(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Employers who won't hire a military spouse

April 12, 2018 - 2:32 pm

I recently read an article about a military spouse’s experience with a potential employer who wouldn’t hire her because she was not going to stay in the area “permanently,” due to her husband’s military service.

This is a reality that military spouses face every day as they try to gain meaningful employment, including myself. 

Just before I married my spouse, I asked a colleague what I should do if a future employer asks me about how long my military family will be stationed in the area. He said to just tell them that you expect to be there for a while.

People leave jobs all the time for all types of reasons, he said, so focus on what you can do while you’re there.

A few years later, with a resume in hand listing several military locations and a lot of volunteer work, I applied to a job and was called in for an interview. 

During that interview, I was asked how long my husband would be stationed in the area. Keeping in mind what my colleague had said, I told him that I didn’t know exactly for how long, but that I expected to be there for a long time. 

I mean, honestly, with the military you never know, but that shouldn’t stop an employer from hiring a qualified military spouse who can bring a lot to a business in a short amount of time. 

And when I was hired for that job, I know that I sure did. 

So if you’re a military spouse who is nervous about applying to jobs because frequent military moves have made your resume look chaotic, here are a few tips:

Talk about what you can bring to the company

This is a standard job interview requirement, but it is especially important for military spouses as they may only have a few years to make an impact on the company. The HR managers need to know the skill set that military spouses have, such as adaptability and leadership, and how that is beneficial to their organization.

They are gaining experience and you're not wasting their time

Discuss with them how you can utilize your many experiences to add a new dimension to their workplace. They should see that they are gaining a wealth of knowledge and development from your previous jobs and not just a person to fill a position for an indeterminate period of time.

The unknown

There is always an element of the unknown in an age of job boards and online applications when it comes to how human resources representatives decide to call you in for an interview or not. Companies may see your military resume and just shove it aside before realizing how big a mistake that is, but it shouldn’t discourage you from searching for that job that can help further your career. So keep submitting applications and someone will eventually see all of the great skills that you have to offer.