For military spouses, establishing a lucrative career path can be exceptionally challenging. Deployments, P.C.S. (Permanent Change of Station) and being a single parent are all roadblocks in the fast-track to success, no matter how competent or hardworking the individual. What’s more, the small towns surrounding military installations are not exactly booming with job opportunities that justify a hard-earned college degree.
“Studies have shown that female Armed Forces spouses are employed at lower rates and earn less than female civilian spouses, on average,” according to a 2014 report by Syracuse University. “Female civilian spouses with the same characteristics have better employment outcomes than the average female Armed Forces spouse.” Why might this be? Often times, frequent relocation will result in resume gaps, which some employers will translate as an erratic work history. If a computer is screening resumes instead of a human, this oversight is even more likely to occur.
This is unfortunate, because military spouses make enough sacrifices as it is, and career fulfillment shouldn’t be one of them. One way that military spouses can avoid long periods of unemployment, keep their skills sharp and carve out a satisfying career is through temporary employment. Read on for the top ten reasons why military spouses should seek out temporary employment:
- Flexibility – Many temporary positions hinge on flexibility, and the life of a military spouse demands it. A flexible workforce allows employers to adjust their business based on demand (i.e. seasonal work), and a flexible work schedule offers military spouses the benefits of adjusting to a lifestyle that is constantly changing. Whether you work three days a week, 30 hours a week or work on a three-month-long project, there are a multitude of job opportunities in the contingent workforce.
- It diversifies your time – What’s the first thing many military spouses do when their active duty service member deploys? They move back home – even if for a short time. Some move back home because they need help with young children or because they are lonely. Too often, spouses move during a deployment because they can’t find work. A deployment is a perfect time to work on a temporary project or assignment with a staffing company. If you’re not quite ready for a permanent job or career, consider temp work while your spouse is away.
- Skills training and development – Project work or temp work helps you keep your skills sharp and in some cases learn new skills. Whether you acquire new skills on the job or through online skills training that many staffing companies – such as Adecco – provide, you’re learning and developing professionally. Additionally, you can work for more than one staffing company at a time in multiple temp assignments. This is a great way to diversify your skills over the course of working for various companies.
- Continuity – Now there’s a word you don’t often hear associated with being a military spouse, but it is a word that employers look for. When detailing your work history on your resume, list the staffing company as your employer and then list the array of job duties you performed and all the placements you received through that company. A hiring manager will see one employer over the three or four year period (sometimes longer) where you were stationed and an impressive list of job responsibilities you performed. It’s worth noting that during the height of the recession, employers were more likely to hire someone with little to no gaps in their employment history versus someone who had been out of work for six months or more.
- Try before you buy – Working on a project or being an associate is an optimal way to check out a company’s culture and fit before you commit. It’s as much of a long interview for you as it is for them. This is especially true if you’re thinking about changing careers. Not only will you have an opportunity to learn new skills and gain valuable experience in the job sector you are moving into, but it provides insight into companies you may be interested in working for.
- Temp work often leads to full-time work – There are several different types of temporary work opportunities. Short term projects or assignments can last anywhere from one day to one month, whereas long term temporary assignments can last three months to three years. Temporary work is often a bridge to a permanent job. You can also be hired as a temp-to-perm employee where you work as a contractor for 90 days and then move to a permanent colleague status. Additionally, some job seekers are recruited as “direct hires” – meaning they never work for a staffing company, but the staffing company helps them land a permanent job directly with a client.
- Job mobility – One of the benefits of working as a temp for a large, national company like Adecco is that many of our offices are strategically located near military bases across the country. It’s highly likely that a military spouse can be a contract worker for an Adecco office in San Diego, CA and then again in Washington DC when the military relocates the family. Your tenure as an Adecco associate stays with you as you move.
- Variety of positions – One common misconception about temporary employment is that all of the roles are entry level positions. Temporary or contract work is absolutely not limited to entry level jobs. Staffing companies place job seekers in a variety of temporary roles from beginner to seasoned, professional jobs and across all industries. So whether you are a military spouse who just graduated college, a current student looking for work, a spouse re-entering the workforce after staying home for 10 years or a spouse with 20 years of work experience, there may be a temporary job out there that’s right for you.
- Supplemental income – Working as a temp is a great way to earn money while you’re looking for the right opportunity – especially if your job hunt is a long one. For instance, license portability remains an issue for military spouses who reside in states that have not yet passed laws to protect them. So for those military spouses who have to wait several months or up to a year to update a professional license, temporary work is a great way to put money in your wallet while you wait.
- Working with a staffing company is free – Connecting with a recruiter to help you land a temporary job costs nothing but your time!
Interested in learning more about the Adecco Military Alliance program? Email us here!