Military spouse’s guide to navigating your career
Military spouses are known for being flexible and independent, traits that companies offering military spouse jobs value. Amanda Gregory, a military spouse herself, shares thoughts on her own career journey.
Being partnered to a member of the military comes with unique demands. Multiple relocations, having to adapt to new places and living independently from your spouse are all common scenarios you may face. As a military spouse, one of the biggest challenges you might encounter is finding military spouse jobs that help you build your own career path. While it may seem like a far-away dream, having a fulfilling career is possible as a military spouse.
Explore portable military spouse jobs and careers
Portable skills are highly valued by employers, as it means you arrive at the job already understanding the principles. Some examples of portable careers for military spouses are jobs in nursing, construction, education, banking, childcare, pharmaceuticals, information technology and more. Portable skills are universally needed, meaning if you have them, you are a desirable asset to prospective employers.
Amanda Gregory, U.S. Bank Digital Lead and wife of a Navy Chief, was able to leverage her skills as a banker into her future career. “I started out as a part-time teller at 18,” said Gregory. “I wanted to be able to take my skills with me. It’s easy to find banking work and there’s room for growth.”
Benefits of embracing job-hopping
Historically, moving from job to job quickly was frowned upon, as it was thought to demonstrate a lack of commitment. Now, taking your skills from one company to another, also known as job-hopping, is not only commonplace but it can also be strategically used to move up in your career. Studies have shown that job-hopping, when done with respect to the employers involved, can increase your wage growth by 5.3% versus the 4% average increase you receive when you stay at a company.
"I’ve been very fortunate that every time I’ve moved, I’ve been able to take a step up in my career."
Gregory shared her use of this strategy in her own career journey. “As we’ve changed stations and moved to different cities, I found this out: if I worked to develop my skills in my current role, then the next time we moved, I could move up [in my career].” She also shared ways that she strengthened her career journey while in a role. “I worked to connect with new people, take on extra tasks, find a mentor, connect with other people and build a community. I’ve been very fortunate that every time I’ve moved, I’ve been able to take a step up in my career.
Choose a field that’s flexible
Finding a military spouse job or career that you can travel with is much easier now than it used to be. Thanks to telecommuting, remote roles have become industry standard, especially in technology-based fields. Online jobs for military spouses can include being a graphic or web designer, virtual assistant, recruiter, copy writer, data analyst and more. However, with so many recent advancements in telecommunication capabilities, the possible opportunities are broader than ever before.
For military spouses who are also parents, you’ll need flexibility around your schedule as well. During deployments, the military spouse becomes the sole parent, and that added responsibility may mean needing to work less or abnormal hours.
Explore employers that support your military family
When planning for your future career goals, such as potential employers, do research on the values of those companies. Most businesses include their value messaging in the “About” section of their official website. You can also learn a lot about a company during the interview process by asking questions about policies and work culture. It’s better to be transparent with potential employers about your life’s trajectory as a military spouse, and you’ll be a better fit with companies that not only understand those differences but that value them.
"So long as my company supports military, I know I’m in good hands… I’m so proud that they recognize and celebrate our active duty."
In Gregory’s own career, finding a company that understood her military family meant getting the support they needed. “Those companies are going to understand your unique challenges… I’ve been supported beyond measure during some really difficult times. So long as my company supports military, I know I’m in good hands… I’m so proud that they recognize and celebrate our active duty.”
Embrace the ebbs and flows of military spouse job life
When asked if she has made any career changes to accommodate her role as military spouse, Gregory had this to say: “There are points in your career where you’ll have to pause… I’ve missed opportunities because my kids were young, and my husband was away.” She went on to say that even though she had to put her career on pause when her children were young, she understood that it was necessary. “I’ve held myself back, but it’s been a balance. Now I have so much freedom. My kids are grown, and I’ve been supported by my husband to give more to my career. I’ve been able to grow and advance because of that.”
Military spouses are strong, resilient and flexible—a lot of employers will look at you and your situation and see value. Don’t stand in your own success’ way by limiting your opportunities. Explore military spouse jobs and careers with employers that support who you are, and with the right fit, you’ll be on your way to a successful career.
Explore career opportunities at U.S. Bank, proud supporters of military members and their families.