You know those ‘work from home’ jobs must be out there. Other military spouses have them. They have clients and they have deadlines and they have paychecks. How can you, too, be one of those lucky military spouses who work from home?
Don’t rely on Google.
Our readers tell us that if you Google ‘work from home,’ you find lots of jobs that seem a little shady. Is anyone really going to pay you for selling penny stocks or completing online surveys in your spare time?
And while driving for Uber or Lyft may be a possibility, passengers probably frown on minivan drivers with a couple of preschoolers in the back seat.
Call in a SECO Professional
While many spouses report that their work from home gig came after they had worked for an employer and then moved, how do you get one of these ‘work from home’ jobs without a prior connection?
We took our questions about getting work from home to Angie Hubbard, a career counselor from the Department of Defense SECO (Spouse Education and Career Opportunities) program.
Hubbard, an Air Force spouse teleworking from Maryland, says that she counsels five or six military spouses about their careers every day. “Work that can be done from home is a goal for many of (my clients),” said Hubbard. Here are some of the things that work for spouses in her practice:
Start with your search term.
“Use the right buzzwords,” said Hubbard. When you are searching online for a job or searching a database like the one for the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, don’t use the search term “work from home.” Instead, use the search term “telework” or “remote.”
Know your niche.
It isn’t enough to know that you want to work from home. You have to know what you want to do from home. “You have to know what your niche is,” said Hubbard. “What’s your thing? Are you a blogger? An admin worker? A health care worker?
The goal is to be able to say something like, ‘I’m a teacher AND I can do that from home.’”
Keep calm and use your benefits.
Often the ‘what’s your niche’ question will send military spouses into a panic. We just want to know what is available for people to do from home. Period. We spouses can’t always just pop up with an answer about what our niche is. What if we don’t have a niche? What if our niche is dumb? What if our niche has changed?
“That is a huge part of what we do as career counselors,” Hubbard said. “We will help you find your niche.”
Explore Best Kept Secret of MilSpouse Employment
The best kept secret in the world of military spouse employment-- and nailing down that work from home job-- is this free career counseling that is part of the SECO program.
The SECO program (part of Military OneSource) offers career counseling services at no cost to military spouses. That’s right. The program is FREE.
Call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 and tell them you want to make an appointment with a career counselor.
Master’s level career counselors can give you career assessments, identity personality preferences that influence your work, identify interests, look into occupations, practice interview questions, help you with your resume. One of the nice parts of the program is that 40% of these counselors are military spouses. About 70% of the counselors have a military affiliation. So they know where you are coming from and why you might be looking for a work from home job.
“I see my role as a brainstormer,” said Hubbard.
So do we. And that is just what a military spouse needs when looking for creative solutions to the always tricky world of the hunt for a work from home job.
US Army Photo Mark Brown, Army Hawaii Family Housing