Why look for just another job, when you can embark upon a whole new career? Learn about the latest developments in careers for military spouses. With your mobile lifestyle, there are certain portable careers that can offer you and your family stability and future growth. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
LinkedIn and Military Spouses: Yep, It’s Worth the Effort!

If you’re like most military spouses, you’ve already got plenty of items on your “to-do” list and not nearly enough time to get them done. So why on earth should you bother taking the time to get a profile up on LinkedIn and start exploring what it can do for you?

Because it can really do a lot for you.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking resource like Facebook, Twitter, and other online “sharing” sites, but with a big difference: its only purpose is to help you grow your job opportunities and career. LinkedIn provides a platform for you to share your work and education history, your areas of expertise and interest, and other “key performance indicators,” as they say in business-speak, such as volunteer work or community projects.

Why is LinkedIn Especially Valuable for Military Spouses?

When it comes to building a career, one of the biggest challenges you face as a military spouse is building any sort of employment consistency. You tend to move around a lot, you’re probably handling most of the parenting duties on your own, and although you may make the most of any job opportunities when you can, it’s tough to build the sort of solid professional platform that translates into future job and career options.

But even if you don’t have a lot to point to yet, creating a basic LinkedIn profile will help you make the most of what you’ve got. Your profile is basically a beefed-up resume, but one that everyone (especially potential employers) can see online. If you’re looking for freelance or project work, your LinkedIn profile can let others know what skills you can provide. If you’re a student working on a college degree, your profile will demonstrate to others how committed you are to investing in your skills and future career. If you’re thinking about an independent path, LinkedIn can help connect you with others who’ve been there, done that, and have knowledge to share.

And Then There’s the Whole Professional Branding and Networking Thing…

As a military spouse you have an opportunity to build your reputation for smarts, work ethic, team and people skills, and professional maturity even if the work you’re doing right now isn’t your ultimate career goal. In fact, volunteer and/or paid base work can be one of the most effective ways to build a professional reputation or “brand.” LinkedIn provides an opportunity for you to have people recommend your contributions, and for you to describe those contributions in ways that will impress potential employers.

And networking? Careers are as much about who you know as what you know. When it comes to establishing a professional network, military spouses often have an unusual advantage. Military life may involve moving frequently, and every one of those moves lands you in a new community of individuals. Each one of those individuals (well, at least the ones you like) can become a potential LinkedIn connection for you, enabling you to consistently expand the reach of your professional network. Then, even if you move to different bases, you can still support each other professionally as you continue to build your career options.

Scratching the LinkedIn Surface

In addition to providing you with professional visibility for potential employers, helping you establish your professional brand, and providing the means to start ramping up your professional network, LinkedIn can also help you research potential employers, career paths and industries; can provide you with job-hunting skills; and connect you with other military spouses to share career ideas and opportunities. Although these are topics that we’ll explore in more depth in the coming months, now is a great time to start exploring LinkedIn to get a sense of how you might benefit from its many tools and resources.

To get started, go to, click on the “Join Today” tab at the top, and create an account with the log-in name and password you prefer. Then just kick back with your favorite beverage and start wandering through the site, paying special attention to these areas:

  • Can you find people you know who area already on LinkedIn? What do their profiles say? What groups do they belong to?
  • What terms do people use to describe the types of jobs you might be interested in? What education background do they have? What groups do they belong to? What employers do they work for?
  • What guidance does LinkedIn provide for students? For job-seekers? Check out the  “More” tab at the top of the page, then select the “Learning Center” and “Skills” sections to learn more.

Then futz around a bit (that’s technical speak for figure out what all the information you need to pull together is here!) with your profile to get a sense of what kinds of information and language you might want to put there. Next up: we’ll do a walk-through of how to create the best profile for your individual circumstances.

For Military Spouses
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