Should You Hire a Military Spouse?

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As a business, you’ve likely realized there is a demonstrable business case for hiring military veterans who bring desirable character qualities, values and skills to the civilian workforce. Have you considered hiring a military spouse?

Military spouses are an often-overlooked workforce that offers proficiencies, talents and insights companies and hiring managers should note. After all, these are the women and men who remain home while their partner deploys, keeps the family together and holds a job all while not knowing when they will be asked to relocate if their spouse is reassigned.

Military spouses are often overlooked in the recruiting system because their resumes show many different addresses and jobs (they were moved as their spouse’s duty station changed,) they may not have finished a degree or certification, and there is a possibility they could be relocated yet again.

As you look to hire new talent, consider that the benefits a military spouse brings to the workplace is far greater than any downside -- real or perceived. Typically, military spouses are:

  1. Used to dealing with stress and pressure. Their world is filled with uncertainty and pressure. They do not know the fate of their deployed spouse on a daily basis. And, each time they relocate, they must navigate the stress of making new friends, finding new support networks, and learning new home base. Learning new skills with grace are characteristics of the military spouse.
  2. Committed to a higher purpose. The military promotes “Service Before Self, ” meaning it’s not about taking credit or recognition for success, but always assuming responsibility and accountability. Military spouses, alongside active duty service members, share this belief. In many cases, the spouse has invested and sacrificed their career, education, and relationships to support the family’s commitment to military service. Similarly, the military spouse typically won’t crave attention and credit, doesn’t drive a personal agenda (at all costs), but will feel loyal to the values and mission of the company.
  3. Adaptable. While many civilians strive to be flexible, patient and resilient on the job, military spouses have learned to be that way out of necessity. When their partner receives PCS orders, the spouse has to manage all the logistics of moving the home, family, and support network. Spouses have learned to adapt to new environments, cultures (especially when relocated overseas) and employment options.
  4. Bringing diverse skills and talents (often left off resumes). The skills, abilities, talents and passion of a military spouse reflect the commitment and resiliency of a workforce that is often skilled in personal communications, emotional intelligence, financial systems, logistics, event planning and other abilities many companies seek.

Military spouses struggle with whether to list out on their resume all of their short-term jobs and educational stints (which they had to leave because of a military reassignment,) or leave them off and appear to have no experience and work history. Equally challenging, if they do not self-identify as a military spouse, employers could perceive their lack of job and educational consistency as flakey and unstable.

Companies looking to take advantage of a highly committed, passionate, and resilient workforce should consider and try to attract military spouses. There are large and small companies across the U.S. who have successfully implemented robust military spouse hiring programs and are seeing the benefits -- in employee morale as well as the financial bottom line.

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