Sunday, September 23, 2012

Military Monday - 10 Tips to Finding Work

One of the difficulties of being a military spouse is finding a job due to the constant moving.  Although it is difficult, and living OCONUS can make things even more arduous, it is not impossible.  Here are a few tips for ensuring you find a job at the duty station you reside.

1. Further your education
       By far, the best thing you can do to increase your chances of getting a job is to obtain a degree, certification, or complete training.  In most cases, your education is at the top of your resume and therefore is the first thing that employers look at.  If you do not have a strong educational background and do not have the means to further your education, do not fear, there are other ways to get hired.

2. Volunteer/Build Experience
      There is a vicious circle, if you do not have an education, you cannot get a job, if you don't have a job you can't gain experience or obtain the funds to get an education.  Therefore, the next step is to volunteer.  If you are looking for a job in sales, seek out the local thrift shop and ask if they need any volunteers.  If you are looking for a career in education, ask the local schools if they need any volunteer aids for the classroom.  The point is to gain experience that you can list on your resume.  It does not pay but in the end if it gets you the job it will be worth it.  All it takes is a few hours a week!

3. Network
      Have you ever heard "It's not what you know, it's who you know"?  In many cases this is right, when you have inside connections, making steps in the right direction in regards to the work force becomes easier.  This is when volunteering becomes even more essential.  The more time that you spend in an elementary classroom volunteering, the more you get to know the staff and the more likely they will recommend you for a permanent position.

4. Find your strengths
       In order to figure out which job would be a good fit, take a good look at yourself and see which job community would be best for you.  Are you a people person?  Prefer computer work? Enjoy kids?  Hone in on your strengths and it will direct you to the field you should be looking in.

5. Check frequently
       One question that I see a lot on forums is "Where can I go to find jobs?".  If you are looking for GS position (Government Salary) then should be your first stop.  Check it frequently as jobs crop up fairly quickly and if you are located in an area that has low employment rates for spouses, the position may be filled quickly.

6. Attend job fairs
      Job fairs are great places to meet possible future employers and great places to get you name out there.  Even if you do not receive a job from any of the employers, you can receive some great feedback on what you may need to improve in order to snag a job next time.  If an employer doesn't seem to be interested in your resume, ask them what turned them off from hiring you.  They will not mind giving honest feedback to those who ask.

7. Be Flexible
      When just starting out, you may not have a ton of options in the job market.  You may have to temporarily settle on a job until a better one comes along.  Don't get discouraged and think that you will be "stuck" in an entry level job forever.  Continue growing as an individul and honing your skills and you will be able to upgrade before you know it.

8. Think outside the box
     Sometimes, it just isn't meant to be when it comes to being hired.  If you find that after several months, you still aren't getting the results you want, start thinking differently.  Are there any skills you possess that can bring in money at least temporarily?? 

9.  Practice interviewing skills
You would be surprised how much practicing the answering portion of interview questions will improve your chances of obtaining a job.  Any google search of common interview questions will turn up a plethora of results that will get you on your way.  The best way to prepare is to come up with well-educated and well-sculpted answers for every question you come across.  You won’t be asked every question and you may be asked questions that aren’t listed but the more time you spending preparing, the better your interview will go.  

10. Freshen up your resume
Along with your interviewing skills it is a smart idea to improve upon your resume and bring it up to date.  Preferred formatting changes over the years so it’s smart to update at least annually. 

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