Reentering the work force can be an intimidating process, even when you've only been out of the work force for a brief period of time. As a military spouse, you may face the challenge of starting or restarting your career a number of times due to relocation. You may also take breaks to gain additional education or certifications or take time off to raise children. You may find fewer employment opportunities near some installations both in the U.S. and overseas, leading to longer periods of unemployment.
If you've been out of the work force for a while, you might not be familiar with some of the new technologies organizations are utilizing to connect with their employees and the outside world. Here are some of the technologies you might experience as you return to employment.
Companies and individuals alike are relying on social media platforms to connect with customers and each other. It is not uncommon to see a company Facebook or Twitter site now. In fact, companies are connecting to their customers daily with posts including the latest sales and promotions, company news, new marketing strategies and even job openings. With any job search, you should research the company you are interested in, and now you should consider following them on Facebook or Twitter, too. Company social media sites are a good way to get a feel for a company, their culture and how they are trying to engage with their publics.
The three main social media sites corporations are using today include:
For information on how to leverage social media as a networking and job search strategy, read part two of this article: "Reentering the Work Force: The Benefits of Social Media."
Virtual Meeting Spaces
Virtual meeting spaces like Google+ Hangouts©, Adobe Connect©, and Go To Meeting© are becoming more widely used in both the traditional and virtual work force environments. They allow you to work with anyone, anywhere by using the power of the Internet to see and share information, participate in discussions and even see other meeting participants if you choose.
Visit the links below to get more information and view demonstrations on virtual meeting places.
Brushing up on skills
It is very important to be familiar with standard industry tools, such as Microsoft Office. Most corporations use those tools for word processing, email communication and spreadsheets. Staying current on the latest version of the software allows you to be ready to use the technology from day one.
Free training on Microsoft Office products is available on the Microsoft website. Many schools, libraries and other organizations offer free or low cost training on computers and computer software applications. You can also take specialized courses to obtain certifications for many Microsoft products.
Take the time to research and learn more about the new technologies companies are using to connect with their employees and their customers before you reenter the workforce. Being familiar with the technology and making an investment in updating your skills will ease your transition into the work force.
Many organizations are now offering their employees the opportunity to work from their homes for at least part of the work week. According to the June 2012 Monthly Labor Review from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 24 percent of Americans from a wide range of occupations are teleworking at least a few hours each week. A few of the occupations mentioned for teleworking are customer service and support, sales, editorial/ creative and technology development.
The tools employees typically need to telework are:
- High speed internet connection
- Appropriate software
- Phone headset
Many software applications are hosted in the "cloud," which means the software, database or other application the employee is using resides in a remote location and is accessed through the Internet.
A number of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership employers offer spouses the opportunity to work from virtual offices 100 percent of the time. Often, applications are completed online, interviews are conducted remotely, hiring is done via phone and email and training is also completed virtually. Employees never have to set foot in the company's offices but work from the comfort of their home office. Visit MSEP partners like Convergys and Alpine Access for more information about customer service and other available virtual positions.
Another MSEP partner who offers virtual positions is Greenback Expat Tax Services, which specializes in preparing U.S. taxes for U.S. citizens around the world. The company offers a virtual office, so you can live in Texas or Korea or anywhere in between and still work for them. They are always looking for skilled accountants, CPAs and lawyers and currently have positions available for a salesperson, a member of the marketing staff and potentially an operations expert. Find more information on Greenback's job openings, and other companies offering virtual positions, on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership portal.
If you have questions, need information or personalized assistance with employment or education opportunities, visit the Military OneSource/SECO page or call 800-342-9647 to talk with an education or career counselor.