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:
Portable Careers for Military Spouses

There are all sorts of terrific things about being a military spouse and being part of such a diverse community of experiences and backgrounds. Not to mention the pride associated with supporting a critically important mission for this country.

However, as a military spouse you face major obstacles when trying to build a career that can be as portable as your life needs to be, can help with family finances, and can be there for you if and when your spouse transitions out of the military. The good news? You actually have a lot more options than you may be aware of, and we’re going to start exploring them here.

For starters, let’s look at the broad categories of portable careers you might want to consider.

Telecommuting or being a virtual employee.This involves working as a permanent employee for an organization that supports telecommuting or working from home via computer and online collaboration. With a good organization, this type of work can enable you to build a solid resume of skills and employment, plus supply a steady paycheck based on predictable hours. Although it’s sometimes difficult for virtual or off-site employees to advance much beyond their existing responsibilities, this may be a low priority for you at this time, so the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages.

To find jobs that are telecommuting-friendly, search the major online job sites (,,, etc.) or the niche job boards for your area of specialization and in addition to searching for the type of work you have in mind, also add terms such as “telecommute,” “virtual employment,” “work from home,” and similar terms. I would avoid jobs that are specifically tagged “jobs for mom” only because they’re likely to pay less and not help you build a professional career portfolio.

Contract or short-term project work.  Being a contractor is based on doing a specific type of work on a relatively short-term basis, often ranging from one to six months. Or, it can be even shorter, for example, being an on-call substitute teacher or visiting nurse, where your “project” might last a day or a week or month. In this case, you may be an employee of a contracting firm or agency (and they’ll probably be handling all the taxes for you), or you may have an “on-call” relationship with a number of organizations that contract directly with you to do the specified work.

The type of contract work you might do depends to a great degree on what your skills are (or the skills you want to develop for your career goals). But for a portable career, you’ll want to focus on the types of skills that are pretty much needed no matter where you live, such as technology support, health care support, teaching, etc. There are a couple of ways to find potential contracting firms in your area of specialization and/or your geographic location. First,  if there is any type of online professional community (for example, a professional association or LinkedIn group) related to your specialty, join and check out the other members – you’ll often find contracting companies in these organizations hunting for potential talent. Second, do an online search on terms like “contract companies,” “recruiting firms,” “project work,” etc. plus your area of specialization – this should provide a list of who the major contractors are in your field.

Going independent.  You may not have thought of yourself as a “solopreneur,” or an independent business of one, but this is becoming an increasingly popular option for more and more people because it can so easily be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and schedule. And the list of products and/or services you might offer is simply endless, based on your interests and expertise. Or, you may decide that you like the independent approach but would prefer to have the backing and expertise of a company like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or similar “personal selling” companies supporting your efforts. In that case, choose the product you like, and sign up as a sales representative.

Just as one of the major benefits of the independent choice, however, is flexibility, one of the major drawbacks can be the unpredictability of your income, which may or may not be an issue for your particular family circumstances. If the independent route sounds like it might be interesting to you, however, a great place to start learning more about it is Home-Based Business for Dummies by Paul Edwards, Sarah Edwards, and Peter Economy (For Dummies, 2010).

We’re going to be exploring each of these options in greater detail, along with the questions you’ll want to ask yourself to see which choice might be the best for you, recommended resources for learning more, and some ideas to get you started exploring. But in the meantime, please let us know if you have specific areas or questions you’d like to see covered!

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.

Weekly Poll

Do you have a LinkedIn profile?