We are living in a time where technology is rapidly advancing, higher degrees are preferred by employers, and the competition in the job market continues to grow fierce. Beyond your education and experience, as well as that fabulous new suit you have pressed and ready to go, what will help you stand out? The answer is simple; soft skills.
What exactly is a soft skill? According to Robles (2012), “Soft skills are character traits, attitudes, and behaviors—rather than technical aptitude or knowledge. Soft skills are the intangible, nontechnical, personality-specific skills that determine one’s strengths as a leader, facilitator, mediator, and negotiator (457).
Being a military spouse is no walk in the park. If you don’t have all of the skills discussed below, in time, you will develop them as it is required in order to successfully survive in a military world.
1-Flexibility-Can you adapt to change? Can you quickly shift tasks and your schedule around to accommodate a new priority?
This sounds like a day in the life of a military spouse. Of course we know flexibility. It’s embedded into our life daily as our spouse’s schedules change.
2-Communication-Do you communicate well with others? Can you get your point across professionally?
Communication is our life. Whether it is through text, phone call, or video conference, this is a skill we have down to an art. Some of the most pressing and serious conversations we must have with our spouses are usually not in person, because they happen to be away when crisis happens on the home front.
3-Teamwork-Can you work in a team? Do you get along with diverse groups of people?
All military spouses try to stand tall and do this life alone, without asking for help. Then, we all soon realize that it is impossible to successfully navigate this world on our own. We all need a “team” of support systems around us. We then begin building one by volunteering, networking, and investing time in others to build friendships in a new environment.
Military spouses work together in many groups to help others in volunteer efforts with organizations, nonprofits, Family Readiness Groups, and around the local community. We also work as a team to plan special events, help another spouse in their time of need, and by accomplishing household tasks and to-do’s on the home front with our spouses.
4-Problem Solving-Are you able to solve problems with ease? Can you think outside of the box to find a solution that will work best?
This is an area military spouses know all too well. As soon as our spouses leave for the field, training, or a deployment, all heck breaks loose. Then, we must think quick and solve problems as best as we can without the assistance of our spouse. This is problem solving at its finest.
5-Leadership-Can you motivate others? Do you have a take charge attitude? Can you lead others to meet goals?
While many of us do not think of ourselves as leaders, we most certainly are by default. We constantly have to take charge and step into the leadership role within our families. We also take the lead in organizations where we volunteer our time, and even with friends when we initiate activities, or take the lead in planning a special event.
The next time someone asks why they should hire you, speak to these soft skills. You are an amazing, strong, and capable military spouse to one of America’s greatest heroes. That has to count for something.
© Wendi and Strength 4 Spouses, 2017.
Robles, M. (2012). Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace. Business Communication Quarterly. 75(4) 453–465. Retrieved from http://homepages.se.edu/cvonbergen/files/2013/01/Executive-Perceptions-of-the-Top-10-SoftSkills-Needed-in-Todays-Workplace.pdf
Wendi has been an Army spouse for almost two years. She has over nine years of experience in Adult Education and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. She is extremely passionate about helping new military spouses transition and acclimate to this lifestyle by sharing experiences, insight, and resources through her blog Strength4Spouses.