If you’re looking for a step-by-step plan to help in your career decisions and development or job search, you’re might love the new career help system recently rolled-out by the Defense Department.
“My Individual Career Plan” (MyICP), launched early this month, develops a set of check lists and taskings aimed at helping military spouses learn about available resources, develop skill sets and land a job that, they say, can turn into a career. You can find it by going here (and following our instructions below).
The system is open only to military spouses. Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard and transitioning spouses (up to 180 days after their servicemember gets out) can all log-in.
Here at SpouseBuzz we’re major skeptics when it comes to programs like this, and this new one certainly has some things to be skeptical about (we’ll get to that in a minute). But overall this new system appears to actually be useful, especially if you’re just starting in a particular field, new to the job market or still pursuing required education.
Building your plan will let the system generate a list of to-dos for you. And while not every single one of these will be useful for each person, it’s easy to scroll through and pick and choose. They link to articles from Military OneSource, the Department of Labor and more about finding childcare for while you work or go to school, available scholarships, job fairs, resume building, continuing education subsidies, possible employers, etc. You can also take a series of assessments to help you in your resume writing, skill development and job search.
Here’s how it works:
How to Use DoD's MyICP Site1. Log into Military One Source’s SECO page using your DS log-in. This is the same log-in you use for Tricare, for example. Don’t have one? It’s easy to set-up.
2. When you are all logged-in, click on the top option – Manage My Individual Career Plan.
You’ll be asked to build your individual career plan. Hit “get started.”
3. The first thing they’ll ask is for you to label yourself as one to two types of spouse. I chose “early career” and “student.” If you choose "undecided" you can only pick one option instead of two. The tasks they give you are largely dependent on what options you choose here and on the next several screens.
4. Next, pick the occupation you’re working towards. If you picked "undecided" you will not see this screen. Otherwise, you have 66 options. And here comes one of our complaints: this list is kind of measly. DoD officials said they are going to be adding fields or that you can pick up the phone and work with a career counselor to add to your account a non-currently listed career. You can also proceed without picking any career field.
We found this list to be, well, disappointing. Officials said they chose these 66 options based on a Department of Labor list of high-demand careers and the careers users of the MyCAA education benefit most often highlight. The result? Options that almost entirely focus on low-paying or little-education requirement fields. With only a few exceptions, there are almost no options that require very high level education. For example, you can pick “pharmacist tech,” but not “pharmacist.” You can pick “dental assistant,” but not “dentist.” And where are the communications field options? Maybe it’s just easier to deny that journalists exist.
Again, officials said they will be adding options soon. But why not acknowledge to start with that military spouses come in all shapes, sizes and education levels? After all, according to DoD figures, 21% of military spouses have a completed Bachelor's degree and an additional eight percent have a completed Master's degree or above.
5. Once you pick a career you’ll be asked to identify challenges and “growth opportunities.” The system uses this to populate articles and information to help you overcome these hurdles. Since I have kids and we PCS often, I picked those as challenges. And since I’m really bad at math, that’s my “growth opportunity.”
6. Now you’re done and you’ll be given the option to “view MyICP.” Do it.
7. And here is what you’ll see: the MyICP home screen.
8. Pick a path. If you click “Getting Started as Student Spouse” you’ll see a screen like this with options of tasks you can do.
And that’s it. Each of your “paths” include similar tasks.
I won’t lie – I’m going to come back here and take one of the free courses on Micrsoft Excel. As for this actually helping you find a career – we’ll have to wait and see what users (that would be you) have to say.