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Job Coaches: Promote Yourself

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The key to finding work as a military spouse is turning a negative into a positive.

That's the consensus of job coaches who help military spouses establish a career in spite of their transient lifestyle.

"It's a challenge," said Kathie Hightower, a motivational speaker and co-author of Help! I'm a Military Spouse: I Get a Life Too! "But in the long run, every spouse we've talked to, they say they wouldn't change it for anything."

Those who have held several jobs in a short time can sell themselves as prospects who have seen the best practices at a variety of workplaces. Hightower also suggests marketing yourself as someone who adjusts well to change and can work with people of different backgrounds.

Some careers, such as nursing and teaching, lend themselves better to frequent moves. But decide what you love and work toward that goal, even if it means sometimes taking jobs that just pay the bills, suggests Stacy Swearengen, the founder of Military Spouse Portable Career Planning and the wife of an active-duty soldier.

"Military spouses should not be giving up their dreams because of who they fell in love with," she said.

Several government-sponsored programs are available, including the Military Spouse Employment Partnership; USAjobs.gov; armycivilianservice.gov; and dol.state.ga.us.

Spouses at Fort Gordon can contact counselors at the Employment Readiness Program Office, in Room 155 of Darling Hall.

Swearengen can be reached through her Web site, portablecareerplanning.com, and Hightower at militaryspousehelp.com.

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