“Don’t Make the Employer Guess Why You’d Be the Perfect Candidate; Tell Them.”

Military Spouses Who Work It: Carrie Anderson, Assistant Editor

NextGen MilSpouse is going beyond traditional career tips and tricks for military spouses! We are sharing the real stories of working military spouses (just like you!) and their professional success stories on Wednesdays. 

Military Spouses Who Work It: Carrie Anderson, Assistant Editor

Name: Carrie Anderson

Years as a military spouse:

5

Tell us your job title/profession:

Assistant Editor, Military Newspapers of Virginia

Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?

Part-time

How long have you been working in this career field?

I’ve been in the newspaper business for almost a year. Before that, I did more general communications work for a non-profit. So, all told, I’ve been writing for people for almost 10 years.

Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?

Thankfully I work in an office. I telecommuted for 2 years and it wasn’t for me.I like the camaraderie of an office environment.

How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.

I was one of the lucky few who got lucky from responding to an online ad. Through a combination of a great resume and a kick-ass cover letter, I got an interview through an Indeed.com posting.

What I’ve found to be most helpful is to tailor a cover letter to emphasize the areas of your resume you think are most relevant to the job.

Don’t make the employer guess why you’d be the perfect candidate; tell them.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?

The biggest challenge is definitely trying to convince employers to give you a chance. Many of the people I interview with assume that I am only going to be in the area for a year or two, when some of the billets my Coast Guard husband is eligible for are as many as 4 years!

That’s about the tenure of many employees these days. Long gone are the days where employees stay one place for their entire career.

Employers need to stop holding military spouses to those standards as well. As one potential employer said when I explained that I could be in the area for up to 5 years “Well I have many employees who don’t stay that long!”

Tell us one thing you love about your job.

I love that my job connects me to other branches of service. We’re currently located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia which has at least one base for every branch of service in a 30-mile radius. As editor of the base paper for Naval Air Station Oceana, I was able to learn more about naval aviation. As editor of the soon-to-be-launched MilitaryNews.com, I’ve been in contact with spouses from every branch to learn about what they want in an online news, events, relocation resources.

I love being able to interact with and give something back to the amazing military spouse community in this area.

Also, getting paid to write for most of the day is a sweet gig.

Are you looking to connect with career-minded military spouses? Join one of In Gear Career’s 20+ local chapters around the world. In Gear Career is a part of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:

Two words: meal planning.

With 2 small kids and a husband who is currently working toward the dreaded weigh-in, planning meals in advance is the only thing that saves us from going to Chick-fil-A every night of the week.

It’s easier to think about making dinner when the step of deciding what to make for dinner is already done. It’s also harder to avoid making dinner since you already have the stuff.

Add in the guilt of groceries going bad and it’s practically guaranteed that we’ll make dinner if it’s planned in advance.

Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?

There’s an element of outdoor/indoor in our household task division. My husband is a former landscaper and I killed mint the one time I tried to grow it so that one was an easy call.

Other than that, we fly by the seat of our pants. Laundry we switch off who does it each week. Dishes are a joint effort between us and our 4-year-old son.

And we decided that, for the sake of our marriage and his sanity, we would hire a weekly house-cleaner for all the other stuff. Apparently, trying to get someone who hasn’t gone through boot camp to adhere to the cleanliness standards of boot camp was not something my husband wanted to do long term.

If you have children, how do you and your spouse or partner split parenting responsibilities?

We are lucky to have 2 boys, a 4-year-old and a 16-month-old. My husband was on a deployable asset for the first 3 years of our oldest’s life so getting him to help out with parenting responsibilities is not something I have to worry about.

He’s great about taking time off on sick days, going to doctor’s appointments when I need him to and he loves having 2 little playmates to live out his dreams of outdoor adventures with. I do most of the scheduling and calendar making but he jumps right in for the daily needs.

It was harder when he was deploying every 2 months because he would have to relearn the household ways when he would get home. We had a lot of talks about how to discipline and what he needed to do to help take care of our boys but it taught us the importance of having those conversations regularly so now we find it easy to get on and stay on the same page.

Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without:

My phone (aka my camera, my calendar, my link to the outside world during sick days)

Favorite app for making the most of your day?

MyFitnessPal. That stubborn baby weight is apparently not going away through will alone.

Must-have song on your productivity playlist?

Rachel Platten – Fight Song

What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?

Use your base’s career office! They know lots of people in the area, know who is hiring, and usually have great relationships with the military-friendly employers in the area. They can help you with your resume, cover letter, interview tips – everything you need to land your dream job.

Are you a working military spouse? Do you want to share your career tips and tricks? Fill out the MilSpouses Who Work It Q&A today. Click here to complete our form. 

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