There I was degree in hand, multiple internships under my belt, and a freshly-graduated enthusiasm to begin my journey into the real world of careers. “Twenty years from now”, I said, “I wanted to be VP of Marketing and Communications for a Fortune 500 company.”
…and then I married a Sailor.
After hearing that we’d be moving every 2-4 years, possibly to other countries or rural towns, I thought my career was done for. I thought I would have to piecemeal various odd jobs I could find when we’d arrive at a new duty station (if I was lucky enough to find a job).
I had heard how hard it was to find a job as a military spouse. I had heard how hard it was to keep a career as a military spouse. I heard that many military spouses wait until their spouse retires or leave the military in order to start their own career path.
Then I met her: Mrs SuperMilSpouse (name has been changed in order to protect identity… and plus it sounds really cool). Through a chance meeting on base, Mrs SuperMilSpouse opened up my eyes to a new world for military spouses.
Mrs SuperMilSpouse had her Master’s degree, a full-time career in public affairs, a child, 3 dogs, and has been through 5 PCS moves and 6 Deployments. She was also married to an O-5. (The girl didn’t need to work. She liked working)
I asked her for pointers. I asked her for her magical tips. I asked for her secret.
She said, “Being a military spouse has only helped my career. Once you embrace being a military spouse, your goals become a lot clearer”.
I thought being a military spouse would hinder your career. Mrs SuperMilSpouse explained that me the reasons that it didn’t.
Being a military spouse helps in you career because:
- It gives you a large and national network. Not many people get to move to so many different parts of the country in a short amount of time. Use that to your advantage and grow your network.
- Potential raises and promotions. In this economic climate, a non-military employee would have to wait years before the next promotion or salary raise. With frequent moves, comes an opportunity to promote yourself and apply for the next level or salary in your career.
- It gives you a chance to broaden your skill set. Say your career is in marketing but no marketing jobs are available at your duty station. You can get a temporary job in writing or business and add another valuable skill to your resume.
- There are programs to help you get jobs. Each branch has a family support center dedicated for employment services such as: job search assistance, resume writing, and interview tips. These are of little to no cost for military spouses.There is also military spouse preference for federal jobs.
From that point on, I’ve worked hard to keep my marketing and pr career on track through PCS moves and deployments. Here are 5 Ways I’ve found new roads with my career while being a military spouse.
- Seek Out Military-Friendly Companies*
- Military Friendly companies such as Chevrolet understand and support all members of military families. They may or may not be able to help with employment but they can surely offer support in many other facets of military life as well *See Below
- Be Flexible
- I took a job doing contracts for a company to get my foot in the door. It worked like a charm. A year after I took that job, a position in marketing opened up. Your career progression may not be so clear cut in the traditional sense. Be flexible and take jobs that may lead to a lateral move.
- Keep Learning
- Get advanced training even if it’s not in the field you want to be in. Get a graduate level degree. Take on internships or volunteer to be armed with as many skills as possible.
- Never Stop Looking
- We’ve been at each duty station for only 3-4 years. At every duty station we’ve been at, I’ve had a minimum of two jobs. This means I would apply at a job to keep income coming in, but I always had one eye open for a better opportunity.
- Stay Humble
- As part of my adult career, I’ve had to watch babies, cut and serve cake, take out the company trash, and pour coffee. None of which obviously relates to my profession but they are tasks I had to take on for my employer. Keep your ego in check and know that you may have to make some sacrifices for your career.
During Military Appreciation Month (May), Chevrolet offers the best military discount program of any car company. We know this personally because we own two Chevy vehicles (and got the military discount on both of them!).
In addition, Chevrolet supports our military families all year long by giving back to the service members (past and present) who protect our country. Chevrolet supports the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, works with Cell Phone for Soldiers, and is proud to be the Official Vehicle of the Army-Navy Game presented by USAA. (Go Navy!)
Chevy and General Motors (GM) also employs 5,000 veterans and has close to 45,000 current retirees employed. Hiring veterans and helping out our service members find new roads after they completed service is high on the priority list for this great company.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.
BY THE WAY
…THERE’S AN AWESOME CONTEST
#findnewroads with #chevysalutes instagram contest sponsored by msb new media!
Starting today through May 17th, post pictures and video to Instagram using hashtags #ChevySalutes AND #FindNewRoads for a chance to win one of three awesome cash prizes! Show how you and your military family are finding new roads each and every day! Check out the official rules here.