It's PCS Season...How Do You Start Your Job Search?
So you are a new (or experienced) military spouse and experiencing your first Permanent Change of Station, better known as a PCS. You are moving to your first, or twenty-first, duty station, you start applying online but hear nothing. How frustrating, right? The effectiveness of applying to ads online is a mere 4%, according to a 2016 Forbes article, "The 10 Best and Worst Ways to Look for a Job." You saw that correctly, just 4%, yet for many, that is the primary method of job searching. So the big question is, “what is the best method?” The answer is, networking in its many forms!
You may be thinking, great, but I know absolutely no one where I am PCSing to so how am I going to network? The quick answer is you can network anywhere and everywhere. I have shared before, I worked with someone who ended up with a job because she chose to take this advice to heart and ended up having a conversation at a grocery store.
You do not even have to be in the area to network. I see networking every day in the Career Military Spouse Facebook group (over 5,000 members) and the Veteran Mentor Network group (spouses are welcome and over 125,000 members) on LinkedIn. I see veterans and spouses on local pages provide local assistance. Military spouses and veterans are so willing to reach out and help, all you need to do is ask for some advice. The same goes for alumni groups.
One of the most effective methods of networking and job searching I have seen is outlined in Steve Dalton's, The 2 Hour Job Search. What I like about Dalton’s method his method of efficiency. While he wrote his book after seeing some of the best MBA students at Duke University leaving without a job, his book can be easily applied to military spouses. He breaks down the process into four steps:
Build your list. Identify 40 companies and prioritize your list.
Identify potential advocates who could help you (check out the two groups I mention above for a place to start).
Make contact with potential advocates.
Hold informational interviews.
Each step is efficient, geared to make the best use of your time. Dalton even lays out the how-to for each step and identifies potential inefficiencies as cautions. I love how the method addresses exactly what we, as military spouses, need to know. How to build our network. Dalton even goes into how to utilize LinkedIn to find potential advocates.
So get out of the ‘click and apply’ mentality, or at least do not make it your primary method of job searching. Get out there and start networking!