We were talking with one of our good Military Spouse friends the other day and she told us how she started her career. Here’s how her story went:
Starting a career when you have to move every 2-3 years can be challenging. Then take into account the economy, which as we know, hasn’t been great the last few years. It can also be daunting when businesses want experience. I bet you never see a job posting that says, “No experience necessary. Just walk in off the street and start making millions!” And if you do, it’s a scam and you may wake up in a tub full of ice with no kidney.
Maybe you’ve been holding down the fort at home for several years and want to get back into the business world. Or perhaps you’re a recent college graduate. You may even be getting your degree and need to work in the meantime.
My advice? It’s simple: Get up and go for it.
Okay, I know you may be yelling at your computer right now, but think about it, you have to pound the pavement, both cement and digital. I got my first job out of college by putting on my best suit, printing my resume on good quality paper, doing a Google search for local businesses I was interested in, and walking. I didn’t let my lack of experience hold me back; I filled my resume with the experience I did have—summer jobs, internships, and successful projects from college. I walked into business after business, shaking hands and leaving my resume. No matter what, I left with a smile and thanked them for their time. Each time it was a new experience — I learned what to say, what not to say, and how to react to new questions.
I kept doing this until I finally got a call back. I’m not going to lie; it took a long time before I got that call. The same applies to online searching—you can send out a hundred resumes and only get one interview. You can’t be discouraged by this. Look at it as though it’s a numbers game. If you send out enough, eventually you will receive an interview. If you send out 10 and hope for the best, you’re just wasting your time.
When I finally landed that first job, was it what I was hoping for? Nope. Did I get my foot in the door of a company where I could grow professionally? Absolutely. Sometimes you have to “settle” for a position you may feel you are overqualified or underpaid for. It doesn’t mean you are settling at life. It’s a professional chess move that gives you a good trade off: You may be starting at the bottom, but at least you have your foot on the ladder. You will achieve so much from the job you thought you “settled” for: experience, lessons learned, and new-found professional confidence.
You get to your dream job one job at a time. A foot in the door and a great work ethic can propel you up that business ladder faster than waiting for the dream job to come to you. It’s plain, hard work to get a job. And believe me, if anyone can do it, it’s a Military Spouse.
More MilSpouse Career Moves to Make: