How the USO Helps Spouses Find Jobs Plus 5 Success Tips to get you there
The USO Mentorship Offering Program is helping military spouses find rewarding and fulfilling careers. As our service members give their time, energy, passion, and even risk their lives for their country, their spouses are often left behind when it comes to employment. If you are a spouse of a soldier, there are huge barriers that you face when it comes to career development. That’s why I’m so excited to share the work that the USO is doing to help offset this huge problem!
Military spouses face a 25% unemployment rate – a staggering percentage. In February 2021, 60% of military spouses shared that they’re continuing to look for new part or full time jobs in order to keep their family afloat financially. Military life is incredibly demanding, and when your spouse is deployed, it makes matters even more difficult.
Families are often housed on base, which can limit easy access to jobs. Childcare is essential, especially when a partner is deployed, and childcare costs can be prohibitive. Frequent moves are also a barrier, as it’s difficult to maintain a career trajectory.
I know this from experience. My blog is a way for me to express the highs and lows of military family life, and I’ve shared the challenges many times before. In particular, deployment was difficult for our family. We’ve learned how to increase our communication and strengthen our marriage through my husband’s deployment, and I’ve grown tremendously as a person since I’ve needed to be strong and independent when he’s away. Besides all of these tough elements, getting a job and staying employed (in a meaningful way) has been one of the hardest aspects of being married to a sailor. It’s one of the main reasons why this blog was born!
My story began when I married a sailor, and three weeks after we were married, he was deployed. I was thrown into a completely new life and needed to learn how to navigate the separation, the stress, and the solo childcare. Needless to say, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced! I found it necessary to quit my full time job to be a caregiver for our kids and keep things together at home.
After I left, it was incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce, even when my husband returned. Employers are typically not flexible when it comes to workers coming and going. And I’m not the only one who has had this experience. Dissatisfaction with employment is one of the top challenges for military spouses. That’s why the USO and their mission is so critical!
Who is the USO?
The USO stands for United Service Organizations, and it’s an entity that exists to support service members, their spouses, and their families. They are an incredible force for good, and they make sure that the needs of military families are met. They understand that soldiers can only be as strong as the families they leave behind, so they stand in the gap.
These are the people who recognize the humanity behind the uniforms, and ensure that these heroic men and women are seen and valued in all aspects. Their services cover a huge range, and USO centers are scattered all over the world.
What is Veterati?
Veterati is a mentorship program specifically for service members. It’s an innovative platform that pairs military or military spouses with professionals that can provide coaching, guidance, and networking for career advancement. The calls can be on demand, and mentors are paired specifically with mentees according to their unique needs and goals. Each mentee can actually self-select based on their criteria, so that a perfect match is guaranteed.
What is the USO Mentorship Offering and how does it help?
The USO and Veterati have teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind opportunity for milspouses! The USO has provided FREE mentorship through Veterati’s program just for military spouses. If this is you, you’ll have the ability to choose your mentor, then book a call right away. You’ll have access to your mentor to get guidance, advice, and encouragement on your next career move.
Mentors will be volunteering their time, and they are passionate about assisting you in this stage of you and your spouse’s life. This opportunity is open to military spouses currently serving, new military spouses, and military spouses in the process of transitioning out of military life.
5 Tips on Finding a Job as a Milspouse
The USO Mentorship Offering is an awesome first step, but there are other great moves to make in the meantime. These are good places to start when you’re looking for work, or interested in advancing your career. Make sure to take the time to discover any tools at your disposal during your job search!
- Use LinkedIn! Make sure you have a professional picture and that your profile is up to date. Make connections with people in your industry, and accept connections when people request.
- Update your resume. Make sure that your resume is excellent. Get help or advice from an outside source if necessary. This is your first impression to employers, so it’s critical that even unpaid work be presented to show off your best assets.
- Be open to temporary work as well as ongoing. Though it’s not ideal, it may sometimes be necessary to work on a contract or temporary basis in order to establish connections in a new city or with a new company.
- Enroll in training or education courses where applicable. Anytime you can showcase specific certifications, do it! This helps increase your value and shows employers that you know your stuff.
- Research any programs, tools, or opportunities (like the USO Mentorship Offering) that can help you get an edge in the progress. There are government and non-profit programs that can get you increased visibility, and in turn, help you get employed.
Though the experience can be incredibly challenging, I know that milspouses are TOUGH! You can do this! If this situation applies to you, know that you’re not alone, and take advantage of the tools available to help.