help you stand out. An “out of the box” idea is to connect with fellow mil-spouses who have film and video editing gigs listed on the OakTree Network – they could help you film and edit an amazing video resume!
Use Your Resources to secure Military Spouse Employment
Network with other military spouse professionals and expand your network by utilizing networking groups.
Utilize the virtual and in-person professional networking groups such as Hiring our Heroes. These groups provide resume and interview prep and support as well as other helpful resources.
The Mil-Spouse Advantage
There are resources available just to military spouses!
MadSkills is mil-spouse owned and pairs military spouses with remote positions. All you must do is setup a profile and apply for the positions you’re interested in.
Military One Source is a great spot to look for jobs available through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership
The Paradigm Switch is new and was built exclusively for military spouses. It “puts military spouses first by building a community dedicated solely to helping them achieve their career and personal goals. Through access to a full spectrum of resources, scholarships, and connections with other like-minded spouses, TPS empowers spouses to unleash their unlimited potential and take control of their careers and their lives.”
Military Spouse Corporate Career Network helps military spouses develop a plan of action, and can assist with resume building, creating a LinkedIn account, and other resources like gap skill training.
Use your volunteer roles as experience.
I know, you’ve heard this one before. But you CAN, and you SHOULD use your volunteer experience as work experience. Military spouses are known to be excellent volunteers. And even though it is unpaid, it’s still experience.
If you’re not volunteering now, get started! Volunteering is an easy way to gain experience in a field you’re interested in and gets your foot in the door (and contacts!).
Owned & Operated
Look for military spouse or veteran-owned companies. They are familiar with the military life and recognize that resume gaps aren’t cause for concern.
Also, being a military spouse might help you score a work-from-home position. Some companies love the idea of hiring military spouses and understand that remote work is a great option to support military families. Use this information in your pitch to work remotely or turn your position into a remote one when it’s time to PCS. It also wouldn’t hurt to include numbers and research to back up your argument – like how working remotely can save the company money, and how you don’t need to utilize company health insurance.
I Speak from Personal Experience
It worked for me in 2008. I was initially employed in a corporate office. When I left due to relocation, I proposed the idea of working remotely. At the time the request wasn’t granted. But, about a year and a half later, I was called back! They knew that I would be a loyal employee, and because I knew the systems, there was no training needed like there would have been with a brand-new employee. Ten years later, I’m still working remotely for the same company!
We Can Do It!
Being a military spouse is tough, but we are resilient, flexible and very talented. Networking, utilizing available resources, volunteering, and a little bit of creativity, can help alleviate some of the difficulty that comes with job hunting, and turn your military spouse status into a positive!
So, setup that LinkedIn account, connect with fellow mil-spouses, list all of your work and volunteer experience, utilize resources and training available to military spouses and display “proud military spouse” on your profile! Remember: We Can Do It!
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Britni Miltner is a Navy spouse, self-proclaimed “Expert Googler” and seasoned networker with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Family Business from Auburn University. With Gables Corporate Accommodations since 2006, she is also a volunteer Mentor for Military Spouse Advocacy Network’s New Military Spouse Support Program. Britni started MilSpouse Resource in November 2015 to share remote work, entrepreneurial ideas, and inspirational stories.