Being a military spouse, you probably have a hard time building your own career. Moving around so much can really hurt your career, especially when you have to take care of children while your other half works. But, you can turn your career around and find new opportunities for yourself if you learn the fine art of networking. Here are some genius tips and practical applications for how to network as a military spouse. 1.Integrate networking into your daily routine You should create some social media profiles and start connecting with people from your industry or similar industries. You can find them easily by joining LinkedIn or Facebook. Integrate hanging out on these social media platforms each day as a way to get some new contacts and find opportunities. Create posts, look for jobs or just chat with people with a similar skillset. How To Do It: Did you know you can search for people based on your interest and location? For example, if you want to see “writers” in Durham, North Carolina, you can just type in “writer” in the search bar and then select people and add “Durham” in the location selector on the left side of the page. 2. Network with a goal “Once you start networking, you should develop a goal. You should strategically reach people who can change your life and your career. With this approach, you don’t have to be direct but rather have a warm pitching strategy which enables you to make friends, get references from other people and so on,” says Diana Olly, an HR at UKTopWriters and OXEssays. Before you start networking, think about what you want to get from it. Develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals and make sure that each networking step you take is steered that way. How To Do It: If you want to be a published writer, your main network would be publishers, other writers, agents, and so on. Every conversation with them should benefit your ultimate goal. 3. Research before reaching out Before you decide to reach out to a professional, you should do the research. Doing the research will help you understand the person and their work better instead of just contacting them without knowing what they do or how they can help you. Have several options of people you can reach for different goals that you want to achieve. How To Do It: There are many opportunities to do research. Once you get in contact with someone or start planning to get in contact with them, you should research them on LinkedIn. See what their education and experience are so you can use it effectively in your conversations (just remember, when you look at someone’s profile, they can see that you looked at it!) If they are not on LinkedIn, do a quick Google search. 4. Be pleasant and direct People like kind people and they also like directness. Have confidence in your own story and mission. Once you have decided who can help you, go meet them and offer them what you have. Whether it’s something you know how to do or make, they will appreciate the direct approach. How To Do It: For example, introduce yourself to someone and say that you are a writer or a marketer right away. Then try to use your elevator pitch to sell them your services in a subtle, yet direct way. 5. Craft an elevator pitch An elevator pitch is your one-sentence selling point. You can approach people with this sentence. What can you do for them? What skills do you posses. Make sure that you are sure that this is what you want them to hear. You can also research your audience to discover what they need, what they want from a team member. How To Do It: For example, “I’m a graphic designer working on logos and illustration for websites. I believe that any expression has a visual counterpart. This is why my illustrations tend to go viral,” if you are a graphic designer. You can be creative here and try to keep it under 30 seconds!
Category - Employment
We are so excited to introduce you to our January Milspouse Influencer of the Month. Lauren Taylor, founder of the mission-driven PCS Pay-it-Foward®, is doing awesome things for military communities around the country. Read on to see how a normal military spouse with the same challenges you face sees a problem and creates the solution. You might just get inspired to start something like this yourself! If you are or you know a Military Spouse Influencer who you think we should meet, email us at email@example.com. ~ 1. What does daily life look like in your shoes? My daily life is rather normal. I work from my small home office to build and implement new benefits for PCS Pay-it-Forward®. This allows me to be flexible to my families needs through out the day. I have 3 boys under the age of 7. My oldest two boys are in kindergarten and 2nd grade, my youngest attends preschool 3 days a week and is home with me on the others. My goal has always been to provide stability for my boys to offset my husband’s crazy schedule, but also to apply myself to something I’m passionate about. That why I got into real estate. We had a horrible experience buying our first home and I was hoping to make the process easier for other military families in San Diego. Little did I know what it would turn into… 2. Tell us about your organization and how it advocates for military spouses? I started PCS Pay-it-Forward® in San Diego over 2 years ago. There are many resources for families who are wanting to purchase homes and agents jump at the chance to offer their services. But unfortunately, there is no significant compensation for agents to help families find rentals, this left a great amount of our military families under-served and with little-to-no support. Then I met two families who motivated me to create a solution for this problem. One family had flown into San Diego for 2 days for rental house hunting and had 9 out of 10 agents cancel their showings, leaving the family lost and without a plan. A second family spent the first 6 weeks of their newborn’s life (also with two toddlers) in Navy Lodge because it was so difficult to identify their new home. These two instances back to back inspired me to try to create a better all-encompassing resource for incoming families. PCS Pay-it-Forward® are crowd-sourced military support communities for incoming families with 2 primary missions. Reduce the number of families falling victim to fraudulent rental scamsReduce the need for interim housing for incoming families We encourage all community members to participate in the support of incoming families by answering questions and posting pictures of rental signs in their neighborhoods. Our members are largely comprised of military spouses as we’ve found they handle the majority of identifying neighborhoods and homes for their families. After the success of the San Diego PCS Pay-it-Forward® community, we began a nationwide expansion to support other military bases across the country. We partner with Veteran or MilSpouse Real Estate Agents in the area to facilitate the communities and grow the mission. In 2018, we expanded to over 60 duty stations and our membership just passed over 14,000 military families. It’s been an amazing adventure to watch military spouses step up to support one another all across the country in this Pay-it-Forward® movement. They don’t participate because they have to, they participate because they want to help, which I think is a beautiful representation of the culture surrounding our military spouse community. Everyday we see friends reuniting in our communities as they find that someone they served with at MacDill will be waiting to greet them at Norfolk or one of the many other communities across the country. 3. What is your ultimate goal? The goal with PCS Pay-it-Forward® is to create the greatest network of military spouses and veterans today, connected by a common goal, helping one another in their communities. Although our mission is seeded in relocation support, we are proud that our military families continue to step up to Pay-it-Forward® in all aspects of military life. We will continue to strive to make this a positive network grounded in our mission of helping one another. We have currently identified approximately 125 military bases with more than 1,000 active duty servicemembers stationed at each and our goal for 2019 is to partner with local military agents to open support communities for all 125 bases. We are also working to expand our benefits for our members. As a thank for you Paying-it-Forward®, we’ve had a number of national partners step up to offer discounts and exclusive offers to our members and we want to continue to build these relationships to benefit our communities. 4. What advice do you have for military spouses? Get involved! This life can be very isolating, but by joining a PCS Pay-it-Forward® community you can connect with other local families in away that transcends your single duty station. Also, for those spouses out there who see a problem that is negatively impacting our community, consider creating a solution. That’s how I discovered my passion. I saw an issue, and created a solution. Sometimes the simplest solutions make the greatest impact. Enlist the help of your fellow spouses. Together we can accomplish amazing things! 5. Tell us a fun fact about your military life. Omg! Is there any such thing as a fun fact about military life?! Haha! I never thought I would marry someone in the military, but I’m so grateful that I did. We have been given so much from this life and this community. While some couples find deployments to be tough on their relationships, our two deployments brought me and my husband even closer together. It helped me realize all the little things he did to make our family life easier. Although it is so difficult to be far apart, I’m now grateful we had that time to really appreciate what we do for each other. ~ Thanks for sharing a little bit of your story, Lauren! We can’t wait to see what more PCS Pay-It-Forward does to help our military communities. Connect with us on Facebook!
My network helped me land a job that works to find military spouses meaningful employment. By Anna Christen, Hiring Our Heroes, Deputy Director, Military Spouse Program Read more in the January issue of Military Spouse Magazine here! After serving five years on active duty, I transitioned to the Army Reserve and made my first attempt in the civilian workforce as a veteran and military spouse. My goal was to work in athletics or at a nonprofit, but when I moved from San Antonio to a town with less than 30,000 people in south Texas, the difficulty of finding a job in either field became readily apparent. Three months post transition, I found my first job at the local university. Three months after that, we moved across the country to Virginia. And as any military spouse knows, those circumstances are not at all unique. With a limited network in my new location, I quickly worked to build connections, first leveraging both my and my husband’s alumni network. Through those networks, many people were willing to set up informational interviews, even though I had only known some of my connections through emails and LinkedIn. It was amazing how willing people were to help—all I had to do was know what kind of help I needed and ask for it. After four months, I settled with a financial services firm, one with locations near most military installations. While continuing to build my network at our new duty station, I learned about In Gear Career (now Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network). I was intrigued to find out more about its mission to connect career-minded military spouses with each other, building a sense of community and a soft-landing spot following relocation. As luck would have it, the director happened to live in Virginia where she operated the burgeoning non-profit and hosted local meetings. The sense of community found within my newfound military spouse network was remarkable. During our time in Virginia, I attended as many networking events and professional development sessions with them as I could. By the time we left, Hiring Our Heroes, a non-profit operating under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, absorbed In Gear Career into their Military Spouse Program, resulting in a quick expansion from 13 locations to over 50. After about three years in Virginia, we returned to the same small town in Texas where my story began. Knowing how small the community was, I knew that building connections there would be crucial. After relocating with my job from Virginia, I started to meet more spouses who were underemployed. When the Military Spouses in the Workplace Study came out, I realized we were far from alone. According to the study, military spouse unemployment is about 16 percent; underemployment is about 70 percent. Seeing what my network had done for me in Virginia, I worked with two other key spouses to reach out to Hiring Our Heroes and start a Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) to serve our area. Shortly after starting the MSPN in south Texas, I attended volunteer training where I reconnected with my college basketball coach. She too was a military spouse who had reinvented herself many times, most notably from a Division 1 head basketball coach to a senior director at Hiring Our Heroes. In our conversations, I casually mentioned to her that after four years in finance, I was ready to try a new challenge. Within a few weeks, she reached out to her contacts on my behalf, while also finding a remote position for me on her Hiring Our Heroes team. In basketball, players are taught to move into “triple threat” whenever they catch the ball. From that position, they are best suited to help their team—either with a pass, dribble, or shot. When I became a military spouse, I used my courtside skills to adapt a similar process in the career space, altering my professional game to include a solid resume, ample networking, and effective use of LinkedIn. Again I learned how important it is to build relationships—ones where you actively seek to both give and receive. You never know who you might be able to help, and who might help you in the future. Yes, living in four locations in the last five years created challenges, but it also afforded me the opportunity to build my network. By volunteering, being open to new opportunities, and staying connected I found a career that aligned with my passions and will move with me wherever the Navy takes us next. To find out more information on the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program or upcoming Hiring Our Heroes events in your area, please visit hiringourheroes.org or email HOHMilSpouse@USChamber.com. Connect with us on Facebook!
How to Start A Side Hustle in 2019 Military spouses face a unique and difficult challenge when it comes to pursuing their professional aspirations. According to the 2017 Bluestar Family Report, fewer than half—47 percent—of military spouses are employed. Frequent moves, the high cost of childcare, and lack of employment opportunities near military bases can all create barriers to work. A side hustle is the perfect way to either explore professional aspirations or earn supplemental income to support your family. What’s more, many side hustles can be done remotely, which offers freedom to work from any location (or base), and job security upon relocation, making it easier to hold down income, no matter where you go or what you do. With a little initiative and resourcefulness, you don’t even need experience. If you’re not sure where to begin, follow these simple steps to start a side hustle in 2019. Assess Your Background and Expertise First, take a look at your educational and professional background. Have you had any formal training? Have you held any part or full-time jobs? Many past jobs might directly translate to freelance work. For example, accountants can take up part-time bookkeeping. Take stock of any skills or abilities that might translate into a money-making opportunity by making a list of tasks you enjoy or can do well, any assignments or projects you’ve completed at past jobs, programs you know well, or courses you’ve taken. If you’re still not sure how your skills apply to side gigs or freelance work, head to a site like UpWork. Search basic skills like, “typing” and see what comes up—this may give you an idea for what you can do. Once you’ve established your strengths, it’s time to look and apply for side hustle gigs. If you’re just starting your career, you might need to get crafty, literally (more on that later), so don’t worry if you don’t feel you have any obvious applicable skills just yet. Explore Freelance Admin Work Administrative freelance work is a great first side hustle because many projects require little to no prior experience. You simply need to be organized, good at communicating, and willing to take on small tasks and projects that require quick learning. To find an admin gig like this, create profiles on freelance websites like Hubstaff or Upwork, then sift through admin job posts. Time-poor employers are often in need of simple administrative tasks like customer service (answering emails or calls), basic online research, email management, dictation, or other entry-level virtual assistance tasks. Platforms like Upwork are especially useful for new admin freelancers. Applicants search, bid on, accept and get paid through the Upwork system. Your freelance rating increases as you complete more projects, which will then make you a more attractive candidate, essentially building your virtual portfolio on the site. If you’re wary of heading online right away, consider whether you have friends or family that own their own business. They may be willing to pay you an hourly wage to take a few tasks of their plate. Monetize Creative Skills For those that are artistically-inclined, or enjoy making crafts, consider parlaying those talents into a side gig by selling your handmade items. If you don’t know which crafts will sell best, think of on-trend items that you can market as handcrafted and, artisan. Ecommerce experts at Selz suggest 10 simple things you can make and sell online: PillowsCoastersCandlesPicture FramesBath BombsT-ShirtsJewelrySweetsArtPhotos When you know what you want to sell, it’s time to create your website, where you’ll list all your products. This serves as your “digital business card” and ensures that online shoppers can find your products easily. Etsy can be a great, inexpensive place to start your business! Try On-Demand Jobs If you’re not sure about your professional skills and don’t want to make a product, consider on-demand jobs that serve as the perfect side gigs. Car owners over the age of 21 with a clean record can drive for Lyft or Uber. Animal-lovers can earn side income as a pet-walker or sitter with services like Wag or Rover. Those living in large cities that have electric scooter sharing services like Bird or Lime can make money by picking up scooters and charging them at their house. If you’re handy or like running errands, create a profile on TaskRabbit, which connects you with people in your neighborhood that will pay for tasks. With the advent of these peer-to-peer services, businesses need people like you who want to make cash without the structure of a full-time job or regular schedule. In every case, you can work when and where you want. Tap Into Your Military Network All branches of the military offer family resources, whether it be Family Readiness or Work-Life Programs. Once you’ve figured out your side-gig, reach out to them for help with networking, which may help with promoting your services or finding additional opportunities. Bookoo is an online yard sale website, similar to Craigslist but unique in that you can search by a specific base, instead of cities. It’s predominantly used in military communities across the U.S. and abroad. Bookoo sites are a great place to look for part-time side hustles or list your skills and services for hire, directly within your local military community. Finally: Get the Business Details Your side hustle may start bringing in income right away, but so get the business details specific to your line of work sooner than later. Start by consulting with a financial professional about the taxes you’re required to pay as an independent contractor; a CPA can advise you on this and keep you on track all year long. Don’t forget to ensure proper licensing and insurance as well. For instance, if you’re selling baked goods out of your home, does your state require a food permit? Set up your side hustle on the proper foundation for success so you can be successful for many years to come. Earn More in 2019 With Your Side Hustle While our nation’s military is proud to serve, the second highest concern of active-duty service members is their spouse’s access to employment, according to the same BlueStar Family Report. Ease your worries by finding a side hustle, allowing you to earn income with the ultimate flexibility and stability needed to manage the unique challenges of a military family. Connect with us on Facebook!