Milestone 1: Pursuing remote employment
Remote employment can give you the flexibility you need for your family, not to mention continuity with changing location. Still, you recognize that you’ll get out of it what you put into it, so you’ll want to ensure you’re able to manage running a business from home. Once you have explored the pros and cons of remote work and determined that it’s a good fit for your career, you can begin your remote work search! Set yourself up for success by thoughtfully considering the following evaluating questions.
Is remote work the right choice for you?
Based on your personality characteristics, skills, and work habits, some remote positions may fit better for you than others. The following are just a few of the considerations you can make when exploring remote employment opportunities.
- Take a personality assessment to see how your results relate to your fitness for remote work. Assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) are available through MySECO. Some of the assessments through MySECO will provide immediate feedback and suggestions on future career paths. You can also discuss your results with a SECO career coach.
- Consider the type of work you are qualified to do. Can this work be performed in a remote capacity?
- Determine your knowledge of telework technology. Are you comfortable with technology that is used for communication, particularly phone and video-teleconferencing?
- Consider your ideal work situation. Do you prefer frequent interaction in a work setting? If you do, but still want to explore remote work, are you willing or able to reach out to your team or manager on a regular basis?
- Determine your organization abilities. Are you organized and able to manage and adhere to your own schedule?
- Consider your independent work abilities. Are you highly motivated and a self-starter? Are you able to manage your tasks independently?
Real Life Snapshot
One military spouse shared that after multiple relocations, leaving her job each time, she made achieving a remote work position a priority, but there were so many resources that she had no idea where to start.
Locate and apply for remote employment opportunities
The key to finding a remote employment that meets your preferences and suits your lifestyle lies in leveraging your personal and professional networks. These networks also will be vital as you conduct your work search. Keeping a list of keywords to put into search engines and focusing closely on the language in job postings will help you determine if you are eligible for a telework position, and if the position is right for you. Don’t be discouraged if a position is advertised as remote, but you discover the company has a location restriction. It happens, but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing other remote work opportunities. Focus on your skills, experience and the value you bring to each job posting.
The following resources will get you started.
Job Search Engines
Be wary of job postings that are short, lack important company information or job descriptions, include money symbols or figures in the job title, and have grammatical errors. If a job posting seems too good to be true, proceed with caution until you can verify the authenticity.
Type in ‘work from home’ and utilize toggles in job search for remote opportunities
Bridges the gap between Active Duty Military Spouses and verified remote career opportunities.
Remote team software fueled by a remote, global workforce of military spouses, enabling 24/7 support.
MySECO Resume Builder
A fast and simple method that will guide you through resume development.
MyCareerSpark Resume Builder
Maximize your work and volunteer experience and make your resume searchable to military friendly employers in this database.
Military OneSource Video
Learn how to build a resume using the MySECO Resume Builder tool.
Practice for an Interview
Gain confidence and expert feedback from career coaches with SECO’s free mock interview services.
Interviewing Skills Modules
Discusses all aspects of the interview, including what to expect, how to prepare, what to bring with you.
Applied Digital Skills Interview Prep Course
Learn how to prep for an interview in this free video lesson.
The Military Spouse Career Journeys research told us that when offered 9 potential resources a military spouse might consider using if looking for work, online resources were the most popular – 69% say they would be most likely to use online job boards and 50% say social media.
Research also shows that there are substantial gaps between ideal work situations and current work situations
7 out of 10 military spouses have held a job with set hours and a physical workplace in recent years but less than 10% would consider this their ideal. By and large, military spouses wanted remote and flexible work environments.
Full-time, remote work is the most ideal work situation for military spouses, although few have experienced this in recent years
|A job that can be done remotely||A job that offers flexible hours||A job that permits working from home some days a week||A job with set hours and a physical place to go||Owning a business or being self-employed|
|Had in Recent Years||34||40||27||69||22|
Real Life Snapshot
Military spouses who participated in the Military Spouse Career Journeys focus groups shared that finding legitimate remote work opportunities continues to be a challenge. They also shared that military spouses most commonly address this concern through their personal networks. Recommendations from peers (directly and via social media) as to which are the more viable opportunities appears to be the most reliable and available resource. One military spouse told us: Unfortunately, unless it’s a well-known company…it’s really hard to know what’s a risk and what’s not.
The Military Spouse Career Journeys study also revealed that military spouses rely on military-specific organizations to help them navigate military life in general but rely more heavily on social media and online job boards when seeking employment.
|Online job boards||Social media||Military or veteran non-profit organizations||In-person or online networks of professionals in your field||Military organizations||On-base resources||Other military spouses||Family and close friends||Non-military government organizations||None of these|
However, as both years of service and educational attainment increase, spouses are more likely to rely on military or veteran nonprofit organizations (e.g., Hiring Our Heroes)
Consider options that offer longevity or career continuity
Many military spouses state that a full-time remote position with opportunities for growth and transferability is the ideal employment scenario. Are you one of them? Use the resources shared to research and pursue jobs that are portable and have potential for expansion and development to increase your chances of making that ideal situation your reality. Make it happen for yourself!
Research focused on the military community has shown that spouse career opportunities are an important factor in service member retention.
Previous Hiring Our Heroes research (2017) revealed that 81% of military spouses and their service members have discussed leaving the service, with the availability of career opportunities for both spouses cited as one of the top deciding factors.
On a scale of 1-10, military spouses ranked equal employment opportunity as very important to their decision making process.
Almost half of military spouses with a graduate/professional degree have seriously discussed leaving the military service with their spouse to support their work or career
Landing the job
Congratulations, you got the job! If this is your first experience working in a remote role, there are some helpful tips that can help you succeed as a remote employee. These resources will also be useful as you work and mentor other team members, so keep them handy and set your network up for success as well.
Set Yourself up for Success in the World of Remote Work
- Create or designate a part of your home as your work area. Choose a place that will allow you to minimize distractions and focus on your work.
- Find appropriate child care for your children. Use MilitaryChildCare.com or ChildCareAware to find care for your children while you focus on your remote career.
- Embrace new technology. As a remote employee, you will likely use technology to communicate, collaborate and submit your work. Gain skills and confidence by making a commitment to ongoing learning by identifying and testing technology you need to succeed in your job.
- Set expectations and create boundaries. In collaboration with your team and your employer, discuss expected work hours, technology use and availability, expected response times, and the flexibility around those boundaries.
- Connect with your team or other remote workers. Create opportunities to check in with your team and your managers in the most personal way possible to discuss goals, milestones, accomplishments and concerns or questions. Discuss the possibility of traveling to the office on a regular basis. If your work is more independent in nature, find ways to connect with other remote workers in your local area.
- Stay organized! The use of a planning tool or tracking system may be required for your position. Even if it is not, find a program or system that keeps you organized and in control.
- Seek out a mentor. Ask if there is a formal mentorship program at your organization. If not, ask to connect with a counterpart who may not be remote. This may help with the feelings of isolation that commonly accompany remote work.
- Make time for physical activity. Remote work may require many hours of sitting at a desk or looking at a computer. Formulate a plan that gets you involved in a daily activity that is away from your desk and your screen. If you need some help getting started, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some tips on simple ways to get active. Be sure to seek the advice of a physician before starting any new exercise routine.
- Commit to learning and development. Continue to learn – inside and outside of your organization. Ask about professional development and informal opportunities within your organization. Apps like Primer can provide you with quick and easy trainings such as Finding or Transitioning to Remote Work and Thinking Outside the Office: Working Remotely.