I met my husband at the tail end of my college experience. I had one semester left before he came into my life so thankfully, I didn’t have to deal with much interference from the military side. I got to live in the dorms, I got to join a sorority, I got to gain the freshman 15. Some spouses don’t have it so lucky. But they still manage to graduate. So here’s to you!
1. Get it, girl. Celebrate! You have managed to complete a degree with your spouse being in the military. That means you held it down while going through all kinds of stress: deployments, training, duty, schools, PCS moves, last minute changes, etc. Get that degree framed and hang it right next to his awards.
2. …now what? Start the job hunt. Most likely you’ll have started out before you graduated but if you haven’t, GET ON THAT. Utilize the career services on base/post. They’ll write/re-write/chop that resume for you! For free! They’ll also provide guidance on where to search for jobs in your area as well.
3. Don’t wait. Is this degree only a stepping stone to your masters/PhD/certification? Get all the training and testing done out of the way while you’re still in somewhat of student mode. If you don’t, it’s like going on a summer break. Do you really look forward to start of a new school year? No? Then keep the momentum going.
Not going for a higher degree at this time? Well, volunteer, freelance, intern, for the career field you want to be in. No joke. The spouse, who got my marketing job when we left Hawaii, was a volunteer for Army Community Services (Fleet and Family Services equivalent for us Navy folk) who somehow networked her way in after just PCS-ing in a few months prior. Sometimes, “you gotta know somebody, to be somebody”.
4. Network. Military spouses groups. You may find a few that can lead you to a job or a volunteer position that builds up your resume. For example in Marketing/PR, volunteer to be the “Public Relations Coordinator”, “Social Media Manager”, Digital Marketing Specialist. Yes, you may not be getting paid for the work but those titles look awfully good on a resume compared to “babysitter”, “maid”, “husband-wrangler”
In keeping with the Marketing/PR field, there’s generally career clubs you can join: AD Club, PRSA, AMA. Look to see if those kinds of clubs exist in other career fields.
5. Don’t give up. It seems as though you send out dozens of resumes a day. You fill out hundreds of applications a week. You check your email and voicemail religiously for an update. And nothing. Man, this *ish* is frustrating, isn’t it? You put all that work into getting your education and nothing’s happening. Vent to your spouse, your family, your friends, that Facebook group. Let it out. But don’t give up. In two weeks, 200 people applied to get my previous marketing job. Do you give up when you decide to go to the commissary on pay day? No. You knew it was going be long, exhausting, and taxing. But the juice will always be worth the squeeze.
Anything, I might have missed?