People watch the Olympics to vicariously experience the rush of winning as their favorite athletes step up to the podium. Even more captivating are the many inspirational stories surrounding the athletes who overcame insurmountable odds to achieve their goals. Military spouses who pursue their career aspirations ride a bumpy road similar to athletes. There may be obstacles, naysayers, and setbacks on the career journey. Yet, with skillful navigation, spouses can overcome, reach career goals, and inspire the many others that need to know, “it can be done.”
If you are ready to confront the challenges posed by the current competitive job market, then consider these six military-spirited strategies that will help you compete.
1. Get squared away
Competitive candidates know their value and can communicate it well. If you don’t know what you have to offer an employer, spend some time figuring out the skills that set you apart from other candidates. Are you bringing extra experience? How are they going to benefit? Get “squared away” so you are prepared to talk about yourself confidently and comfortably enough to make every networking interaction an effective one.
2. Don’t rely on a spork
Sporks are great for versatility but if you have a soup or a steak dinner, the spork just doesn’t cut it. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that a single approach to a job search is the best way. Networking and job searching require tailored interactions in order to be effective. A generic resume will have the same effect as your spork, so keep that in mind when you are deciding whether to spend the time tailoring it for your next job opportunity.
3. Gear Up
We know the importance of a great resume, but do you know that you need much more than a resume to be successful?
Employers are looking at candidates on LinkedIn®, scouring social media sites, and considering other information including simple correspondence. Work on your interviewing skills, and consider preparing a portfolio of your work. Stand out by doing more than what is expected.
Remember the rising athlete? Did they make it to the top all on their own? No, they had support teams just as we need. This is a tough road; we are likely to encounter many more challenges than successes. Make sure you have your support system in place because the road is difficult to endure for even the strongest.
5. Forget autopilot
Similar to the spork, don’t cruise through your job search or manage your career on autopilot. The traditional methods simply don’t work for milspouses, or even the common professional anymore! We must break new ground to capture the attention of employers.
6. Check your six
We are competing with people who do not have the same types of challenges as milspouses and must be aware of our competition and the changing employment environment. Always be aware of hard questions that employers will throw your way. Develop a thick skin, look to your support system, and keep moving forward.
Navigating the job market is tricky, even for the experienced professional with a consistent and progressive work history. Military spouses deal with challenges that make the search and job progression even trickier. But don’t let that stop you.
Your career podium is waiting for you.
Check out our Military Spouse Friendly Employers of 2015 to get started!