Working military spouses know that getting PCS orders is the literal worst. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a portable career, a new duty station usually means you’ve also got to enter into the misery that is job searching.
Because so many military spouses are looking for jobs, the labor market near bases tends to be saturated. This means that a lot of insanely talented military spouses are overqualified for the jobs for which they apply.
This happened to me recently, when I left my comfortable job as a sales manager for a multi-million dollar real estate company to marry my husband, who is in the Navy. I sent out what felt like hundreds of resumes.
Out of those, I got 2 job interviews.
The first of which turned out to be a well-disguised pyramid scheme to sell as-seen-on-tv items in stores.
The second was for an office assistant position, and I (very thankfully) got that job after 5 months of searching.
Often, overqualified candidates are a red flag to employers. In the interview, my overqualification was brought up several times. My would-be employers worried that I wouldn’t be challenged by the position and might leave after a few months.
What can you do to assure employers that even though you may be overqualified, you’re the perfect fit for the job?
Use Your Network
Military spouses know how to network. Use your professional references to recommend you for the position you want.
Even if you’re overqualified, a recommendation from a former employer or colleague can go a long way with an employer.
If you have a contact in common with the employer, even better. Before the hiring manager even meets you, they’ll know you are a serious candidate.
Show Off Your Skills
Emphasize your skills and professional accomplishments rather than your previous job titles. For example, instead of saying, “As Regional Sales Manager, I…”, try beginning with something like, “During my time with my former employer, I increased sales revenue 40%.”
Explain Why You Want the Job
As a military spouse, this can be tricky. Some people feel that being a military spouse is an automatic strike in the job interview process. I’ve been there.
But there are many employers who don’t care that you’ll be leaving this job in a couple of years. The average millennial only keeps a job for 2 to 3 years anyway, so that’s right on par with civilian workers.
Whether you tell them you’re a military spouse or not is up to you. What you definitely need to tell a could-be employer is why you want this particular job.
What drew you to the position?
Why would you enjoy working there?
Employers like enthusiastic candidates and that can count for a lot in a job interview.
Don’t Be Discouraged
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re overqualified and looking for jobs. It might sound cheesy, but a positive attitude and a big dose of self confidence might be the push you need to win over a future employer.
While you’re searching for a new job, there are many things you can do to increase your value to would-be employers, while at the same time pursuing meaningful work. For example, you might want to offer your skills as a volunteer for a nonprofit agency. You’ll keep your skills in shape, and show an employer that you’re invested in pursuing interests, not just a paycheck.
So, whether it takes 2 weeks or 6 months to find that new job that you’re way overqualified for, keep your chin up.
Even though it might seem like it, being overqualified isn’t a bad thing. You are more than your resume, and you should never apologize for being a smart, capable professional who also happens to be a military spouse.