Archive for the 'Career' Category

Three Important Resume Tips for #MilSpouses

Mar 31 2015

Author: Sophia Marshall, Navy Spouse and a 2014-2015 MOAA Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council member.

MOAA Spouse Symposium Old Town-431

Frequent relocation and an intermittent work history are 2 things that go hand in hand with many military spouses. While taking part in the MOAA Spouse Symposium in Alexandria on Monday, March 23rd, I had the opportunity to review resumes. Based on my experience, I’d like to offer a few suggestions that all military spouses can implement to improve their resumes today:

1) Don’t Distinguish Between Volunteer Experience and Paid Experience
Military spouses often use volunteer opportunities to fill experience gaps on a resume. Instead of listing this experience separately, why not add it with your paid experience? Remember, many people volunteer to do jobs that are actually paid positions. Why should it matter how your experience is labeled? Here is an example of how to add that volunteer experience in the work history section of your resume:

Caseworker, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), 2012 – Present
Provide budget assistance, as a volunteer, for 5+ military families weekly.

2) Replace your objective with a branding statement
Nothing will send your resume to the shredder faster than a florally objective statement!

Instead, use a little branding to replace your objective. This could be a title or a job target. Whatever you decide, just know that it has to be proven throughout the body of your resume. Think of it as your professional essence. As an example, I spoke with one spouse who wanted to enter the non-profit sector. As a military spouse, she has volunteered in all types of non-profits. A perfect branding statement for her might be:

Fundraiser: Non-Profit Sector

This can help you tremendously. Why? Because you are letting a potential employer know upfront what type of job you want to be considered for. It is straight and to the point…no flowers involved!

3) Use a hybrid format to disguise gaps within your resume
We all know that there are many types of resume formats. The best format is one that will compliment your personal work history. As many military spouses often have a gap in employment, using a hybrid format is the best way to take the attention away from dates. To successfully do so, pull out the relevant skillsets from your entire work history. A few examples could be customer service, administration, management, logistics, etc. Develop these in the first part of your resume, using 3 or 4 bullets each, and follow with your employment history.

This will help the employer to see how your skills fit into the job you are going for. In the employment history section, they will see the dates, but by that time, they will already be impressed by your skills and accomplishments, so it won’t matter!

MOAA Spouse Symposium Old Town-1040

Learn more about Alexandria Symposium:

The “Dollars and Sense” of Working Outside the Home

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik Speaks Out on Sequestration at the MOAA Military Spouse Symposium

No responses yet

The “Dollars and Sense” of Working Outside the Home

Mar 27 2015

Author: Liz Weyrauch, Army Spouse and a 2014-2015 MOAA Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council member.

MOAA Spouse Symposium Old Town-679

My twenties were spent working on Capitol Hill in a high pace, exciting environment. I loved it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Then, you know how it goes, I met a handsome Army Captain and before I knew it, 10 years has passed with 6 moves (3 of them overseas), 2 deployments, 2 babies, tons of volunteer work and not a single paycheck to my name. Now that we are back in DC, I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to work. I decided to attend MOAA’s Spouse Symposium in Alexandria, VA and it was certainly not a day wasted. The symposium consisted of panels, speakers and seminars full of information for the military spouse who is fighting to keep a career, or like me, considering heading back into the work force.

One seminar I found interesting was The “Dollars and Sense” of Working Outside the Home presented by Shane Ostrom, MOAA’s Deputy Director of Transition Services. The idea of bringing in a paycheck is appealing, but when factoring in care for the kids, transportation and other issues, does it financially make sense?

The seminar started by breaking down the financial pros and cons of working. These were pretty much what I guessed. Pros consisted of additional income, personal development and independence, while the cons can be time away from kids and difficulty finding challenging work. Another downside discussed was how often spouses take jobs without fully conducting the cost and benefit analysis. For example, someone making $60,000 a year (or $5,000 a month,) would actually be taking home $3,140 after taxes. Then take out costs for day care, gas, lunches, dry cleaning and other miscellaneous work related expenses and the take home pay shrinks to less than $2,000 a month (*this is just an illustration).

The numbers were eye opening.

Also eye opening are the results of a survey conducted by MOAA and Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Military spouses make 38 percent less than their civilian peers and 90 percent of spouses report they are underemployed. MOAA is striving to change these statistics, so part of this seminar addressed how to be ready when asked, “What salary do you hope to receive?”. Research paired with assessing what is important to your family is vital when making this decision; don’t just throw a number out!

This hour-long seminar was very informative and gave all those who attended numerous tools to use when looking for a job or negotiating all the fine details of a position. If you are like me and considering working outside the home, I recommend attending one of MOAA’s Spouse Symposiums – you will be glad you did!

Were you able to join us for the Alexandria Spouse Symposium? Have you joined us in other locations around the country? Leave us a comment below OR engage with the MOAA Spouse team through our Facebook Page and @MOAA_MilLife.

Read more about the Symposium: Congresswoman Elise Stefanik Speaks Out on Sequestration at the MOAA Military Spouse Symposium

One response so far

Next »