Resilience tips for job-seeking 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 two.” Instead, reframe this to think, “Companies will recognize that 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. In addition, 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.

The 2016 Blue Star Families survey cited military spouse employment as one of the top concerns of military families. Use these resilience tips to help manage your concerns during your job search, so you can land the job that’s right for you. Good luck!

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Blue Star Families. (2017). 2017 Military Family Lifestyle Survey: Executive Summary. Blue Star Families, online, Retrieved from:

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