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.
Name: Sherry Kellogg
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession:
Global Study Manager
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
How long have you been working in this career field?
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
Telecommute from my home office
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I love that every single day is challenge, but more importantly, I love that me and my team are bringing life-saving medical products to the market.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I like to think of this job as a miracle. Throughout my time in the clinical research industry I have been aware that the industry is full of home-based positions, but they are insanely competitive and even more difficult for military spouses to land.
For the last three years, I submitted probably 100 applications – each one rejected within a few days of submission.
Just when I was about to give up, my husband vowed to help me land a home-based job. He revamped my resume to mimic an OPR/EPR, essentially highlighting my accomplishments and downplaying my multiple job moves. Five applications later, I landed this home-based job that perfectly aligns with my education and level of experience.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
The obvious is perseverance, but beyond that look to your active-duty husband/wife for help. I hear so many people say that our active-duty husbands/wives do not know how to write a resume, but that honestly could not be farther from the truth.
Our husbands/wives are required to write really strong OPRs/EPRs annually, and those reviews really highlight their strengths and accomplishments, which is extremely useful for a military spouse resume as it downplays employment gaps and multiple job moves.
How do you feel about failure?
I’m definitely afraid of failure, but I treat it like a constant force, pushing me to do better. Failure is my motivator.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
In the military spouse community, I hear a lot of buzz about home-based jobs and how this is great for those in our community who want to work.
The reality is, however, that these jobs are just as appealing to civilians, making it insanely difficult to land home-based jobs as well. Even though clinical research management is heavily home-based, I am still having to compete with civilians who likely have stronger resumes than me.
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 I ever received was to treat every work experience as a lesson – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have all experienced bad bosses – learn what not to do from them.
The worst career advice I ever received was to “apply for jobs well below your education and experience level just to get your foot in the door.” This advice really devalues your worth as an employee. I hear this advice given to so many military spouses and it really breaks my heart. It essentially creates this vortex of us being perpetually underemployed.
In my experience it is best to shoot for the stars. There will be an employer out there who will see your value and will hire you.
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
Hands down, my husband. There have been so many moments when I wanted to give up, and he was always there to push me toward my dreams. He picks bases based on where I can work and not necessarily what is good for his career.
We’re a team, and we do whatever it takes not to let Uncle Sam rule our lives and diminish our dreams.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
Yes! There is definitely and ebb and flow to our household tasks. There are times when I am busier, so he picks up the slack, and vice versa. It’s all about rolling with it and knowing when to pick up the slack.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
I make going to the gym a priority. It’s how I de-stress and clear my mind. It’s like all-natural Prozac!
I am also all about meal prepping and crockpot dinners. I can work all day, get in some gym time, and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Our Groceries is a grocery list app that both my husband and I can view – it makes managing grocery shopping so much easier.
Boxed is essentially online Costco without membership fees. We don’t have time to run these sorts of errands, so it’s extremely helpful to have bulk items delivered right to the house. Plus, Boxed is known for creating a great work environment for its employees.
What’s your must-have song on your productivity playlist?
“Angel in Blue Jeans” by Train
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
Cook! I love to cook. Besides working out, cooking puts me in my happy place.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Don’t we all wish we could slow time?!