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:
Networking: Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

 Chances are, you have been an informal networker in hopes of landing a job before, during or very soon after a PCS move. Your inner circle was willing and able to communicate your skills, desires and needs to anyone who might be able put in a good word for you. Family, friends and neighbors have been relentless cheerleaders for you.

Yet, nothing has panned out.

What's the deal?

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and get serious about making networking work for you. The next time you are at a family readiness group meeting, volunteer event or fundraiser, connect with the military spouses who have been there, done that and gotten the paycheck.

Don’t keep gravitating toward spouses who have been married to the military for only as long as you have. Instead, expand your circle of friends to include those who have been around longer.

People who have been in the military for a long time often end up stationed in the same place more than once. Therefore, these seasoned spouses might know the area and local employers, as well as have local contacts with whom they have kept in touch.

“Don’t be shy, get in there and meet everyone,” said Crystal Cavalier, 2011 Military Spouse of the Year for the Army. “You never know when your paths will cross again.”

She said the more often you meet, the better.

“Not only will you get help this time around, but seasoned military spouses will help you even more when your paths cross the second time because of that connection you made early on,” she said.  

No matter how long it has been since you first said “I do” to your spouse, and in turn  the military, you never forget what it was like to try to jump-start a career or find a job, especially when you had little or no real work experience. Seasoned spouses can help you strategize on becoming more marketable in your profession.

“I remember once when I introduced myself to a commander’s wife, she introduced me to a lot of ways to earn great work experience as a volunteer on post,” said Cavalier, who has won numerous volunteer accolades. “We had the same degree, and she was established in her career, so I also picked her brain for how to get involved in professional organizations outside the Army.”

Networking also can help you learn the ins and outs of the local community and what your worth is in the local economy, especially after a cross-country PCS move.

Senior spouses can tell you the cost-of-living differences from state-to-state, help you set realistic goals for earnings and get paid what you are worth.

They might even have you rubbing elbows with local movers and shakers who have permanent roots in the community.

“I met a whole lot of senior-level civilians — like the mayor’s wife and business owners — because of my networking with senior military spouses,” Cavalier said. She recently completed a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in emergency management.

The right connections can ultimately help you land a job, get the paycheck and learn the ins and outs of managing your career.

Later in your own career, don’t forget to help younger spouses do the same.

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

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