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Relocating Military Wives - Bridging The Gap

by Doris Appelbaum, CEO
Appelbaum’s Resume Professionals, Inc.

You have been relocated (again) because your military spouse has been reassigned, and you don’t have any idea of your value in the employment world. As a matter of fact, you don’t know what you want to do, aside from what others want of you.

A growing number of military spouses are finding that temporary employment can bridge the gap between unemployment or underemployment and a full time career. In some specialties, up to 30 percent of temporary workers are offered permanent jobs through their temporary assignments. There are several advantages to temping (auditioning) for job seekers:

· Temping is an effective way to comparison shop while earning an income. Working in varied settings gives you a chance to evaluate first-hand the accountabilities and challenges in a given position.

· Temping is a good way to acquaint yourself with the culture at different companies. You can gain valuable insights about the personalities and work styles of your prospective manager and colleagues; this information will not be conveyed in a typical job interview.

· Temping provides a chance for you to prove yourself and demonstrate your talents and expertise. It is not unusual today for a position to be created based on a temporary’s skills.

Many companies have suffered through painful downsizings and are extremely cautious about overhiring. As a result, the temp-to-hire strategy is gaining popularity. Managers want to observe a prospective employee’s actual performance under various conditions on a day-to-day basis. Employers with precisely defined needs are eager to find exactly the right person. Companies in transition also take advantage of auditioning candidates. They, too, are probably experimenting with staffing levels to determine the right balance of personnel.

Temporary work can be ideal for military spouses, former stay-at-home moms, and volunteers seeking employment. They can use a variety of positions to gain new skills while making valuable business contacts. Many temporary workers receive free skills training from the temporary help company. Virtually every profession is represented in the temporary workforce of this century. The benefits of temping are numerous: The money you earn can help reduce the financial pressures that come when you are out of work for a length of time. With less pressure, you can afford to be more selective.  You will also develop a clearer sense of your employment targets. As with internships, temporary assignments often give you access to companies where you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get a foot in the door. The work experience will make you a stronger candidate for full-time employment. This experience can be especially valuable if you have a one-dimensional resume - that is, you have spent twenty years at home, in a dead-end job, or following your spouse around the world – or if you want to shift career gears. Temping is one of the best ways to expand your network. If networking is one of your goals (and it should be!), look for shorter assignments that give you more exposure to many companies.

Best of all, the simple fact that you are getting up in the morning, getting dressed in business clothes, going to work, and spending your day doing productive things (and getting paid for it) is one of the greatest ways to keep up your morale.

To pursue temporary jobs, prospects should evaluate the temporary service’s reputation and stability. Review and analyze web sites.  Get  personal recommendations from people you know. Call companies that are likely to use temps and ask if they could recommend a service or services that that company uses. Analyze the Sunday want ads. Check out the Yellow Pages under Employment Agencies - Temporary Help. Call or visit the temporary help services you may be considering, preferably in your chosen field. Choose a temporary service with a broad range of clients and assignments, thus building a professional network and acquiring new skills. When you register with a specialized temporary help company, request specific assignments which will help you target the area of work in which you have the most interest. Bear in mind, however, that you may not always be able to get an assignments you desire. A good service will give you a realistic assessment of what you might expect.

Be sure the service you select offers competitive pay rates and bonuses, and ask about the company’s policy on temporary assignments. Meet with a staffing representative in person. Think of the service as your agent. Let them know what kind of assignments you prefer, how often you would like to work, and if you want temping to be a stepping stone to permanent employment. Reputable agencies never charge a fee to candidates. That practice has long been considered unacceptable in the industry.

At least one-third of the temporary help industry payroll is paid to workers in traditional office and/or clerical positions. Another third is paid to workers in a wide range of industrial areas, including assembly lines, shipping or receiving, or hauling goods. The remaining candidates are employed in the technical (engineers, computer specialists, drafters, and illustrators), professional (accounting, legal), sales and marketing (product demonstrators, hosts and hostesses, interviewers), and medical (supplemental staffing to facilities - licensed and unlicensed) arenas.

Doris Appelbaum is President of Appelbaum’s Resume Professionals, Inc. She is a nationally known career consultant, resume writer, speaker, and trainer. Military Transition is a company specialty. The former host of  WZER Radio’s Career Fair on the Air and Career Quest,  she is available to conduct workshops or critique resumes and can be reached at (414) 352-5994 (phone) - 1-800-619-9777 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - (414) 352-7495 (fax).  Visit her website: for FREE advice.

Doris Appelbaum, CEO/President
Appelbaum's Resume Professionals, Inc.
P. O. Box 804
Milwaukee, WI  53201
414-352-5994 (office)
414-352-7495 (FAX)
1-800-619-9777 (toll free)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.