Archive for the 'Career' Category

A #MilSpouse Recap on the 9th MOAA Spouse Symposium

Apr 04 2014

Guest Author: Hisako Sonethavilay, A Marine Corps Spouse and a 2013-2014 MOAA Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council Member.

On Wednesday, March 26th, I attended MOAA’s 9th Military Spouse Symposium in their “Keeping a Career on the Move” series hosted at the Hilton in Old Town Alexandria. I was one of the 175 fellow military spouses who attended the event, eager to learn new knowledge, professional tools/skills, and network with others.

There were two breakout sessions that I attended which I found to be very rewarding: the “Resume Writing and LinkedIn Strategies for Military Spouses” session with Jim Carman, MOAA Director of Transition Services, and the “Military Spouse Life Coaching Seminar” session with Dr. Michelle Still Mehta, PhD Military Spouse Life Coach and military spouse of 14 years.

“Resume Writing and LinkedIn Strategies for Military Spouses”
I wasn’t surprised that this session was quite a popular selection among the registrants especially with the majority of the registrants looking for a job or working at a job outside of their career choice. I was surprised however to realize how much additional knowledge I gained from attending the session even though I had attended numerous resume-writing workshops in the past. It goes to show that “resume writing is an ongoing exercise” as Mr. Carman emphasized during the workshop.


Key take-away:

  •  It is important to have as many eyes reviewing your resume as we try to perfect it.
  • It can be a frustrating process to know that we spend hours perfecting our resume for someone in HR to skim through our resumes in a few seconds.
  • If you are attending a career fair, printing back to back is acceptable, as recruiters want to minimize the amount of paper they carry back with them.
  • While developing our resumes, ask ourselves these three essential questions:
  1. What was your specific contribution to the division, group, or department?
  2. What would not have happened if you had not been there?
  3. What is your proudest boast?
  • Recruiters like to see that candidates were involved in college varsity athletics, Greek life, and other similar team activities so include this in your resume.
  • During the end of an interview, incorporate a powerful closing statement such as asking for the job in a positive and enthusiastic manner.
  • Military spouses are often victim to testifying against ourselves so try your best to avoid this during an interview.
  • Continue to build your professional network using tools such as LinkedIn, which has become the largest and most popular professional and business network.

“Military Spouse Life Coaching Seminar”
I was also not surprised to see how popular this session was. As a military spouse, mother to a young toddler, and professional, I am familiar with the confusion and frustration others in my position face as we try to juggle our numerous roles, responsibilities, and aspirations. It was comforting to hear the various stories Dr. Mehta shared from her research supporting the concept that it is a challenge but it is not a challenge we can’t overcome. Dr. Mehta emphasized the importance of the understanding the impact the three M’s have in our life and career pursuit in addition to working on our job skills.

Dr. Mehta blog

Key questions to ask yourself as you pursuit a career:

  •  Marriage: “How does your marriage factor into your career success? Do you and your spouse have the same expectations about how your lives will run and where your career fits into that?
  • Motherhood: “What kind of parent do you want to be and how does that fit with your career expectations?”
  • Military Life: “How often will you move? Do you know where those locations are likely to be? How long does your spouse want to stay in? How often will you experience a deployment? How demanding is your spouses schedule? and how available will your spouse be as a partner and parent?”

As we find a career that is a good fit with the three M’s, we are then able to experience a preservation of our whole self. Otherwise, if our career is a poor fit with the three M’s, we may experience the opposite effect of depression, defeat, and loss of self.

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What Goes On at MOAA? Here’s a Peek at Our Week!

Apr 02 2014

Ever wonder what we do each day at MOAA? Here’s a peek from last week:


Admiral Ryan speaks at the American Legion Auxiliary Conference


Not all of our work is done on Capitol Hill. Did you know that MOAA, along with several Veteran Service Organizations, are working together to provide support to several veteran and military family causes?

Last Monday, Admiral Ryan was honored to speak at the American Legion Auxiliary’s (ALA) 2014 Washington DC Conference to outline MOAA’s commitment to the Community Blue Print. The Community Blueprint, an initiative of Points of Light Foundation, encourages a comprehensive, local support system that addresses the diverse issues and needs of veterans, returning service members and their families.


Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds meet with Admiral Ryan and the MOAA team to discuss the Home Base Iowa Initiative.


Home Base Iowa’s mission is to make Iowa the state of choice for military men and women as they begin their journey to civilian careers. Be sure and visit their website to learn more about this exciting initiative.

With over 400 Chapters nationwide, it is imperative that we keep a pulse on state level initiatives.


As you can see, the Governor and Lt. Governor were very interested in our Military Spouse Employment Report Info-graphic and the MOAA Annual State Report Card.


Spouse Programs hosts its 9th Military Spouse Symposium

MOAA Military Spouse Symposium blog

One Wednesday, MOAA hosted the second of three scheduled Military Spouse Symposiums in Alexandria, VA. Over 175 military spouses joined us for this day-long program that focused on personal and professional development. It was exciting to finally bring this award winning program to our Nation’s Capitol.

MOAA Testifies on Capitol Hill


MOAA is committed to fighting for the quality of life benefits that all military families earn and deserve. On Wednesday, we took that fight to Capitol Hill when Mike Hayden, Director of Government Relations, testified before the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee concerning the proposed DoD FY2015 budget.


MOAA Briefs Results of the Military Spouse Employment Report on Capitol Hill

caucus blog

Good policies, programs and legislation start with solid, reliable information. On Thursday, the MOAA Spouse Team was invited to present the results of the Military Spouse Employment Report to the staffers from the Congressional Military Family Caucus. Joining the discussion was James Schmeling (Managing Director of Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families) and Dr. Michelle Mehta (Military Spouse and Life Coach). We look forward to working with members of the Congressional Military Family Caucus as we seek ways address the challenges of military spouse employment.


What an exciting week it has been! It’s a day in the office and it is time to regroup and plan for the week(s) ahead.

As always, we encourage you to engage and follow the MOAA Spouse team through our Facebook Page or @MOAA_MilLife!

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