Military Spouse Employment: Asking Yourself the Tough Questions
When is the last time you thought about what you actually want? Not what’s best for your family or your future, but what it is that makes you happy? As military spouses, it’s often a feast or famine employment situation – either you can find a job or it’s a virtual ghost town and there’s nothing available.
Many military spouses are so set on getting any job that they often overlook what the job actually is, which leaves them dissatisfied and ultimately unhappy in their employment.
If you’re clear on what kind of job you actually want, then you’re less likely to experience this and more likely to find a role that is satisfying and fulfilling. Employers don’t want to hire just anyone; they want a person who can do a specific job in a specific way better than anyone else. You need to be able to show a hiring manager that you know what you can do, and that you’re wiling to get it done.
This isn’t as hard as it seems, but it does involve some soul searching. You have to figure out what you really want to do. Think back to previous jobs and figure out what about them you
liked best and what you liked least. When you figure out what you liked the best, then you’ve discovered what makes you invaluable. Maybe at your last job you really loved working with the public. That’s not something that everyone enjoys, so make sure to play that up on your resume, applications, and during your interviews.
When you’re clear on what you like to do, think about the things you don’t want to do. Being honest about your weaknesses is just as important as knowing your strengths. Making a list of things that are hard limits for you will help you narrow down your choices when applying for jobs. If you absolutely cannot imagine yourself preparing food for the public, then there’s no reason to apply for a job where that’s a requirement.
Once you narrow down what you actually want or are willing to do, then seeking out opportunities becomes easier.
A job search needs to include a lot of self-reflection and honesty and it takes bravery to be that open and vulnerable. Chances are, the ratio of job applications to interviews is not going to be balanced, and the number of offers you receive after interviews is going to be even more disproportionate. It’s going to take a lot of fortitude and inner strength to stand strong in the face of so many rejection letters, especially if your resume is all over the place in terms of industry. But you can’t let that deter your search. You can simplify your resume by looking for a common theme that all of your jobs have had and then highlight that skillset on your application.