Military Spouse Employment: To tell or not to tell?

As a military spouse, you know the drill. Orders come in, a few months later a flock of movers and packers carefully put all of your belongings into crate and onto a truck. You hope and pray you’ll see everything again in a few months all in one piece. Maybe this is the final move for you and your family so now you’re turning your efforts to the next part of life and your career. Unemployment rates for military spouses versus the civilian sector are astonishing with a ratio of 3:1. That means that for every single civilian looking for work, there are three military spouses competing for the same job.

Despite your best efforts, it’s more than likely that your resume shouts “Military Spouse.” After all, you are one, and a cohesive employment history hasn’t exactly been possible over the last few years especially if your PCSs have involved overseas installations.

It might have been a detriment in years past, but current Bureau of Labor statistics show that most civilian workers only stay with jobs for a little over three years. That makes the changes in your employment look right on par with the rest of the work force.

When you begin to see your status as a military spouse as an asset and not a mark against you, it’s easier to make it work. Military spouses have valuable soft and hard skills that employers want so it’s up to you to take a look at what you’ve worked on developing over the time your spouse has been in the military and then make that work for you.

Focus on your flexibility. If it’s one thing any military spouse knows, it’s that everything can (and often will) change on a moment’s notice. You’re adaptable to whatever life is going to throw at you in a way that civilian workers aren’t specifically because of your status as a military spouse. You know that sometimes you plan for cookies and end up with cake. Your loyalty and ability to problem solve with limited resources are invaluable assets for any employer.

So instead of being nervous about self-identifying as a military spouse, think about all the good that you have to offer a potential employer. You’re a self-starter with a determined, fierce spirit. After countless moves, innumerable units, dinners, awards, balls, and graduations, you’re the most capable multi-tasker around. You know that you can get the job done, so make sure the potential employer knows that as well

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