Looking for a job? Tips for military spouses

As a military spouse, it can be challenging to sustain your career along with your PCS moves. The good news is there are ways to help manage the stress of job searching and cope with setbacks along the way. These tips also can encourage a positive mind-set and help you feel more prepared to meet with potential employers. Consider these strategies to help stay resilient during your job search.

Assess your skill set and what you have to offer

Think about how your specific skill set might make you an asset to a company. Also consider how your personal strengths help make you a more attractive candidate. This can help you feel more prepared and confident through the process.

Reframe negative thoughts and consider other constructive angles

You might believe, “I’ll never get a job.” Instead, reframe your thoughts and think, “This is a process that will take some time.”

Or you might believe, “No one will hire me because they’ll expect me to move in a year or 2.” Instead, reframe this to think, “Companies will recognize I can make a real contribution, even if it’s for a limited time.

Engage your social network

Connect with your friends, family, and community during your job search. Most people find jobs through networking, so tell everyone you’re interested and available.

Ask friends or former colleagues if they’d assist with a mock interview. This can help you practice thinking on your feet and prepare for typical interview questions such as, “Why do you think you’ll be good in this position?” Or they might ask you to talk about a time you failed and how you managed things.

Use imagery and self-calming skills to prep for job interviews

Imagine the steps of your interview process. Rehearse your responses to interview questions. And plan how you’ll manage your anxiety if you start to feel nervous.

Before your interview, practice deep breathing exercises to remain calm. Inhale for 4 seconds and slowly exhale for 6 seconds. Do this at least 5 times.

Communicate assertively during your job search and interviews

Try to feel comfortable sharing what you have to offer to an employer and what you’re looking for as well. Practice stating your thoughts clearly and asking specific questions.

Tap other resources

DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program offers a range of articles about furthering your education, exploring careers, and finding a job. They also provide free career counseling services. And you can access the SECO portal, which offers information about college  searches and scholarships, career resources, resume help, and other licensing and credential requirements for certain careers.

DoD’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership Career Portal helps link military spouses with potential employers. You can learn more about competitive job markets, upcoming job fairs, “hot” jobs, and even telework opportunities.


CHAMP wants to know:

Did this information help change your opinion or perspective?

References

Blue Star Families. (2017). 2017 Military Family Lifestyle Survey: Executive Summary. Blue Star Families, online, Retrieved from: https://bluestarfam.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ExecutiveSummary-Survey16-Finalpages.pdf

Chang, B.-H., Dusek, J. A., & Benson, H. (2011). Psychobiological changes from relaxation response elicitation: Long-term practitioners vs. novices. Psychosomatics, 52(6), 550–559. doi:10.1016/j.psym.2011.05.001

Moorhouse, A., & Caltabiano, M. L. (2007). Resilience and unemployment: Exploring risk and protective influences for the outcome variables of depression and assertive job searching. Journal of Employment Counseling, 44(3), 115–125. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1920.2007.tb00030.x

National Center for PTSD. (2013). Learn to Communicate Assertively at Work. Veterans Employment Toolkit Handout.  Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/vetsinworkplace/docs/em_eap_assertive.html

Robson, J. P., & Troutman-Jordan, M. (2012). A concept analysis of cognitive reframing. Journal of Theory Construction & Testing, 18(2), 55–59.

Ślebarska, K., Moser, K., & Gunnesch-Luca, G. (2009). Unemployment, social support, individual resources, and job search behavior. Journal of Employment Counseling, 46(4), 159–170. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1920.2009.tb00079.x