As part of the first ever METSpouse workshop, held in Halifax earlier this month, audiences had a chance to hear from a panel comprised of three military spouses, all in different phases of their professional lives and all giving tips and advice.
Serving as one of the panelists was military spouse Megan MacNeil. A military spouse since 2006, MacNeil is currently employed part-time in retail but is still looking for full-time, meaningful employment. MacNeil’s current professional situation made her relatable to many of the spouses in the audience.
She advised spouses to research potential places of employment.
“My main point would be to do your homework on the businesses you are applying to, know your audience, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s not an easy road, and it won’t happen overnight, but it’s full of great experiences,” said MacNeil.
Bringing the entrepreneurial aspect to the panel was military spouse Darla Haverstock. A military spouse since 2007, Haverstock is an entrepreneur with Steeped Tea. As part of her job, she hosts home tea parties and fundraisers. Knowing full well the ups and downs of owning your own business, Haverstock could share with audiences what it takes to be your own boss.
“When I was looking for something when he [husband] was at sea, and I couldn’t find a career that was in my field, didn’t pay high enough, that would support the flexibility needed around childcare, while he was deployed, I decided that a good career choice for me would be to start my own business and work from home. It was just another avenue to get where I wanted,” said Haverstock.
Seasoned, full-time employee, Sadie Harvey was the third military spouse part of the panel. Harvey and her family, who have been a military family for nine years, have been fortunate to have not been posted out of Halifax. As a result, she has been working with the Halifax Marriott for the last 18 years as an HR generalist.
Well connected to the MFRC through the employment opportunities she passes along, Harvey brought her HR background to the panel and discussed available resources.
“I wanted to share that anything is possible and to use the fantastic services that the MFRC has to offer. They provide so many great resources that you just need to know where to ask.
“They’re just incredible, very empathetic and very compassionate and will do anything to make sure you are set up for success,” said Harvey.
The HR specialist also advised audiences on resume tips.
“The other piece of advice I wanted to share, more from my employer hat and is my personal mentality, keep your resume and cover letter up-to-date and current. It’s so easy for it to just get filed away after you’ve gotten your job you’re like ‘I won’t need that for a while.’ But you forget the little things you learned or acquired skills you’ve obtained in that current position,” suggested Harvey.
Creating a “brag sheet,” Harvey advised, can help spouses bring out unique stories in future interviews and job opportunities.