Time to Self-Identify as a Military Spouse in your Resume

The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses
trainings in Ft. Rucker, AL and San Diego, CA
by Bobbi Rossiter,
USMC Military Spouse, Speaker and Military Spouse Coach

#milspouse June 5, 2019

In May, I gave three Military Spouse trainings on bases to deliver an important message: Now is the time for Military Spouses to self-identify as such, and TIME TO UPDATE YOUR RESUME – BOTH FEDERAL AND PRIVATE SECTOR !!

In the past, Military Spouses were afraid to disclose their status as a partner of service personnel. They feared it would lead to employers rejecting their resumes due to their frequent moves and inconsistent work history. But times have changed!

A little background. Back in 2008, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13473 which requires federal agencies to do more to employ Military Spouses. Just since 2017, the number of jobs specifically targeting Military Spouses has increased 70% on USAJOBS. On the private sector side, there has also been a push to hire more Military Spouses, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring 100K Military Spouse initiative.

However, if you don’t identify as a Military Spouse on your resumes, how is an employer supposed to know this is your background?

All the attendees at the trainings received federal employment expert Kathryn Troutman’s new book, The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses for Federal Careers, 2nd Edition, updated and just released in May. I was a contributing author on the book and my resume was included since I am an eleven-year Military Spouse. At the workshops, I talked about the excellent Military Spouse resume samples in the book, which show the three ways to self-identify as a Military Spouse on your resume (more on that later). There are six federal resumes and two private industry resumes in the guidebook.

My first stop was on May 16th at Fort Rucker, Alabama where the training was held in the Army Community Services’ Soldier Service Center building. The event was organized by Mike Kozlowski, a Ten Steps to a Federal Job Trainer as well as the base’s Employment Readiness Program Manager. Fifteen Military Spouses participated, including those shown in the photo below. My session, The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses, was in the afternoon, and it was a great follow-up to Mike’s Ten Steps to a Federal Job® Workshop in the morning.

Bobbi Rossiter and Mike Kozlowski, a Ten Steps to a Federal Job® Trainer as well as Fort Rucker’s Employment Readiness Program Manager,
with Military Spouse attendees at the base’s training.

I had two trainings in San Diego, so I promoted the events through a podcast interview with Adrianne Huls, of the San Diego Military Family Collaborative. I talked about how developing your professional career when you’re a Military Spouse is a little like playing the game, Tetris®. The military is going to hand you different experiences and obstacles. How are you going to rotate those to get a foundation that will get you to your ultimate goal? You can listen to my interview on the San Diego Military Family Collaborative’s Facebook page.

At the US Coast Guard Station San Diego on May 20th, I did intimate one-on-one trainings with two Military Wives. This was organized by Jennifer Conole, the Transition and Relocation Manager, USCG Base LA/Long Beach.

The final training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego was an all-day affair organized by Connie Vasquez, a Family Member Employment Assistance Specialist. Thirty-four participants gathered at the Bayview Restaurant, a gorgeous site on base. The Military Spouse Career Symposium started with networking with employment support staff from the region. Then the Symposium had numerous speakers, including Connie and myself in the morning. Due to this being a recruitment base, most of the Military Spouses were just out of school and starting careers. I thought it was wonderful for them to have all this information right at the start.

Laura Torres (Careers Manager, Blue Star Families), Mina Threat (Transition and Career Resource Manager, MCRD), Bobbi Rossiter, Jen Conole (Transition & Relocation Manager, USCG Base LA/Long Beach), Connie Vasquez (Family Member Employment Assistance Specialist, MCCS San Diego-Marine & Family Programs/WRR)

The Employer Panel in the afternoon was very affirming. Connie had brought in both federal and private sector employers, including the Social Security Administration, Hertz, and 24 Hour Fitness. The employers verified the importance of the Military Spouses identifying themselves. Otherwise they said they could interpret the disjointed work history typical of this group as a red flag.

To me, this affirmation was worth the whole trip! This is what we have been hearing, but to hear the whole panel say they are looking for Military Spouses but need to know who you are was wonderful. Military Spouses, you really need to make yourselves visible.

Employers’ Panel at the MCRD’s Military Spouse Career Symposium in San Diego.
Yes, employers want to hire Military Spouses,
so let them know that’s you through your resume.

All the trainings, based on the new book, offered three ways to self-identify as a Military Spouse:

1. By adding an Eligibility Statement or Your Military Spouse Status right at the top, under your name and address. On federal resumes, for instance, right away this points out that you are eligible to be hired on a non-competitive basis as a Military Spouse under Executive Order 13473. We consider this way to be mandatory for all Military Spouse resumes. (For federal resume example, see p. 47 in the book, Nicole Black, the entrepreneurial Military Spouse. For where to place this on a private industry resume, see p. 54, Nicole Black’s traditional two-page resume.)
After that, you can add one of the following two ways to reinforce the message.

2. By adding a Summary of Your PCS Order History. This helps to put your entire resume in context. Your PCS orders are why you have changed jobs frequently or may have periods of no employment. (Also on p. 47 in the book.)

3. By adding Professional Skills Gained Outside Employment While a Military Spouse as Your First Job Block. Ann, the Military Wife using this approach in her federal resume, hadn’t had an official employer for 22 years. Yet she was able to use skills from various volunteer positions, including her functions maintaining a military household, to land a job as a Protocol Officer. (For federal resume example, see p. 80 in the book, Ann Jones, the long-time unemployed Military Spouse. For a private industry resume example, see my two-page traditional resume on p. 65).

Another point I emphasized at all the trainings: there are people at most military bases who we have trained in the Ten Steps to a Federal Job method. They can help you identify yourself as a Military Spouse on your resume so employers will know this about you. That includes in the States as well as overseas. Click here to find a trainer in your area. During my trainings in May, I kept referring the Military Spouses to their local trainers so they would know who they are and could go get additional assistance later.

As the sessions wrapped up, I could see I had added a spark to the participants by letting them know that employers are looking specifically for Military Spouses. They were telling me, I have to update my resume so my background is there! They were also encouraged about the federal job search, knowing that the Ten Step trainers are available right on the base to support them. They can help you with your private industry search too.

It’s an exciting moment to be a Military Spouse.
The stars are lined up for you … your time is now!

INTERESTED IN A STARS ARE LINED UP FOR MILITARY SPOUSES PRESENTATION at your base? You can contact the Resume Place for a proposal for presentations here.

The Stars are Lined Up for Military Spouses – Available as Print Book or PDF with Immediate Download. Also order from Amazon.com – Kindle or print book!

The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses, 2nd Edition is a completely revised update released on May 1, 2019. It is available for order at www.fedjobtraining.com/books as well as Amazon.com for the Kindle version. Individual print sales price is $14.95 + $7.00 shipping. There are multiple order discounts available on the site too. The book is 124 pp., has an attractive, upbeat two-color design, with 25+ color charts. ISBN-13: 978-1-7337779-0-2.

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