It is well-known among military families that military spouse careers are often put on hold while our service members are active duty. This resume gap as a military spouse is something that adds additional stress to our family and affects our career progression when we do return to the workforce. But filling in that resume gap isn’t just good for the military spouse- its also good for the military.
PCSing, changes in orders, new duty stations, new schools, deployments, reintegration, and repeated family separation are just a few of the stressors that affect military families on a daily basis.
Why Filling the Resume Gap for Military Spouses is Good for the Military
One of the top stressors of military life, however, is military spouse careers. Military spouses of every rank from every branch find themselves putting their careers on hold because of our service member’s careers. Military spouse careers has been a topic of discussion for almost a decade, with initiatives set forth by government officials such as former First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Karen Pence. However, military spouses still struggle to find jobs and careers that can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of military life. With constant moves to different states that require different licenses and starting a new job at an entry-level position every few years, as well as the rising cost of childcare and the desire to ensure that our children have a sense of stability with a parent at home forces military spouses to put their careers on hold for five to ten years, or more.
Research has shown that job searching is one of the largest contributors family stressors- and that’s just for the general population. When you add in all the additional hurdles military families experience- long wait lists at the Child Development Centers, increase in child care rates, re-licensure fees, and lack of opportunities for portable, remote careers- you have a boiling pot of frustrated military spouses trying to figure out how they will fill the resume gap while their service member is active duty.
Then this figurative boiling pot spills over to life at home. “Happy wife, happy life” may be a cliche, but research states that families who have two working parents are happier. And for military families, the added stress of military spouses not being able to find work, having almost impossible hurdles to cross every single time they move, or the stress of financial instability weighs down on the family and the service member.
There is no doubt that the stressors that military life places on families plays a huge part on the retention of good soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors, and Coastguardsmen. When family life is stressed, high-quality service members might start to question whether their service is “worth it” when their family continues to feel the strain of a high-paced, unstable, and unpredictable military life.
One way the military can continue to retain good service members is to continue to promote programs and initiatives to help military spouses continue their careers. The recent licensure fee reimbursement program helps those spouses who work outside the home and wish to continue a career in their field when they PCS. Other organizations like the Military Spouse J.D. Network have been piloting policy changes in different states for fees and testing for military spouse lawyers.
However, there are thousands of military spouses have made the conscious decision to not work a traditional job because of lack of childcare options, the rising cost of childcare, or the inability to find work at their skill level. That leaves many spouses grasping for opportunities that fit the military lifestyle: opportunities that are portable, remote, and help give them some sense of contribution to their family.
4 Ways to Fill in Your Resume Gap as a Military Spouse
Volunteering is a great way to fill in your resume gap. Volunteer opportunities are plentiful as a military spouse, and they can help keep up with your professional development skills, help you to network with those in your field, and help boost your resume with professional opportunities.
Here are a list of volunteer opportunities that can help fill the resume gap and tips on how it can help your career.
Start Your Own Business
If you job skills allow it, you can start your own business in your career field or in a field outside your traditional field. There are military spouses all over the world who have started brick-and-mortar cafes, retail shops, coffee shops, and virtual businesses to give them a career that works for their military life. There are several Facebook groups that can help you with any questions you might have including creating your own website, business law and tax information, and marketing and advertising.
- Military Spouses Entrepreneurship and Small Business Support
- MilSpouse Creative + Entrepreneurs with Moni Jefferson
- MilSpouse Creatives + Entrepreneurs
Working in a remote and portable field is often the most desired option for military spouses as it allows them to work from home and gives the opportunity to take their job with them when they PCS. These types of careers are often hard to find, but companies like Eastern Account Systems provides remote work in the field of call center marketing and advertising. They have recently started a growth plan for military spouses in the political strategy and marketing sector where agents will state a pre-scripted message for surveys and information regarding the upcoming political elections. Pay starts at $12/hour and requires just one hour of training and very little equipment. Calls can be made from their home at times that work for them.
Jobs like these offer competitive pay, training, and the opportunity to work from home in a part-time capacity. These call-center positions can be taken with you when you PCS, need very little equipment, and offer flexibility in the hours worked each week.
Take Classes in Your Field
One way to show that you have continued in your field during a resume gap is to take classes in your field. Community colleges often offer discounted rates for military families and there are several online programs that you can do from home. Some community colleges and local universities allow you to audit classes as well, which allows you to take a class without credit for little to no fee. This is a great way to continue your education and learning in your field without the financial strain.
Military spouses have been struggling to find careers and job opportunities that work with the unique military lifestyle. But military spouse careers are something that can help the military- career opportunities that help fill the resume gap while they are staying at home with their family, offer financial stability, and are remote and portable. Things like volunteering and remote job opportunities like the ones offered by Eastern Account Systems help to give military spouses the remote work and financial stability that will help promote a happy home life and retain good service members.
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