Dear Career: We Move Too Much for a Real Job

(Photo: U.S. Army.)

Dear Career,

I feel like I’m stuck on a horrible treadmill. I desperately want to be a "career-minded military spouse," but we’ve moved four times in the last six years and I keep getting stuck in the same entry-level positions. How am I supposed to break this cycle?

Sincerely, Stuck in San Diego

Dear Stuck,

That is a frustrating cycle, isn’t it? Employers want someone with mid-level experience, but you can’t seem to stay anywhere long enough to get promoted to mid-level.

So what should you do? Talk about your cumulative experience. A lot. Talk about it when you’re networking (if you need ideas for where to start networking, look for your local In Gear Career Chapter or Chamber of Commerce), talk about it in the executive summary of your LinkedIn Profile and resume, talk about it in your cover letter, talk about it to the dad standing next to you at school pick-up.

Seriously, the moving may have put you at a disadvantage, but your best cheerleader is you. Anytime you’re talking about the fact that you’re looking for a job (which again, should be all the time because you never know who can introduce you to your next employer), you should be selling your skills for that next-level position.

When you take an interview for yet another entry-level position, ask about room for growth and let them know you’re confident in your ability to take that next step.

Perhaps you could even propose a trial period arrangement: Remind the interviewer that you’ve worked in many similar positions in the past, but you understand you need to prove your salt in the current company.

Suggest that you’re willing to start at entry level with the expectation that your position will be re-evaluated in six months. Then be prepared to follow up and make that discussion happen.

If you’ve proven yourself to be a valuable employee, you can enter that re-evaluation discussion with confidence.

Happy Networking, Career

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