How To Advance Your Career While You're On The Move: Tips & Jobs for Military Spouses
(And anyone else who has to relocate frequently)
I'm getting to the age where a lot of my friends are looking to settle down - they want to get married, start families, buy houses, drown in debt, etc. (Just kidding, sort of.)
Jokes aside, building your own life, let alone a life with someone else is never easy. If the someone else you love and want to spend forever with is frequently on the move because of their job, it can be even harder, as you wonder whether you'll be able to continue to pursue your individual goals as well.
A couple of my friends are lucky enough to have married professional athletes. Many, many more have spouses serving our country in the military. And of course, there are countless other careers that require extensive travel (everything from diplomacy to acting).
All these friends are madly in love and excited, but a common concern I hear from them is whether they'll be able to keep their own careers afloat.
Any partnership requires sacrifice, but a career doesn't have to be one of them! In order to put my friends' (and anyone else who finds themselves in this position) minds at ease, I sat down with our career coach at PowerToFly, Heather Coll, to get her tips for advancing your career when you're on the move. As a former on-the-move military spouse herself, Heather knows the ups and downs that come with frequent relocations.
Now she helps other people navigate their careers through all sorts of transitions, especially when they're on the move. Here are her top 10 tips for military spouses (and anyone else who frequently has to relocate).
1. Remember that your skills are transferable & pivoting careers is normal.
If you're no longer fascinated by the kind of work you were doing in one location, use the move as an opportunity to try something new. There's no need to feel boxed in or intimidated because you'll only be there for a short period of time (see point #2).
"Be aware that things happen and change. You can pivot careers. Your skills are very much transferable to different industries and different roles... My experience made me totally unafraid of career pivots and now the best part is helping other people with that... I'm an expert in something partly by choice and partly by circumstance. I love helping others find their passions and empowering them to do whatever it is they want to do. No matter your circumstance or stage in your career, you can absolutely do it."
2. Don't sell yourself short... do your research!
Just because you might have to leave a job in a few years doesn't mean you should feel unduly grateful to your employer and accept less pay as a result. No employee commits to a company forever, and by being upfront with your employer about your situation, you're actually doing the company a courtesy. Make sure you're being paid what you deserve.
Heather learned this the hard way so you don't have to:
"When I moved to Utah I had this mentality like, 'Wow, I'll just be so lucky if I can work'. This eagerness to simply have a job led me to take the first opportunity that came my way - and it didn't pay well. I hadn't really done the upfront research the way I should have for that geographic location, and I wish I had. If I took the time to do my due diligence, it wouldn't have taken a whole year to find a job that I liked and paid me what I deserved."
3. Remember that you don't need to go it alone.
Embrace the community you're part of and ask for help when you need it. In turn, be willing to help others when given the opportunity.
"One of the biggest things I wish I learned earlier is to recognize the support that will be available to you and understand that it's a two-way street. When I was younger I was more stubborn and wanted to be really independent, but I realized very quickly that in the military there's an unspoken camaraderie. To me it's just unbelievable the support you will receive and also be able to give others."
4. Capitalize on your resources.
Check out the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a free resource to help you navigate your career and find jobs. The companies on the site specifically list jobs for military spouses.
"It's a free online resource for military spouses, connecting them to careers that allow advancement while moving around. There are also lots of remote opportunities and jobs with great, well-known companies."
5. Consider a remote job.
Thanks to technology and the advent of remote work, you can take your job with you wherever you go. And taking a remote job doesn't mean sacrificing professional growth. (Just check out these fun and challenging remote jobs!)
"There's so much you can do remotely now. I do recruiting, but you can do customer success, project management, obviously development... So if you're in one of those fields and you're self-motivated and manage your time well, then remote work is a great option."
6. But don't limit yourself to remote jobs if remote work isn't right for you.
There are lots of other onsite jobs for military spouses and other paths you can pursue.
"I've worked with a lot of military spouses and certainly not everyone is a great fit for remote work or wants to work remotely. Just because you're moving around a lot, doesn't mean you should settle for less. For example, I had a client who was really profound personal trainer. This person spent a lot of their time building up their networking skills as they developed their clientele for one specific location, so much so that when it came time to move, this person felt so confident in their networking ability, that it wasn't a stressor to do it all over again somewhere new. My biggest piece of advice is don't say, 'No, I'm not going to do this,' just because you're moving around. Focus on job fit first and foremost. Find the best job for you and then decide if working remotely fits in that box."
7. Use time apart for individual growth.
Odds are, you won't always be able to accompany your spouse to where they're stationed. While the time apart will be difficult no matter what, working towards something you really care about can help. Pursuing a degree you've always wanted, taking a couple months to learn a new skill, finishing a personal project, or traveling independently are all great ways to prioritize and complete short-term goals that will look great on your resume! (And you can also leverage the small education stipend you receive as a military spouse to make some of these goals a reality!)
"I counseled one woman who ended up completing a public health certificate at her local community college while her spouse was stationed in Afghanistan. During his next deployment, she took a short-term project position in sub-saharan Africa to work on education-related initiatives. When she and her husband got back home, they had so much to share about how they were both impacting the world!"
8. Own your narrative & build your network.
Learn to be your own best advocate and tell your story. Your experience on the move/as a military spouse makes you unique and should be sold as an asset, rather than a disadvantage.
Being able to explain what you bring to the table and putting in the effort to network wherever you go is half the battle!
"Become a pro at marketing your skills. Every time we moved, I did what career coaches always say to do - I sent an email to someone that worked where I wanted to work and made connections. Even if they don't have an opening, send them an email, introduce yourself briefly, and just let them know why you're really inspired by what they do or the product they have. Ask them if you could set up a 15 minute informational interview, remotely or in person, just to chat with them briefly and learn a little more. When you network and talk to people about what you're looking for, what you're interested in, what you're good at... connections will happen naturally."
9. Communicate transparently.
Whether you're networking, applying to jobs, starting a new one, or leaving an old one... transparency and good communication will make you stand out as someone who's easy to work with.
"When I would find out our next location, I was always up front with my boss or manager about timelines. I found that in general, people/companies/employers were extremely accommodating, helpful, and supportive. Ultimately, you need to be a good communicator and tell people your situation. You're there to work and they will work with you."
10. Focus on one move at a time.
We'd all be overwhelmed if we tried to plan our entire career at once - you can actually use shorter-term assignments to your advantage by breaking time into manageable chunks and focusing on whatever next step feels right for you.
"Every time we moved I would look at how much time we had in that location and be honest with myself about the location, the time I had to give, and what I was capable of doing at that stage in my career. Given your personal needs and work history, you can then see what job(s) fit those circumstances and make a plan of attack for that particular time period."
Need some more advice on navigating your career? You can book a session with Heather here!
Chainalysis’s Ashley Vaughan on Why She Finds Cybersecurity So Meaningful, and How More Women Can Find Their Niche in the Industry
How much money do criminals control today, and where is it?
These are some of the many questions that Ashley Vaughn, Senior Solutions Architect at blockchain data platform Chainalysis, spends her days working to answer.
“You learn more about a situation or problem by following the money than from any other resource or piece of information,” she explains. “Money doesn't lie. People can lie in text messages or other means, but the path of the money leads you to what you're trying to accomplish.”
Though Ashley always knew she wanted to work with computers, she found her way into roles in cybersecurity, and then specifically blockchain security, through networking and exposure — not by setting out to do so.
We sat down to talk about her career journey, as well as what advice she has for other women looking to make their mark in these burgeoning fields.
Resilience and Curiosity
Ashley doesn’t often give up, and credits some of that attitude to an obsession with soccer as a kid.
“Playing sports makes you a more resilient person, I think. You learn failure and risk, which are very applicable to my job and my career path,” she says.
That resiliency was a good thing, notes Ashley, because as a young girl, she wasn’t always encouraged to pursue what she was most interested in: math and science. A teacher early on had told her that she wasn’t good at math, and Ashley believed that narrative until high school.
“We really shouldn’t put those ideas in children’s minds, because it affects them for much longer than you might think,” she says of the experience. “But I’m the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it even more, and do it better.”
Finding out in advanced high school math classes that she actually was good at math turned into choosing a computer engineering major when she got to college.
Graduating during a recession in 2010 meant Ashley didn’t have the job market of her dreams, but after working in IT, she networked her way into a role in the cybersecurity department of a prominent DC law firm.
“They were getting hit left and right from social engineering and phishing attempts,” says Ashley. “Due to the sensitive nature of the work they dealt with, I was exposed to the darker realities of the digital era, and I began to see a new side to the world—one of real significance to national security.”
Specializing in Cybersecurity — and Finding a Home in the Private Sector
Inspired by what she was working on at the law firm, Ashley pursued a master’s in cybersecurity with a focus on counterterrorism.
“I wanted to help protect our country,” she explains. “I have a lot of family members who are former military, so that was a natural step for me.”
That led to her taking a contract role specializing in offensive security at a government agency that frequently worked with Chainalysis. After working with Chainalysis folks onsite, she was sold and started pursuing a position with the company.
“I wanted to help make sense of blockchain data for a bigger purpose, like assisting in the continued threat of ransomware activity against American interests,” she explains.
Although she credits her public sector work with providing a solid foundation in blockchain security, the private sector turned out to be a better fit for her.
“What I love about Chainalysis is that my colleagues are really happy people, and I’ve always felt welcome and not scared to ask questions,” says Ashley. “In past jobs, where I was one of five women in a group of 150, I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. I felt as if I had to be a chameleon to match the social environment of my male counterparts.”
Blockchains are all about democratizing data, and Ashley likes working with a team of people of all backgrounds to help support that mission. At Chainalysis, Ashley works with internal product and engineering to show customers how Chainalysis data can help them use complex blockchain solutions to solve data problems — and catch bad guys.
“Sometimes we’re following a bad actor who’s tied to child sex trafficking. Being part of a coordinated operation to put a stop to things like that is really fulfilling,” she says.
3 Tips for Women Who Want to Find Their Place in Cybersecurity
For a long time, reflects Ashley, she just wanted to come into work, do her job, and feel supported, without feeling like she didn’t fit in or was representing her entire gender. Fortunately, she found what she wanted — and she hopes other women will find that, too. They can start their search by:
- Knowing they’re not alone in having tough experiences. “Everyone has different definitions for how you’re supposed to act or supposed to handle your emotions as a woman at work, and it’s exhausting. It’s like, ‘This is just me.’ I can’t repeat enough how tiring that is,” she says.
- Prioritizing self-directed learning. Although Ashley completed a master’s in cybersecurity, she emphasizes that there are many other routes into the industry, including self-study. Whether you get involved in programs like Girls Who Code or do self-paced learning through platforms like Udemy or Coursera, the important thing is that you pursue independent learning about topics that interest you, she says.
- Creating and maintaining relationships. “Really talking to people is almost a lost art,” says Ashley. “Getting together with someone who has the same sort of mindset and leveraging their knowledge, and making sure you keep in touch with people who help further your career, is a good move. Most of the places I got to professionally were based on my human connections.”
Nowadays at Chainalysis, Ashley is no longer one of five women in the office, and is excited to start paying it forward so that more people with backgrounds like hers can pursue their own professional success.
“We tend to feel more comfortable talking to people who might have our same gender or educational background, and being open and vulnerable with them,” she says. “Being a visible role model is really important to me.”
Check out Chainalysis’ open roles here!
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 “What are you passionate about?” In an interview, you may have to answer this and other personal questions. Watch the video to the end to succeed in your job interview at Ribbon.
📼If asked “what are you passionate about?” in an interview you need to show how your passion can make you a good candidate for a job position. Ryan Key, Talent Partner at Ribbon, shares some tips and tricks for you to stand out!
📼Answering what are you passionate about in an interview is not the only thing you need to know how to do to succeed. You should try to make sure that you express your experience in a way that shows your interest in Ribbon’s mission. Also, prove that you did your research and demonstrate to the recruiter that you understand exactly how your role affects Ribbon’s purposes. Don’t forget to share some ideas on how you intend to fulfill the company’s mission!
📼 You are asked what are you passionate about in an interview, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask as well. You should feel empowered to ask any question you want during your interview process. It may be helpful to save certain questions for certain people. If you're in an interview with your potential manager, you should take that time to ask about their assessment metrics for the role and their management style. If you're speaking with a potential peer, this would be a great time to ask about their experience during training and to learn a little more about the team and culture.
What Are You Passionate About? Show In Your Interview That You Are Aligned With Ribbon's Values
The mission at Ribbon is to make homeownership achievable for everyone, especially communities traditionally left out of the homeownership story. One way Ribbon addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is through its support of employee resource groups. Remember to show that your passion is aligned with these core values!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Ribbon? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ryan Key
If you are interested in a career at Ribbon, you can connect with Ryan Key on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Ribbon
Ribbon is a first-of-its-kind real estate technology company transforming the real estate transaction by delivering certainty, transparency, and joy to the home buying process. Consumers and realtors deserve a better experience, and they have designed an open platform that welcomes everyone in the ecosystem to participate.
💎 Partnerships in remote environments is one of the most important aspects to construct in a company. Watch the video to the end to get good tips on how to do it successfully.
📼Wondering how to create partnerships in remote environments? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you to achieve it. You'll hear from Olga Shvets, HR Business Partner, and Viktoriia Litvinchuk, People Team Operations at Unstoppable Domains, who will explain the essentials of this process.
📼How to build partnerships in remote environments? Tip #1: Communicate Effectively. Communication is the key to enabling your remote team to be successful. Choose the channel that works best. For this, chat with your employees and see what they use to communicate, that's how you find the best solution. Also, make sure your team is on board with your internal tools and they know what, how, and where they need to use them.
📼A requisite for building partnerships in remote environments is Tip #2: Show appreciation. Appreciation is shown through your actions. Let your employees know that you value everything they do for the company. Create a special gratitude channel where everyone can share their appreciation for their colleagues for some contribution. Celebrate some wins, promotions, and everything that is important for the company. If you appreciate the employees, employees do the same for the company.
Create Partnerships In Remote Environments Using Trust - Tip #3: Give Honest Feedback
Use engagement surveys! They are a quick and effective way to receive honest feedback from your team and you can see what's working well and what needs to be improved. Your main priority is to create spaces where managers and employees can share honest, relevant feedback.
📨 Are you interested in joining Unstoppable Domains? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Olga Shvets
If you are interested in a career at Unstoppable Domains, you can connect with Olga on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is bringing user-controlled identity to 3 billion+ internet users by issuing domain names on the blockchain. These domains allow users to replace cryptocurrency addresses with human-readable names, host decentralized websites, and much more.
By selling these domains direct to consumers for a one-time fee, the company is making a product that will change cryptocurrency and shape the future of the decentralized web by providing users control over their identity and data.