by Carol Fishman Cohen
This week I'm speaking at the Military Officers Association of America Spouse Symposium on the topic of Career Reentry for Military Spouses. This Spouse Symposium is part of the larger Joint Warfighting Convention, which is being held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center near Norfolk , VA. Nearly 3,000 people are attending, and I'm sure there will be demonstrators there protesting the war because defense contractors are involved in this conference as well as the military. However, the difficulties faced by military spouses relaunching careers after returning from lengthy overseas postings or after moving every few years rise above the political divide over the Iraq War. Here are some tips for military spouses resuming careers after a career break:
QUALIFICATIONS: You have unique qualifications to offer employers as a military spouse. Make sure you highlight these areas of expertise when you discuss your strengths:
- Emotional Resilience
- Experience in Dealing with Uncertainty
You are constantly dealing with uncertainty about your spouse's whereabouts and safety, and the timing and location of your next posting. Dealing with uncertainty is a qualification lacking in many job candidates at any life stage.
- Comfortable with Constant Transition
- No Benefits Required
package. Use this as a bargaining chip when negotiating terms of your employment.
READINESS: Relaunch readiness may be trickier for you than for non-military spouses. This means you may need to wait longer than a non-military spouse to relaunch your career. This also means you need to be extra patient with yourself as you move forward in the process.
- Lack of a Support Network
- At Home Responsibilities are Overwhelming
- Take a Series of Baby Steps: The objective is to maximize current and relevant experiences, so reference to these experiences can be made during informal networking, formal interviewing and on resumes.
- Consider employment with global employers
- Small to mid-sized companies are often interested in relaunchers.
Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin are the co-authors of the acclaimed career reentry book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, and the co-founders of iRelaunch, a company providing career reentry programming, events, and information to employers, universities, organizations and to mid-career professionals in all stages of career break. Carol will be signing books at the Virginia symposium at booth # 913.
Military Spouse Photo Credit: http://media.zenfs.com/en-US/blogs/partner/MySpouseGold2.jpg