As a military spouse, you offer a unique combination of education, experience and strengths. The skills and abilities you have gained in your mobile military life make you a standout in the employment market.
You may have supported multiple employers in a variety of positions across the United States and around the world. Think of the diversity you encountered and the challenges you faced and overcame. Recognize the contributions you made to previous employers and the range of knowledge you can offer a new employer. Consider the broad perspective you can bring to an organization whose challenge may be fighting the battle of "we've always done it this way."
You may be an expert at solving problems, managing change, handling stress and organizing - all highly valued by employers. Like many military spouses, however, you may downplay your assets and skills. By neglecting to mention your strengths and accomplishments on your resume, in your job search and in interviews, you may miss a great job opportunity.
Use tools and assessments to identify and evaluate your skills and strengths. MySECO provides access to CareerScope, CareerKey®, CAREERwise Education Interest Assessment and other skill profilers and assessment tools to help you learn more about your skill set. You can also find resources for honing your current skills and learning new ones.
Ask others about your strengths. Identify your skills and strengths by asking people who know you best - your spouse, your parents, your friends, your co-workers and your boss. Identify the character traits they see in you and discuss specific examples and situations when your traits made you shine. Hearing about similar traits from multiple sources will reaffirm your strengths and make it easier for you to talk about them to others. You may choose to use their stories in response to interview questions that start with "Give me an example of a time when you…"
Know the skills and strengths employers seek. Most employers want employees with good communication and technical skills, as well as the specific skills required to be successful in their job. Other strengths employers seek include:
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Positive attitude
- Willingness to learn
Think of times when you showed these strengths in your life that may set you apart from other jobseekers. For example, moving your family to a new location while your spouse was deployed shows independence, strength and adaptability. Willingly leaving a job behind to support your spouse shows courage, commitment and flexibility. Taking classes to jumpstart a new career shows a positive attitude, confidence and an interest in accelerated learning.
Be prepared to align your strengths to the job. When an interviewer asks, "what are your strengths," be ready to explain what you can do for the organization by targeting your responses to the job. For example, as technology team lead, discuss your problem-solving and communication skills and work ethic. As a teacher, focus on your flexibility, sensitivity and classroom management. Share specific examples or stories to illustrate your strengths.
For more information on communicating your strengths and the value they bring to an organization, seek a mentor through Military Spouse eMentor Program or Blue Star Families. Use MySECO tools to evaluate your strengths, skills and capabilities. Get a resume evaluation from a career coach by calling 800-342-9647. Apply for positions with companies on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search who are interested in hiring qualified applicants from the military spouse talent pool. Also, be sure to visit the Employment Readiness lifecycle stage of MySECO.