“Unemployment” and “military spouses” — terms that are so often used together until some might consider them interchangeable.
As military spouses, we are familiar with periods of unemployment. When we are employed, we’ve usually settled for jobs that we are not happy with and with pay that barely makes it worth it. There are, of course, a few spouses who beat the odds and find a job they love, with pay that makes a difference. However, the vast majority of us are not the latter. This is usually because our work history is so varied that it’s become hard for us to create consistency on our resume in work history or to hide the employment gaps.
From someone who has had five jobs in eight years, I’ll admit it’s a challenge, but military spouses can create resumes that show consistency and can cover most employment gaps.
I want to share three tips that can help you to get the job that you want. It’s about writing a resume that includes career development. You can have multiple jobs and large employment gaps, but if you keep your career in mind, almost any job can help you develop skills to achieve your career goal — even as a military spouse.
The first thing you need to do is focus. Determine what type of job you want, and then stick with it! Your next job may not be that dream job, but keep the focus. No matter what job you have, you can find a way to make it relevant.
That leads me to my next tip: identify your transferable skills, or portable skills, and highlight them. My first job was in retail, but I quickly learned how to cater that job and the jobs that followed towards my dream job.
I researched the industry and the type of work that I wanted to do, and I found ways to complete similar tasks in whatever job I had. I found ways to develop the qualities of each job into my dream career.
Third, volunteer. When I was unable to find work within a decent time frame, I joined a club or organization and volunteered. This was beneficial to the organization, but it was also relevant to my career goals.
Before I knew it, from completing these three things I had a resume with minimized employment gaps and that showcased my career development through relevant experience at every job.
Military spouses are constantly on the move, literally. Because of our constant moving, some say we should focus on portable jobs that can keep us employed no matter where we go. That doesn’t mean we should lose focus and give up on the career we have always dreamed of, because with focus, portable skills, and volunteering, you can get to your ultimate career goal.
— LaPora Lindsey, of Silverdale, is the owner of High Caliber Resumes. A Navy spouse of eight years, she and her husband have two children. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.