By Caitlin Hearle, ACP
Are you a military spouse looking to bolster your career? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly 40% of military spouses identify as being underemployed and are looking to increase their value in the workplace. Unfortunately, finding opportunities for professional development while supporting your spouse’s military career can be difficult to tackle without some guidance. A mentor can help!
Here are five ways that having a mentor can help further your professional growth as a military spouse:
A Mentor can help you network.
With frequent and sometimes unanticipated moves, it can be difficult to maintain a full-time job that provides both a sense of purpose and room for professional growth. Mentorship can help you work on ways to turn relocation into a networking opportunity! New FRGs, fellow military spouses, and your mentor’s regional network are excellent resources for building a career in a new location. A mentor can help you find ways to keep in touch with networks you left behind at your last duty station while forming new connections in your current location.
A Mentor can help you showcase your volunteer experience.
Do you have gaps in your resume? Are you unsure of how to explain them to potential employers? A mentor can help you fill these spaces with your valuable volunteer work in order to highlight the tangible and soft skills built from volunteer work. With the right perspective, your resume can showcase valuable teamwork, time management skills, and more. Take that experience into your interviews with confidence! A gap on your resume doesn’t have to be a setback – your mentor has years of experience in the corporate world an knows what employers are looking for. Your work – both paid and volunteer – is valuable!
A Mentor can help you hone your skills.
If you haven’t been able to maintain a consistent professional pathway during your spouse’s military career, a mentor can provide support. Working with a seasoned professional can help you brush up on valuable skills for obtaining meaningful employment, including resume editing, interview preparation, networking, and more. These skills only improve with practice, and engaging in mock interviews with your mentor can be very useful preparation for the real thing.
A Mentor can cheer you on!
Military spouse or not, everybody needs a career cheerleader. When you don’t nail that interview, find a spelling error in your cover letter after it’s been sent, or simply feel disillusioned by the job search, your professional support system is there to pick you back up and encourage you to keep moving forward. A mentor can help you invest in YOU. After years of supporting your spouse’s military career, a mentor can encourage you to focus on your own professional goals. During the course of a mentorship, you’ll have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Mentor to discuss your professional goals and the steps necessary to reach those goals.
A Mentor has been there, done that.
Nobody enters the corporate world knowing the latest lingo and processes. Every CEO was the new hire at one point or another. A Mentor has been through the interview process, has been rejected from jobs, and has found success. Support from someone who has been there and knows the challenges of the corporate world can make all the difference in your career path. He or she can speak to the difficulties, the roadblocks, and the victories that come with pursuing your passion, all while providing advice on how to overcome stigmas against military spouses in order to obtain meaningful employment.
Active duty spouses: visit https://www.acp-usa.org/mentoring-program/spouse-application for a customized, yearlong mentorship today!