Archive for the 'Career' Category

Career Change Courtesy of Uncle Sam

Feb 08 2016


New place, new people, and oh no — not a new career?!

Such is the life of a military spouse.

Sometimes, our careers have to be modified according to the opportunities available at our new duty station, servicemember’s availability, etcetera. Making a career change is never easy — it’s always a challenging (and sometimes quite terrifying) endeavor.

Here are a few tips for making a necessary career change a little less stressful:

Power of networking

Networks often are established in an industry — specific manner. Real estate professionals network with real estate professional groups, educators network with educators, nurses network with nurses, and so on. While such an industry — focused networking strategy can be very influential in establishing an industry — specific network, it’s not so great when faced with changing industries.

Making a successful career change often requires cultivation of a broader professional network. As a military spouse who’s made more than one career change courtesy of Uncle Sam, I found it extremely helpful to prioritize the development of a non — industry specific professional network. While the majority of my experience has been in agriculture and communications, I make a point to “think big” when it comes to networking. Cultivating connections outside your current industry can pay dividends when faced with a career change.

Back to school

Going back to school often is a requirement for a successful career change. Whether it’s taking a few continuing education courses, or completing a new four — year degree, most professional transitions are going to require some additional education. Before making the commitment to go back to school, do your homework. Research career options while exploring the mechanics of how this new opportunity will work with your military lifestyle. What will the work hours look like? Will this new-to-you profession be in demand at your next duty station? Do required certifications and licenses transfer across states? Find a military spouse active in the new profession you’re considering and get the “down low” on how the career in questions jives with the #milso life.

Continuing your education requires many resources — time, energy, and finances. Before taking the plunge, make sure you’ve got a realistic handle of the costs associated with making the transition. It’s more than just tuition — think books, enrollment fees, child care, gas expense, missed income, etcetera. There also are many financial assistance options available for military spouses who are interested in furthering their education.

Here are a few of my favs:

Navigating a new industry

Six years of school down, two more to go — I was on track to becoming a large animal veterinarian. Then, I fell in love with a solider, war happened, and everything changed. I found myself at an untimely crossroad and was faced with the decision to either complete my existing career track or support the man I loved. I chose my soldier and found my professional self back at square one. Castrating cattle and vaccinating sheep didn’t translate well into my new military life. Transitioning into the world of business wasn’t easy — in fact, it was years before I felt I was no longer “behind the curve.”

Much like changing communities, it sometimes can take a while to feel comfortable after changing industries. Recognize that every transition will require some adjustment time and the key to success is adaptability. Give yourself time to learn a new industry — successful transitions don’t happen overnight. However, cultivating professional goals that work with your spouse’s military service can mean big benefits in the long run.

-Hannah Becker

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3 Ways You Are Going to Make 2016 a Great Year for Your Career

Feb 01 2016

Published by under Career

By Michelle Aikman 

This year is going to be different. Not because it is 2016 but because you are going to take the opportunity to make 2016 great!

Go after that dream job. Request an early performance evaluation. Submit justification for a raise. Establish a relationship with a mentor. Pick yourself up and hold your head high when a risk doesn’t pan out. Simply feel more positive about your career path and the opportunities that lie ahead.

This is the year you are going to regain control of your professional life.  Here is how you are going to do it:

1) STOP letting fear get in your way … START putting yourself out there.

In the past five years, how many times have you not done something because you were scared you would fail or scared of what someone else might think?

Stop letting fear control you. Don’t let another year pass by without taking a few risks to advance yourself professionally.

Take 30 Seconds: Write down three professional situations you are no longer going to allow your fears to control.

2) STOP allowing others to miscalculate your value … START compiling reasons why you deserve more.

We live in a world that can be very harsh at times. If others are deflating your psyche then it is up to you to find inner strength and confidence so you can deflect their negativity and convince them of your worth when necessary.

Take an interview situation, for example. If your interviewer doesn’t immediately recognize the value of your past experience, instead of accepting the interviewer’s assessment, present your accomplishments and communicate how the experience equips you to perform in the new role.

Take 30 Seconds: Write down three times when someone undervalued you followed by an action that you are going to take to prevent that from happening again.

3) STOP focusing on what could have been … START focusing on what is possible.

Perhaps your life isn’t going as planned. A twist or turn here or there starts changing the course of your life. This doesn’t change your ability to achieve the amazing; it simply means you may end up achieving something much different than you had originally planned.

Instead of looking backward at things that might have been, reposition your eyes forwards so you can see opportunities that have presented themselves because of what you have done and where you are at this moment in life. You may be very surprised at your new possibilities when you redirect your focus.

Take 30 Seconds: Write down three professional opportunities you have available to you that were not part of your plans five years ago.

We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control the way we respond. Make your 2016 a great year!

MOAA provides its Premium and Life members and their spouses with a wealth of military-focused information, services, and resources for career transition. Whether you are transitioning to a civilian career from the military or moving from one career field to another, MOAA is there to help.

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