I have been seeing and hearing from a lot of my military spouse pals about their pending moves. I started thinking and then researching professional opportunities when you are not really sure where you are going next.
This got me to take a step back and ponder the bigger picture of my professional goals and what type of place I want to work at. We all know the constant moving song and dance and how difficult that is on the professional opportunities for military spouses. The constant moving also makes it hard to really find the perfect workplace culture for you.
The difficulties military spouses face in the job search made me think about the things that are important to the job search.
The following really applies to everyone, not just military spouses.
I was doing my daily scan on LinkedIn on trends around the country and stumbled upon an article about soft skills.
The author was looking at technology companies and how important soft skills really are.
He writes, “In reality, soft skills are all the human skills we have in teamwork, leadership, collaboration, communication, creativity, and person to person service.” All skills that are learned.
The article went on to talk about the skills that are most in demand: Creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. Coupled with design, business acumen and digital skills, these are the skills employers are looking for.
As I think about the soft skills, military spouses seem to have these down. The others, known as hard skills, can be taught.
The second big area this article touched on was work flexibility. Well — this is a no-brainer for military spouses. Flexibility at work makes life easier for our military families, but it also can tether that employee to that company.
When you are able to have your work life and home life fit like a puzzle, it takes that constant stress out of the equation. By no mistake do I think this means life is easy. Flexibility allows military spouses to work while still taking care of their families and providing service to our military families.
When you can attend to your life and work life so you feel some sort of professional contribution, you are a happier person; maybe busier but happy.
A happier workforce makes for a healthier workforce. That just has a ripple effect.
This is not to say every military spouse has to work remotely, because I believe in the importance of face-to-face work relationships. There is a luxury that comes from working remotely or tele-working for military spouses, and the ability to maintain and grow within a company is good for the employee and the employer.
Wherever you land next, pay attention to the culture of an organization and remember the soft skills you posses that comes from this ever-changing and magnificent life. Military life teaches us some of the soft skills without us even knowing. Use what you have learned to your advantage. Sell yourself to your next professional adventure with the confidence of knowing you can get the job done using teamwork, adaptability and creativity, even if it is in a field you aren’t a subject matter expert.
Every move is an opportunity to grow in your professional life. Sometimes it is hard to see that when you are tired of the job search and just want to land that new gig and get to work.
I am a LinkedIn fan — use the tools they have from research studies to job search functionality and grow yourself professionally and personally.
Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.