The life of a military spouse is often one of adventure and exploration. Frequent relocation takes the family on the road to unknown and exciting new destinations. It’s a lifestyle that’s certain to give anyone a multi-faceted world view.
But on the other side, this has turned job searching into a challenging task. Potential employers do not always share the same, rosy perspective on frequent relocation and haphazard stability. They often want stability and security for potential employees— something that’s not always evident on a military spouse’s resume.
How do you get past this barrier? Consider the following tips to help you (or you closest military spouse friend or family member) through your next interview.
Make the employers an offer they absolutely cannot refuse: you!
Let quality speak for itself by putting your best foot forward. Any concerns they may have regarding your status as military spouse won’t matter if they leave the interview bowled over by your impression.
Follow the basics of interview protocol. Dress to impress. Arrive on time. Research the company in advance; the more knowledgeable you come off, the better. Have questions ready for them (that show off your knowledge). Be cordial and professional. If appropriate, crack a joke!
Navigate the Tricky Questions
Now that you’ve nailed the first impression and have the set the perfect tone for your interview, your next task is to handle the incoming questions with aplomb.
This is where it gets especially tricky for military spouses, as some of these questions better befit those of a more stationary lifestyle. Here are some tips for common questions.
“What brings you to the area?”
Time to come clean. Some military spouses try to hide their status from prospective employers. Don’t do this. More often than not, the person interviewing you has looked over your resume and can tell that you’re a military spouse.
Impress with honesty and disclose your situation. It’s not a point of shame. It’s a point of pride! And many employers respect and even prefer to work with those affiliated with the military.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
This is the question that sends recipients into the fortune-telling frustration. In absence of a crystal ball, answer the question with less of a focus on location and more on personal progress.
Employers like people with upward mobility potential, so talk about a career position (that the company has) that you’d like to be in, and also what skills you’d like to have. Expressing interest in learning new languages adds to your cosmopolitan flair.
Concerns over gaps in employment and future relocation
If an employer bluntly inquires about you up and leaving mid-employment, restate your desire to work for the company and explain confidently, that you hope to be in the area for several years, if not longer.
“Hoping” isn’t a lie, and it reconfirms your commitment to the company.
In today’s lagging economy, gaps in employment are less of a concern for employers as many people, unfortunately, have them. Placate any concerns by showing off your industry knowledge. If they see you haven’t let your skills or knowledge lapse, they’ll be at ease.
Seal the Deal
After nailing the interview, consider sending a thank you note or email to your interviewer. Within a week (or whatever timeframe they gave you), send a follow-up email.
By doing this, your great impression will have gone full circle.