Are You a Military Spouse Looking for Work Near Camp Pendleton?
Monday I attended the career prep workshop offered by MCCS Camp Pendleton. The 2-hour workshop is designed to help spouses who are looking for work to get assistance with their job search. The class was run by two funny, smart, and helpful MCCS employees, Marjorie and Yolanda. Marjorie works with the Family Member Employment Assistance Program (FMEAP) and Yolanda is the coordinator for the Volunteer Program aboard Camp Pendleton.
How is the class organized?
Writing a 30-second commercial about yourself
Interview skills and dressing for success
I learned a great acronym for my goals – SMART – stands for:
With the tagline that a “goal without a plan is just a wish,” I was encouraged to think about my goals and to define specific ones. Next, Yolanda and Marjorie suggested ways to measure my progress. For example, if I send out zero résumés, then I’ll get zero job interviews. So, how many résumés am I going to send out each week, how many networking events will I attend, and so forth.
Then I had to consider if my goals were achievable and realistic. Can I get hired as a school principal if I don’t even have a degree in education? I’m thinking No, however, I can find out what educational activities will help my reach my goals. I can explore how others can help me accomplish my objectives and identifying areas of personal development that will help me figure out what I need to do to get where I want to be. Lastly, the goals need to be defined in a specific timeline; this involves how long is it going to take to get my education and acquire the skills I need.
Of course, the next step is to create an action plan. A job isn’t just going to fall into my lap, so I have to get out there and network, reach out online, talk with friends, and put together a stellar résumé. Then I need to find the positions I’m interested in applying for, submit my résumé, get enrolled in classes or find volunteer work that will help me acquire or hone my skills. I just have to put together the action plan and execute!
Perhaps the most useful part of the class was the résumé review. Marjorie gave great information on how to structure your résumé so that the hiring recruiter who only glances at your résumé for 30 seconds or less will want to read more, put yours in the yes pile, and call you for an interview. As most of my work experience doesn’t really relate to the careers I’m pursuing, my résumé has been a source of anxiety for me. Also, I haven’t put one together in about 10 years and I know how important the résumé is, so I was very tuned in to this portion. Marjorie was even nice enough to invite us to email our résumé to her and to help us restructure it based on our goals and experience.
The toughest part of the session came when we were asked to create our 30-second commercial. For some reason, I wasn’t able to come up with a way to describe myself that I was comfortable with. According to the Department of Labor’s Veteran’s Transition Assistance Program it’s “a statement to describe the skills and services that you have to offer an employer. It is essentially a brief monologue that sells your professional abilities and reflects your ideal job profile.” This was an entirely new idea to me and I hadn’t really thought about it much before.
How do I Make a 30-Second Commercial?
Pick a combination of the following components that will comprise your pitch:
Greeting: Includes your first and last name
Experience: Accumulated experience in your specific industry and jobs
Areas of Expertise: Your major job functions and skill categories
Strengths: Specific skills that you possess
Accomplishments: Specific accomplishments that emphasize your strengths
Professional Style: Traits and characteristics that describe how you perform your job
Job Search Strategy: What you want to do with your experience
Here are some examples of the components:
Greeting: Hello my name is ______
Experience: I’m an experienced ________
Areas of Expertise: I have ___ years of experience in the ______ industry with expertise in ______
Strengths: My strengths are ______
Accomplishments: I’ve been recognized for _________
Professional Style: I’m _____, ______ and _______.
Job Search Strategy: I’m interested in expanding my experience into _________
Jessica’s 30-Second Commercial
Hello, my name is Jessica Tuck. I have 3 years of experience as a volunteer for family readiness programs. My strengths are excellent communication skills, organization, and a passion for helping military families. I’ve been recognized for instituting a deployment readiness guide for Marine units, organizing, managing and coordinating over 20 volunteers. I’m diligent, prepared, and resourceful. I’m interested in expanding my experience into helping military families.
Yes, it’s a little rough around the edges, so I’m going to tweak it, but I thought you’d like to read what it looks like when it’s put together.
The day ended with a review of common interview questions, techniques for a successful interview, and how to dress for success. Most of this was common sense, but definitely worth putting some thought into. For example, if your interviewer says “tell me about yourself.” What your response? Here’s where your 30-second commercial would be useful.
What are common interview questions?
What were your duties at your last position?
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Here you want to talk about a position in the company that you hope to advance to.
Tell me about difficult situation/project that you encountered at your last job? How did you handle the situation? This should be something that had a good outcome and that you handled in a positive way for the company, not something you escalated to management, etc.
Is it worth it to go?
I say yes it’s a great idea to go to the career prep workshop. It’s going to get you really thinking about a career and not just a job. It’s only 2 hours, which went by really fast thanks to the great ladies running the session, and even if you’re not currently looking for work, it’s a good idea to go because Yolanda and Marjorie had great suggestions for those transitional times in your life – recent PCS, currently staying at home with kids, or in school.
What do I wish they had focused on more?
My main criticism is that I wish there had been more focus on where to search for jobs effectively. We brushed over some websites to search but nothing in depth. Since online search is the most common way to look for work, I think more attention to the introductory/initial contact email would be useful too.
What’s my overall opinion?
Besides the guidance on restructuring my résumé, most of the advice and information was fairly basic but important to know, and sadly, not everyone understands that the interviewer doesn’t want to know you have strength in your biceps when he asks about your strengths or that pink hair and orange nail polish doesn’t exactly give the best first impression.
There wasn’t much discussion about other resources available for military spouses looking for work. There was no mention of where to look for civilian government and military positions, the many organizations which exist to assist spouses looking for work, or educational opportunities geared directly towards military service members and their families. I think I was expecting help that was more specific to our roles as military spouses and though I feel though the information was good, though somewhat generic.
For some online sources check these links below:
Have an experience with this workshop or job searching and career establishment please comment!
- Marine Wife 101 – LINKS Class at Camp Pendleton (flygemini.wordpress.com)
- Military Spouse Marine Corps Family Readiness Assistant Training (flygemini.wordpress.com)