Do I really need Professional Development? What if I don’t have a career? Why bother?
I’ve asked myself this question once or twice…or maybe a thousand times throughout my time as a military spouse.
Professional development is a way for people to stay on top of their current and future career prospects. Many employers offer professional development opportunities to their employees as it applies to their specific position. Many conferences are held to keep us aware of the current needs of our respective industries. The networking opportunities can be endless.
However, if I am learning about local opportunities, or industry specific opportunities, who’s to say that those same opportunities or even that same industry will be available at our next duty station? If I own a business and have many clients at our current duty station, how will I maintain the same level of business when we PCS again?
This is what I am experiencing right now. Having just relocated again a few months ago, I am having to start at the bottom rung of the ladder in the employment aspect of my military life.
While I firmly believe that we can never go wrong by taking advantage of these Professional Development opportunities, I have always been left feeling like they either don’t apply to me or may not be possible to maintain with having to move and possibly switch fields every few years. I have been searching for something that is more in line with the military lifestyle.
Cue the 5th Annual Military Spouse Career Summit that is hosted by the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which I plan on attending next week!
What it is: It is the “can’t miss” event for any military spouse who is serious about their career. Whether you’re interested in entrepreneurship, federal employment, corporate employment or volunteering, they’ve gathered the resources you need to explore the portable career options available.
When it is: Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th
Where it is: Springfield Hilton, 6550 Loisdale Road, Springfield, VA
Who it’s for: Any and every military spouse who is looking to take their dreams and goals above and beyond where they are now. If you’ve got the drive, they’ve got the: connections, experts, advice, fantastic food and networking opportunities.
Now you might be thinking: “But I’m perfectly content with where I am” or “But I’m not an entrepreneur” or even “I still don’t know exactly what I want to be when I grow up”. There is something for EVERYONE at this event. The people you will listen to and meet will help move you from where you are now to where you want to be.
For the younger spouses:
Learn from those spouses who have come before you. They have taken the road less traveled and in the process have paved that path for YOU! Before you leave this event you will have most assuredly found someone to mentor you or at least become your ‘accountability partner’.
Military spouse, Amy Schofield has said that since joining NMSN and attending her first summit, her business has tripled! She attributes the connections she made at the event as a critical element to her success. “There is nothing better than networking in person, whether you are wanting to increase your business or land a job, and the Summit gives you this great opportunity to network with other dedicated military spouses.”
For the mid-range spouses:
Here is your opportunity to take what you are already doing or have done and move it forward. I spoke with Jennifer Romanowicz, a Coast Guard spouse who has attended the summit in the past. At first, she really wasn’t expecting to learn anything in particular at the Summit.
As a Physical Therapist who was used to working for various companies throughout her husband’s career, she was satisfied with her employment situation. She had always received what she wanted and asked for so she saw no real need to attend, but did anyway; and was glad she did. Even though she has always received what she asked for, she never realized that she could have more. The summit helped her clarify her goals, and realize that she wasn’t tapping into all that she could attain. “It changed my inertia and my mind-set. Instead of seeking an employer/employee relationship, I began seeking a partnership,” says Romanowicz. “The intention [of the summit] is not to solve all of your problems, but to show you that these problems can be solved.”
For the seasoned spouses:
Prepare NOW for what you want in the future. With transition from military life becoming a reality for more and more of our service members, it is never too early to start preparing for your post-military career. NMSM and the Annual Military Spouse Career Summit can help you to lay the foundation for what is to come.
For example, Scholfield is a certified resume writer as well as a Personal & Professional Branding Expert through her company Scholfield Strategies. She understands first-hand the employment challenges military spouses face.
“It is not enough for someone to just read an article and understand the job search process. Instead, attending professional development events such as the summit allows job seekers to really interact with people “in the know” who have insider information as to the latest job search trends. I work with military spouses on their resumes all the time. Most of them seem to not have the confidence they need in a job search, because of gaps in their work history due to moving or taking care of children and after they work with me, I can just see their confidence soaring! So attending events like this will also provide opportunities for military spouse job seekers who want to further their careers. “
So what are you waiting for? Join us at the 5th Annual Military Spouse Career Summit!