The challenge of needing to find a new job every few years is a significant burden for military spouses, but there are strategies that can make their plight easier.
To avoid extended gaps in their employment history, spouses should consider taking advantage of volunteering opportunities, said Shonte Gonzalez, an Airmen and Family Readiness Center community readiness specialist who counsels job hunting spouses at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“It’s not paid, but it’s a job,” Gonzalez told the Dayton Daily News.
“Their gaps in employment are probably one of the biggest things that are stressful to them,” she said. Many Dayton area employers, however, understand the work history gaps that may accompany military life as a spouse.
Gillian Russell, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation associate with the Hiring Our Heroes program, emphasized the need for military spouses to highlight the contributions they make outside of the workplace.
“They might not be working, they might have flaws in their resume, but what they are doing is they are volunteering, they are helping to run the bases, they’re helping to make sure that families are looked after while service members are away, and all of these skills make them absolutely fantastic employees,” Russell said.
Military spouses have organizational and leadership skills that employers seek, said Chris Phillips, a PNC Bank diversity specialist who recruits military spouses.
“They’re the caregiver, they’re the ones that manage the household so they’ve very loyal to an employer and it makes good business sense to us,” Phillips said.
To be sure, military spouses face a number of hurdles to find a job, according to the story. A 2013 study found that 90 percent of female spouses of active-duty service members were underemployed, or had more education and experience than needed for their jobs, according to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
“That was the biggest finding and probably gave a broader picture of the employment situation of a military spouse,” said Rosalinda Maury, the institute’s director of applied research and analytics. “It’s not just unemployment, it’s underemployment.”