Military Spouse Career = Lots of Changes. Changes in location, jobs, titles, etc. Getting your resume to the top of the pile can be hard, especially when you have to somehow convey all these “life changes” on 1-2 pages. With these personal tips, you could be well on your way to getting called for that interview.

1. Phone.

I know it seems trivial, but it is important. No ringback tones. What are you, 16? Make sure it’s a phone number where your kids or someone random can’t pick it up. The first impression the hiring manager has can’t be asking your little munchkin where mommy is.

2. Email.

Speaking of first impressions, please have a professional email address. Something non-descript of behavior, age, lifestyle, or location ([email protected], yeah that’s to you) Be sure to check this email regularly to avoid missing callbacks in the spam or junk folder.

3. Functional or Chronological or both?

If you have worked consistently with only a few gaps between, then chronological. If there are major gaps due to overseas assignments, deployments, raising children, edja-ma-cation getting, then do a functional or combination resume. Highlight what you can do, with your major accomplishments.

4. Include volunteer positions.

Indicate what skills and accomplishments you had. I highly recommend signing up for volunteer positions as soon as you get to a new duty station. Keep the job search going, but at least there are less gaps in your resume.


For The Love Of God. Don’t Use Military Acronyms. You Weirdo. Spell it out: MWR, FRG, PCS, etc. Give a brief civilian translation if you have the space. If it’s not an acronym but weird military word (ombudsman, much?), definitely include a brief translation.

6. List numbers.

“Ombudsman for 200 Soldiers and Families”, Coordinated public affairs  for 300 members of base spouses group. Raised $4,000 for command military ball“

7. Proofread.

Spouse. Family. Friends. Military Career Counselor, get as many eyes on this as possible. Spelling and grammar is one part of it but does it read nicely? Read it OUT LOUD. Have someone else read it to you. How do you come off?


Additional items to apply to everyone’s resume (not just military spouses):

-I work in marketing/public relations/digital media so there’s a little more flexibility with design elements in my resume. So if you work in a similar field, try to add some creativity: add social media icons, add a head-shot, include a link to a digital resume/linkedin profile.

-If you google’d “resume templates”, don’t ever use the top 15 images that come up. Most likely, everyone else has seen and are using the same template, and your resume will look exactly like theirs.

-Bullet points are much easier on the eyes, keep “white space” in mind.1-3 lines of info on each job should suffice. My rule of thumb: 1st line =  your duties, 2nd and/or 3rd lines, major accomplishments.

*Please note that this is a guideline for civilian careers. If you’re looking to work in the federal government, that’s a whole different ballgame.

Am I missing anything? Any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments below.


About the Author

JD Collins is a writer and a new mom. She has been published on Hawaii Army Weekly, Hawaii Military Wives, Military OneClick, and Mamá Y Familia.  She writes about the daily challenges of being a working mom and a military spouse in her blog “A Semi-Delicate Balance”.  Writing and creating content has always been her passion. She receives inspiration from her family, friends, and the amazing adventures she’s able to go on.

When not writing, she enjoys chasing around her son and her beagle named Charlie-girl.

You can follow JD at her blog , on Google+, on Twitter @SemiDelicateBal or on Pinterest or on Facebook at

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