A series of relaxed online discussions with military spouse friendly employers and employment insiders could just be the key landing your next job.
That, at least, is what officials with the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) program are hoping.Early this summer officials there launched a weekly series of online chats on their LinkedIn page. Similar to a Facebook based townhall-type discussion, LinkedIn users can visit MSEP’s page at the chat’s scheduled time and interact with that week’s corporate participant, MSEP officials and other spouses. They can post questions themselves as well as read MSEP’s questions to that week’s person or feedback from other spouses.
Really, it’s pretty cool.
MSEP was founded by the DoD to connect employers interested in hiring military spouses with spouses that need to be hired. When companies join the program they commit to hiring spouses while working with their human resource departments to understand spouse employees. About 270 employers are currently a part of the program, officials said.
Unlike many of the Facebook townhall events run by different base officials or other government groups like Tricare, the MSEP organizers have chosen a friendly, personal tone for the discussions. Reading them feels less like reading the party line and more like communicating with some helpful friends.
And that’s exactly what they were going for, MSEP officials recently told me.
“We want it to be welcoming, but we also want it to be engaging,” said Lee McMahon, the DoD’s program analyst for spouse education and career opportunities. “Our main goal is: we want to connect military spouses with job opportunities, so every chat we’re going to be asking … basic content information so we’re not beating around the bush with it.”
McMahon said they chose LinkedIn as the platform for the discussions over the myriad of other social media options because they wanted an easy way to help connect spouses’ resumes with the employers during and after the chats.
“If you have your profile built out in a way that is going to represent your skill set in the best light possible then right off the bat the employer sees [that],” she said.
Employers for the chats were picked by MSEP officials based on a variety of factors, including whether or not the company is currently hiring or if they are new to the MSEP program.
McMahon said their biggest challenge with the series has been getting spouses involved and interacting. She said even if you aren’t looking for a job with that specific company, the chats can be a great opportunity to build your network or learn about spouse hiring practices or the thought process being employers’ decisions.
You can see the list of upcoming chats here or check out MSEP’s LinkedIn page over here.