Military Life: Job Searching from Across the County

I’ve officially been applying for jobs in Wisconsin since April 25th!

So far I’ve had two interviews (both with the same company) and I’m waiting for an official job offer early in June (not to jinx myself, but it sounds very promising that I will get the position!)

Having only ever applied for local jobs, I had no idea what to expect when I started this process.

Here are two of my “tips” that I’ve gathered so far!

#1: Be very clear about your relocation in your cover letter. I used something like this:

“I am looking forward to permanently relocating to Wisconsin this summer as my husband transitions out of the military and we return home.”

  • Let them know this is not a “if I get a job I’ll move” type of situation and that you are serious about moving.
  • Be as specific about the date as possible (in my case, I am willing to move before my husband gets out if I get a job, so I put “summer” rather than his actual EAS date)

At first, I was unsure about mentioning my husband or the military. I feel that military spouses in particular often mesh themselves with their husband’s career more so than other non-military spouses. However, this experience taught me to not be afraid of using the “military card”, because it ended up getting me an interview!

#2: Phone Interviews: After completing my first phone screening I was contacted from the agency again and informed that they wanted to move forward with me as a candidate and schedule an in person interview.

This was challenging for me. On one hand, I completely understand that a company would want to meet a candidate in person before offering a job. However, because I’m out of state, it’s a little illogical for them to expect me to spend upwards of $1k to fly out just for an interview.

After discussing it with my husband, my mom (who owns her own business and hires employees often) and other military spouses who have been through the same situation…I decided to be very clear about my situation and offer only a phone or Skype interview.

Initially, my offer was declined and they passed over me as a candidate. It was disappointing, because I really wanted the job, but I felt confident in my choice. It is just not realistic for my husband and I to spend that kind of money for an interview when we are preparing to EAS.

Here is where my comment about using the “military card” comes into play. I got a call later that week from the same company asking me to do a phone interview. They had discussed my situation with the hiring manager (who is former military) and they decided to make an exception for me because of my qualifications for the position. YAY!

Phone interviews are tough! It’s hard to hear if you are on speaker phone, people talk over each other, and you can’t judge facial expressions…your voice has to fully represent you as a person.

At the end of my interview I then offered to fly out and meet them; I wanted to be considered equally to locally candidates, and because I am very interested in the position, I am willing to make the trip now that they are seriously considering me for the position.

This is where my story ends. Right now I’m waiting for a call back by June 9th either offering me the job (which seems to be the way things will go) or asking me to fly out for another in-person interview. I suppose the other option is no call back and not getting the job…but I’m thinking positive!

All in all, this job searching experience has been a huge learning opportunity! But I’ll be glad when it’s over and I’ve secured an awesome job!

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Job Search and the Military Spouse

I was recently approached by a fellow blogger to feature her article about post-military job employment/transition on my blog. As my husband and I are approaching our first PCS and I will be starting my job search again in a new city/state in which I have no connections, finding new employment is a hurdle I am not looking forward to.

Although I stumbled upon my current position due to connections and good timing, I did spend a difficult month in the job hunt, and utilized many of the resources available to military spouses. Since this article is employment focused, I’ve decided to include my own experiences/recommendations with military spouse employment programs, as well as featuring her article.

My Tips:

  • Military Spouse Employment Partnership: This is a program/website designed to connect military spouses with employment. You enter your location and job openings are listed. From my experience, the jobs were mostly entry level and there were not every many. I think that military spouses would have better luck with general job search engines such as indeed.com or snagajob.com (Indeed is my favorite)
  • Blue Star Families: I love Blue Star Families Making Volunteerism Work For You, a very comprehensive guide to how to word your volunteer work on your resume. It includes general volunteer work, such as tutoring, and also military specific volunteer work, such as NMCRS, Family Readiness Advisor and LINKS Trainer. I found it very helpful when writing my resume and being unsure of how to highlight my skills from my military related volunteer experience.
  • Marine Corps Community Services: Most (if not all) bases offer some kind of Career Center. For the Marines, it goes through MCCS’s Family Member Employment Assistance Program (FMEAP). I ended up not going in to the office, but during on the Job Fairs I attended I had one of the Advisors look over my resume and give me critique. You can make an appointment with an Advisor and schedule a one-on-one resume review.
  • Hiring Our Heroes: I went to 2 Job Fairs hosted by Hiring Our Heroes, and although I did not get a job from the experience, I did get a lot of questions answered, got great tips on my resume and made connections.
  • Volunteer & Connections: I think the biggest thing I learned from my job search experience is the importance of volunteering and making connections. I was told by a few employers (whose positions I had applied for), that they often hire their volunteers, because they are familiar with the program and they have grown to trust them and have a relationship. I don’t think everyone necessarily has the time to volunteer, but if you do, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at where it can lead you and what opportunities will be presented.

Guest Post:

Breaking Job Search Myths for Post-Military Men and Women

Author: Emma at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/

If you’re retiring from the military or transitioning into the workforce after settling down as a military spouse, it can be rough and challenging to re-enter a civilian job. In this stage it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by the process. It takes time to find a career that you know you’d be willing to work hard for to make it worth in the end. Here are a few myths about the job search process and truths behind them.

Myth #1: There are no programs out there that support military spouses find employment.

Truth: Employment assistance for military spouses is sitting right at your fingertips. Joining Forces is a wide-ranging national program that offers assistance to military spouses and veterans in finding employment. The program understands that it’s hard for you, as the spouse, to have a steady job when your other half is being ordered to transfer to different bases throughout their military contract. Therefore the program focuses on expanding employment, career development opportunities, and aiding employers in constructing military family-friendly workspaces.

Myth #2: Job applications are time-consuming and can be difficult.

Truth: Companies today have worked to make the job-application process easier by using mobile recruiting companies like JIBE. These services allow job applicants to quickly upload their resume, fill out an application, and add any supporting material that may help with the process straight from their smartphone. Companies who are looking to hire have become more involved in today’s technology in order to help job candidates enjoy a stress-free application process.

Myth #3: As a veteran I can find programs to help me search for a civilian job, but there’s not an actual company that will help me through the entire process.

Truth: If you’re a veteran it can get confusing trying to process and place yourself in the job market after leaving the military. There’s a company called Orion International that offers its services to veterans in finding and employing them in civilian jobs. Some of the services they offer are: temp-to-permanent hiring, leadership development, and strategic military talent programs.

Myth #4: You don’t have to promote yourself to employers.

Truth: When going in for an interview it’s up to you as a candidate to promote yourself to the employer. All you have to make sure is that you remember to highlight your skills and talents, as well as provide great examples of the things you can do differently from another candidate. Don’t let your resume and cover letter do all the talking to the employer. You have to present yourself as an original and let your personality merge with your application. If you apply this technique while an employer is interviewing you, they will take this into consideration after you leave.

 

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/