"When I discovered and owned my personal brand, I dropped the 'I’m just a military spouse' uniform and confidently stepped into a new career."
DISCOVER AND USE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND TO REACH MORE
I was at the height of my game professionally when I got married. I was 29 and working as a litigation adjuster in the auto insurance industry. At the time when my husband and I got married, I left my career and the paycheck behind. It was our first duty station and the two of us began living on an income that was less than half of what I had been making on my own. It was also at that moment that I became, “just a spouse”.
Very few jobs were available and I was definitely not able to find a job in my industry because of the remote location where we were living. I ended up doing temp work to get my foot in the door at a local university. This resulted in me taking a job that I was more than overqualified for and underpaid to do. I thought this would just have to be something that I’d have to expect now that I was, “just a spouse”.
Our second duty station was overseas, and while an amazing experience, I was still not in a position to find a job that I wasn’t completely overqualified for so I did the obvious thing...I became a lifeguard at the age of 30 because, after all, I was “just a spouse”.
By the time that we moved to our third duty station and was finally able to find a job in my career field, I sold myself short and took a position which, once again, I was overqualified. I felt justified in taking it because I had been out of the industry for so long...and I was “just a spouse” following my sailor around the world. I also was lacking the self-confidence to go for what I actually deserved.
It took me years to overcome the “I’m just a spouse” mentality and to recognize that I deserved more, so much more. Yes, I am a spouse but I am so many more things and it no longer defines who I am.
When I was ready to REALLY get back in the game, to really get serious, the one thing that I had in my favor and set me apart from other job candidates was that I knew how to look the part. I can confidently say that I have gotten every job that I’ve ever applied for but it’s not necessarily the words that I use in my interview, but it is the impression that I give when I walk in the door.
Through a personal branding strategy, I was able to learn how to manage the first impressions that others had about me. It also gave me a much clearer vision about who I was, both personally and professionally, far beyond being “just a spouse”.
I understood that I had a personal brand and how to convey that message without even uttering a word. It was then that I dropped the title of “just a spouse” and once again became the confident and courageous me.
Today, the phrase “look and feel our best”, is so overused that it quickly falls under fortune cookie material, we know that we need to look and feel our best, but it goes much deeper. As we start building from the ground up, we need to feel confident in our look and how we convey our message to the world.
Let’s talk about personal branding and what exactly that means. To have a personal brand means that you have identified what sets you apart from the pack and have put a name to it so that your individuality shines through. Your personal brand demonstrates to the world how you want to be perceived. You are able to literally manage what people see and think about you based on their first impression of you.
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING
A PLANNED OR UNPLANNED CAREER CHANGE?
First, I want to recognize the fear, anxiety, and frustration that you may be experiencing as a result of a planned or unplanned career change.
Perhaps you’ve lost your mojo and momentum from the countless times that you have started over and you are ready for a change.
You are here because you recognize that you’ve lost your identity because of life circumstances you identify yourself in a category such as:
I am just a spouse.
I am just a Mom.
I am just a homemaker.