“The Best Career Advice That I Have Ever Received Is to Be Open to Change.”

Isabel Williams, institutional review specialist at the U.S. Department of Education, recommends that military spouses

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. 

Isabel Williams, institutional review specialist at the U.S. Department of Education, recommends that military spouses "be open to taking positions that you would not see yourself in."

Name: Isabel Williams

Years as a military spouse:


Tell us your job title/profession:

Institutional Review Specialist at the U.S. Department of Education

I conduct on- or off-site reviews of student financial assistance programs at institutions of postsecondary education with particular attention given to the administration and management of Title IV funds.

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


How long have you been working in this career field?

4 years in program compliance

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


Tell us one thing you love about your job.

I like being able to use my skills to help others.

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

I got my job through usajobs.gov, but I know that path is not common.

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

Never give up!

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.

How do you feel about failure?

It is to be expected. Every successful person has failed at some point.

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

Work/life balance is a huge challenge (especially during deployments). My husband is on an extended unaccompanied tour.

I find that balancing my work life with caring for a young child (my baby is 1), and still being my husband’s main source of support to be extremely taxing, but I love this life.

I get support from other military spouses. I am extremely blessed.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.

The best career advice that I have ever received is to be open to change. If you want to work, be open to taking positions that you would not see yourself in. I have 2 law degrees, and my first job after having my baby was “Army Education Counselor.” Guess what? I LOVED that job!

The worst advice I received was not to apply until you are ready to work. That is a lie. Apply before you are ready to work, because it is extremely frustrating to be ready to work and not have any prospects.

Who is in your support squad (i.e. spouse, neighbor, bff) and what role do they play in supporting your career?

In Gear Career, yup the entire group. When I was frustrated in my career search, having a group of professional ladies that empathized and shared my struggle was invaluable.

Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?

No. My husband is deployed. I do everything myself.

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

Sometimes I take a personal day from work just to maintain my sanity. It helps me stay refreshed.

Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:

My laptop helps me a lot.

Favorite app for making the most of your day?

Note. My grocery lists, addresses and important information are all in there.

Must-have song on your productivity playlist?

I love dancehall music. I play it and grind through my files.

If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?


If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?

I would want super speed.

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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