Job Hunting for the Military Spouse
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Hand a potential employer my resume and she might think I'm a habitual job hopper on the run crisscrossing the country. Either that or she'll figure I'm a military spouse trying to make the best of limited options and opportunities.
While it is helpful for employers to realize that my crazy resume is the product of a military lifestyle, it also leads to those inevitable hints questioning how long I'll be in the area and how I plan on balancing work, deployment and subsequent single motherhood.
Moving every two years and having a baby every three years has made finding meaningful work with family friendly hours almost impossible. Educated as a journalist, I've rarely worked in a newsroom but have been a advertising sales assistant, graphic designer, editor, lifeguard, waitress, tour guide, cashier, stay-at-home mom, freelance reporter, room mother, preschool teacher, administrative assistant, ombudsman, columnist and now I work with military families.
Most of those opportunities just fell in my lap and I never really had any professional guidance on being a successful military working spouse. But times have changed and there are several options that married-to-the-military job seekers can now take advantage of, including:
- The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) which connects military spouses looking for work with business partners committed to providing jobs. According to Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy) there are over 60,000 jobs available on the MSEP website and over 10,400 spouses have used the program to find employment. Visit www.msepjobs.com to register.
- The Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) is a nonprofit founded by a Navy spouses which focuses on employment readiness, applicant referral, job training, and job placement assistance for military spouses, transitioning military, veterans, war wounded, and caregivers of war wounded. Check out www.msccn.org for details.
- The National Military Spouse Network, a military spouse founded networking, mentoring and professional development organization. Visit www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org to learn more about their goal to deliver personal and professional development opportunities for military spouses.
- On-base resources like the Navy's Spouse Employment Assistance Program at the Fleet and Family Support Center (all branches of services have similar programs at their centers as well) offering skills assessment and counseling, resume prep, career seminars, job listings, and employment support.
- Military Spouse Preference (MSP) which could be helpful if the job search is related to a military move and provides priority to relocating military spouses in the employment selection process for federal jobs.
If you're looking for a job, I wish you the best of luck finding an outlet for your skills and experience that works with your military lifestyle. Please share your job seeking tips and stories with other military spouses at www.mytidewatermoms.com.
Michelle Galvez is a Navy wife, mother of three, graduate student and government contractor who is also a journalist in her spare time. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Tidewater Parent Magazine