“I love working on my resume!” said no military spouse ever. For many military spouses, resume-writing brings about feelings of stress and dread. We want to crawl under our covers and hide because something nasty is snickering at us from the white space: Gaps. Gaps on a military spouse’s resume are common, and reasons for them include: An overseas PCS A new baby Limited employment opportunities A short assignment We might have chosen to stop working, or we might have felt like the military lifestyle chose for us. Regardless, the more gaps that exist and the longer they’re there, the weaker our resumes feel to us. And that has the tendency to make us lose our sense of purpose. Is there a way to fill those gaps? Yes. In fact, three simple strategies might prove to do more for you than any conventional black and white on your resume ever did. Check it out: 1. Exercise and Improve Your Skills If you just PCS’d overseas or to a location with limited employment opportunities, take the chance to advance your skills. Think strategically about building your skills so that you’ll earn more money or climb the next rung on your career ladder. Take advantage of a PCS-perk and get your free upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. As a Premium member, you can access LinkedIn Learning, a library of 12,000 courses that offer skills training in a range of topics and complexity. Follow a LinkedIn Learning Path, which is a series of courses on the same topic. Finishing a LinkedIn Learning Path will earn you a “Badge,” which you can display on your LinkedIn profile. Traditional college or community college classes will provide you with great opportunities to learn and engage with other people just like you, too. And don’t forget the public library, which often has groups that focus on building skills, such as public speaking, writing or technology. Intentionally filling a gap with skills-building activities can bring you a great sense of pride, and potential employers will love to read about it in your next cover letter. 2. Consider Remote Work If the gaps in your resume are a result of repeated stops and starts between PCS’s, then maybe it’s time to consider remote work. Remote work allows you to transition between assignments without much of a hiccup. You can maintain an enjoyable job, feel productive and contribute financially to your family. If you’re hesitant because you’d miss the social interaction that traditional jobs bring, think about this: companies are growing increasingly innovative when it comes to cultivating a social atmosphere in a virtual environment. For example, I work remotely as a freelance writer through MadSkills, a military-spouse founded company that builds and manages companies’ virtual teams. MadSkills’ remote workers are spread across the globe, but we still have a sense of community and support. The MadSkills core team accomplishes this by harnessing the power of Slack’s unique technology, consistently recognizing employees for jobs well done and providing regular motivational speakers and online meet-ups. More and more companies like MadSkills are targeting military spouses because they are often highly trained and bring an excellent work ethic. To echo Uncle Sam, they want you – and they want to offer you a job that you can take with you from place to place. This is where you can kick resume gaps to the curb and ask an employer where to sign. 3. Make Your Dream Happen… NOW Many of you probably harbor a dream to become something more. You have a skill or an idea that you know you can turn into something amazing – and when you see others do something similar, you might think, “I could do it better.” There is no better time than during a “gap” to turn that dream into reality. So chase it. Make it happen. Surround yourself with knowledge and networks to lay a foundation, and then begin climbing your ladder. Focus on your area of interest, and take some strategic steps: Join professional organizations. Join informal groups to learn, practice or network. The library or local recreation centers are great places to start. Attend conferences. Read the five most recommended books in your field. Subscribe to newsletters from respected organizations. Join Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups that focus on your skill or area of interest. Volunteer for an organization. This provides you the chance to sharpen your skills and earn a solid reference. Keeping a dream on the horizon leaves it out of reach. But, placing yourself at the center of the dream gives you essential fuel to turn your dream into your reality. By immersing yourself in communities of likeminded people, you can stimulate your brain, exercise your skills, get invaluable practice, learn from mentors and form connections that will propel you forward. You might want your dream to turn into a career, or you might want to check off a huge box on your bucket list. Regardless, using a gap as a time to make that happen will increase your sense of purpose, and you will learn and grow in ways that you can’t imagine just by staring at your dream on the horizon. And making your dream happen is an excellent type of experience to share with a potential employer someday, as it demonstrates initiative, perseverance, strategy and innovation. Years from now, this time won’t look like a gap at all. It will look like the time that your life took off. There’s no denying that military spouses’ resumes can take a real hit in this lifestyle. But, we have an opportunity with every PCS to use the transition as a launch pad for a new start. I’ve done it. Many others have, too. Resume gaps don’t have to look like irreparable damage on our employment history. By taking intentional, strategic steps, we can fill those gaps with pursuits that will give meaning to our days and endless possibility for our futures. Connect with us on Facebook!
Category - Career
It can be SO hard to make a career for yourself as a military spouse when you have to move to a new place every few years. You have to explain away career-gaps in every new place to people who don’t always understand! Sometimes, it can be the best option to create a career for yourself online. But the internet is a big place… That’s why we’ve collected 10 options for online jobs for military spouses to help get you started. AMAZON: Talk about PRIME. Amazon has several virtual costumer service positions that are the perfect online jobs for military spouses wanting to work from home. This includes positions with or without a degree. Interested? Click here for more. – VIPKIDS: If you haven’t heard of this company, definitely make sure to look into them! You can teach English to children virtually anywhere. They need awesome people to help these kids, and military spouses wanting to work online might be just the right fit. This is great because you can be in charge of your own schedule. Click here for more. – AMEX: American Express offers several remote job listings for customer service representatives and travel consultants. This may not sound super glamorous at first look, but it could possibly be the exact job you need as a military spouse, to keep your flexibility and get benefits in return! Click here for more. – CAPITAL ONE: Looking to put your finance degree to work for you? This may be the place to try it out! Capital One offers customer service representatives virtual jobs as well as online positions for virtual business bankers. Click here for more. – AETNA: One of the largest insurance companies has several telework positions. They employ Case Mangers RN, Nurse Consultants, etc. Make sure to type telework in the search bar when browsing! Click here for more. – DISNEY: Sometimes dreams really do come true! Disney has several locations throughout the world and several online jobs! According to their site, a virtual assistant would be responsible for answering inbound calls and email guests, providing guest service, and dealing with any customer service escalated issues. Who knows, maybe there are some Disney perks in it for you too… Just follow the link and type in work from home! Click here for more. – ACCUTRANGLOBAL: This transcription company hires on a contractual basis. Additionally, they do hire US citizens stationed overseas. (perfect for OCONUS!) There are some minimal qualifications that you must meet in order to apply. Click here for more. – APPLE: If you’re great with technology this may be the company for you! Apple employees several at-home advisors and managers. You could possibly have the chance to work for this huge organization that is recognized all over the world! Click here for more. – HILTON: Reservation and customer care center has open positions for virtual/work from home assistants. With this online job, you’d be booking accommodations and by helping with customer service! If you love working with people this might be for you. Click here for more. Connect with us on Facebook!
Living the mobile military lifestyle can be hectic…especially when we’re trying to pursue our education. Finding financial aid for military spouses for education can often feel even more problematic. But, like the rest of the world, we just need to get creative to find financial aid for military spouses to fund our schooling and training. Here are a few suggestions to get you started! 1. MyCAA MyCAA (My Career Advancement Account) is a program designed to provide financial aid for military spouses (who are eligible) pursuing portable career fields. Specifically, MyCAA will provide up to $4000 in tuition assistance for spouses seeking monetary assistance for licenses, certifications, certificates or associate degree. However, not every military spouse will be eligible. For example, your service member must be on active Title 10 orders and fall within the ranks of E1-E5, W1-W2, or O1-O2. Coast Guard spouses are also ineligible. Spouses must also be pursuing a “portable career field”, and their education must strictly adhere to that. For instance, if you’re going for an associate degree in Liberal Arts (aka, General Studies), MyCAA wouldn’t fund your schooling. There are a slew of other guidelines and requirements, but thankfully they break it down fairly well in these FAQs. 2. Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer Some military spouses may be eligible to receive VA financial aid if their service member chooses to transfer their education benefits to them. Depending on the amount of time they have in service (at least 10 years) and the amount of time left on their current contract (among other criteria), service members can transfer some or all (up to 36 months’ worth) of their education benefits to their eligible dependents. But keep in mind, come 7/20/2019, your service member must have less than 16 years or less in order to transfer their benefits to you. Transferring VA education benefits can often be cumbersome, and in recent months, the VA has made several changes to this program. It’s important to stay abreast of these changes and make sure your family doesn’t fall through the cracks. 3. Military Spouse Scholarships There are a slew of organizations who offer financial aid for military spouses in the form of scholarships. This list is by no means exhaustive, but should help get you started on your search for additional education funding. Bear in mind, many organizations offer these scholarships during certain times of the year, so pay close attention to the deadlines. The National Military Family Association (NMFA) is one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations geared towards military family advocacy, and they have plenty of resources available to help fund your career and educational pursuits. Typically twice a year they offer several scholarships ranging from $500 for career funding, $1000 for degree funding and up to $2500 for clinical supervision towards licensure in the mental health field. They also have partnerships with several educational institutions (quite possibly your own school) as well. The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) is the largest resource and support network for partners, spouses, families and allies of America’s LGBTQ service members and veterans. A few years ago, they launched their military spouse scholarship to further the education, advocacy and support of today’s modern military family. And to answer your question: No, you are not required to identify as LGBTQ to be eligible. In fact, their website specifically states: All military spouses who meet the basic requirements indicated above are eligible to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. ThanksUSA is another organization that offers military spouse scholarships annually (typically between April and May each year). Their mission is to provide need-based college, technical and vocational school scholarships and pathways to meaningful employment for children and spouses of military members. Like NMFA, they also partner with schools and other programs to give you that leg up on education funding. 4. Student Loans Bottom line, it’s rare to find scholarships and grants that will cover the entire cost of your educational pursuits. Sometimes, we just have to bite the big one and apply for student loans. It’s important to remember that student loans are just that: LOANS. You’ll have to pay these funds back (with interest). Student loan debt is currently eating many post-graduates alive, forcing them to delay life events like buying a home, getting married or even having children. Applying for student loans should be a last resort, but no matter what you should fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before starting school. Depending on your family’s income, you could be eligible for a Pell Grant (i.e. Free Money), but that can only be determined if you apply. *NOTE: When filling out your FAFSA, be sure not to include BAH and other allowances into your family’s income. My own financial aid counselor advises this to all of her students as it may make it look as if you’re family “makes” more money than it does and might derail your chances of scoring a Pell Grant. More Ways to Save There are a few more ways you could save some change along the way (which really adds up over the course of your educational journey). Here are a few suggestions: Ask your school’s financial aid counselor if they offer a military discount. I know, I know…there are many of us that take issue with asking ANYONE for military discount. For those of us that do ask, chances are we’ve caught flack for it on more than one occasion. However, do you really want to miss out on a 10-25 percent tuition discount JUST on principle? Then by all means don’t ask…but just remember those principles will end up costing you thousands of dollars in the long run. Look into your service’s relief societies. Depending on your spouse’s branch of service, many of these organizations offer financial aid for military spouses through scholarships, interest free loans or grants to help ease your funding burden. Rent, don’t buy, your text books. Honestly, do we really need that college algebra text book 10 years from now? I highly doubt you want to move those monsters with you every 2-3 years. Instead, consider renting them! There are several sites, such as Chegg, that will allow you to rent your textbooks. You just order it, pay a nominal fee (compared to actually purchasing the textbook outright) and return it by the due date (anywhere from 3-12 months). Amazon, as well as Barnes and Noble, have also gotten into the textbook rental game, so be sure and shop around for the best price based on your needs! There are so many ways to help fund your education. You may not be able to take advantage of all of them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep searching. You have a passion, a dream, a goal, a calling…you won’t let military life stop you from achieving them because you are resourceful. So use that resourcefulness and find you some financial aid for military spouses! Connect with us on Facebook!
1. Working from home is NOT too good to be true The season leading up to a military move is bittersweet, and usually sprinkled with anticipation and stress. As military spouses, we spend hours worrying about and managing so many aspects related to the PCS — the timing and logistics of movers, finding a place to live, concern over whether you and your family will enjoy the new area, apprehension about making new friends (again), anxiety about your spouse’s new role, and the list goes on and on. And of course, let’s not forget that for many military spouses, one of the biggest stressors on that never-ending list includes finding careers for military spouses. But what if that last one was a non-issue, and you didn’t actually have to find a new job when you moved? 2. You will have a less stressful PCS. I’ll take it! My husband and I recently PCSed for the fifth time in six years. I am naturally prone to anxiety, so the uncertainty leading up our relocations has typically been a challenge for me. However, during our most recent move from New Jersey to South Florida, one of my military sisters observed that I was unusually calm about our upcoming move. (Me? Calm? My name and calm are rarely found together in the same sentence.) So I began to reflect – why was I less troubled? – and I quickly realized that it was because unlike past moves, I didn’t have the added stress of restarting my career as a military spouse in the Sunshine State. No, I didn’t retire (much to my dismay), but I now work from home, so it doesn’t matter where and when we move. I had a fruitful and promising career before my husband joined the Navy, and I definitely had no intention of giving that up. However, with every move, I found myself having to start over, sometimes in a completely new industry and for less pay than my previous role. When my husband and I decided that we were going to try to stick his Naval career out for the long-haul, I made it my mission to find a remote job so that I could continue to grow my military spouse career professionally and financially despite frequent geographical relocations. 3. There ARE work from home jobs out there for you At first I thought finding a remote job was too good to be true, but with incredible advances in technology and innumerable studies demonstrating the positive impact remote working has on employee engagement and productivity, more and more organizations are changing their culture and policies to adopt teleworking. Additionally, telecommuting saves money for both companies and employees in overhead and transportation, and helps the environment by reducing commuting emissions. According to a 2016 study by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, the population that works at home has grown by 103% since 2005. That means every day there are more and more jobs added to the market that allow employees to work remotely, and military spouses are the perfect candidates to fill those roles. I am proud to report that not only do I work remotely as a business consultant, but five of my closest military sisters also have successful, high-paying telecommuting jobs – across totally different industries! 4. There are different ways to find work from home jobs – here are 3! a. Online Searches So, we’ve established that the jobs are out there in the universe and yours for the taking…but where do you find them? If you’ve looked for a remote job before, I am sure you have seen a lot of listings that are clearly scams. You know, those “work from home” jobs that promise that you will make $100K in the first month? While I am no expert, but I think those may indeed be too good to be true. When I search for remote jobs, I look for positions that sound like they could be done in an office, but just happen to lend themselves to at-home work as well. A lot of people see the value in hiring military spouses, opening doors for careers for military spouses. I have personally been most successful searching on sites like Indeed.com, Flexjobs.com, SimplyHired.com, and WeWorkRemotely.com. I also recommend searching combinations of the words “remote” and “telecommuting,” and I try to stay away from searching for “work from home.” For example, my area of expertise is in customer service management, so in looking for my current role, I searched for “remote customer service management” or “remote leadership.” Keep in mind, the more lotto tickets you buy, the more your odds of winning increase. Thus, I recommend casting a wide net and applying for as many remote positions that fit your skill-set as possible. Don’t get discouraged – for every 20 applications for remote positions I have posted, I have gotten bites on probably 1-2 bites from recruiters, but one of those bites could be your long-term future dream job. So get your resume ready, put on your favorite Netflix show, and hunker down with your laptop when you can to fill out those applications! b. Network As previously mentioned, I now have quite a number of military spouse friends in my network that work remotely, and I am confident that many other military community networks do too. The best organizational recruiting tool is word of mouth and employee referrals, so network with people you know that work remotely. Do they like what they do? Are there any open opportunities at their company? Can they pass your resume along to their company’s recruiter? Military spouses are some of the highest performing and hardest working folks out there. Organizations are hungry for strong talent like that, and I am confident they would love to add another military spouse to the payroll – especially if your networking contact has paved the way! c. You might already be in a remote role… Often times, an individual’s first remote position doesn’t start out as remote. Rather, they start out in a physical office, prove to have unshakable work ethic, and then transition to telecommuting. When based at Naval Based Ventura County, I worked in the office of a local organization as the Customer Service Manager, but transitioned into a Project Manager role with that same organization and began working remotely when we PCSed to New Jersey two years later. Thus, I challenge you to engage your employer about remote working and perhaps your opportunity for continuity during your next PCS is right under your nose! Common remote working positions Some positions naturally lend themselves better to remote working than others. You are obviously not going to style hair or perform open-heart surgery from the comfort of your own home. However, there are LOTS of industries that find remote positions to be the best fit. Some include: Customer Service and Customer Service Managers Project Management Most positions in the Tech Industry – Tech companies tend to be the most progressive as it related to remote working. Account Management and Customer Success Partners Recruiting Business Consulting Inside Sales Online Teaching Travel coordinators While remote working might not be the best fit for everyone, it has definitely been the solution to the challenge of supporting my spouse’s career and building a career of my own. I hope that regardless of your desires, you can also find peace, and find a way to foster your own goals and dreams! Connect with us on Facebook!