ServingTalent in the NY Post


A recent NY Post article featured a spouse that ServingTalent placed, and that same article explains exactly why we do what we do.

Hiring a spouse should not be part of a veteran hiring program. Spouses have extensive private sector work experience like the traditional candidate pool.

Hiring a spouse is not a CSR initiative or charitable donation. It’s part of the hiring and investment strategy for a company’s future.

Our company doesn't just talk about military spouse employment, we get them hired.

Families in Global Transition Presentation


On October 24th ServingTalent and Career Valet CEO Marcelle Yeager joined the DC affiliate for Families in Global Transition and Tandem Nomads to present on managing your career on the move. Her presentation on Strategic Networking for Your Ideal Job encouraged military spouses and US Foreign Service spouses to use their vast networks to build their ideal jobs.


Today in National Flex Day.

We are proud to join FlexJobs, 1 Million for Work Flexibility, and other leaders in support of work flexibility.

At ServingTalent we are passionate about work flexibility and understand its value for our country’s workers, particularly the Military Spouse and Foreign Service Spouses that we serve. It is a smart and sustainable business strategy that improves the readiness of the Armed Forces and State Department and enables businesses to find highly skilled, adaptable employees.

Five Sections to Focus on When Updating Your LinkedIn Page


LinkedIn can be intimidating if you haven't used it at all or had much experience with it. Even if you have, the experience of trying to update or revamp it can be stressful, much like writing a resume. Knowing which sections matter the most for recruiter and employer searches is important. You also need to know how to develop content to maximize your impact in the space available.

If you're looking to be found, the first thing to check in your profile is that your contact information is visible. Include your email address and anywhere else you'd like to be found (Twitter, Facebook, blog or website) to the contact information section of your profile. If you don't, you may miss out on opportunities.

1. Professional Headline. There are two ways people use the headline on LinkedIn. Some use their current or past job title while others choose a descriptive headline that summarizes their professional background. What's best for you depends on your goals and how you intend to use LinkedIn. For example, if you're using it for work, marketing or business development purposes, you should use your title and company name in your headline. If you're job searching or always keeping your eyes open for new opportunities, it's better to use a descriptive headline. LinkedIn allows you to use 120 characters, so utilize as much of that real estate as you can to explain the main skills, degrees or experiences that define you and what makes you unique.

2. Summary. This is probably the place on LinkedIn where people have the most trouble. Summaries vary greatly for this reason. Some folks overshare, and it can become a bit too personal for social media, let alone a professional site. Others use generic phrases, like "driven and self-motivated project manager," which sound too stiff and not personal enough. What's the middle-of-the-road solution? Provide an example, or several examples, of specific work you've done and use metrics wherever you can. If you don't have numbers to demonstrate your achievements, you can say how you've helped your company do something or how you've made a difference in your community. You'll have space for generic skills and phrases in the skills section. Include your passions in the summary and why you chose your field and what you love about it. Let people get to know you professionally with a hint of your personality or interests.

3. Experience. Another key section of LinkedIn is work experience. Many people leave the job description fields blank under their job title, company and dates. This is a mistake unless you are prohibited from doing so. Some industries and firms almost exclusively use LinkedIn instead of resumes. Therefore, you should treat your LinkedIn job descriptions as seriously as you do in your resume. What did you do in your jobs, and what impact did your work have on a process, team, person or the company? Use key skills and phrases from your line of work as much as possible here.

4. Skills. This section can be complicated because "skills" can mean anything from technical to industry to other professional expertise. You should include everything in which you feel confident. Think about the knowledge you have in your field and other skills that are likely important to employers you may target, from computer skills to technical and professional skills. This is also the place to put the generic skills mentioned above. But don't go overboard. "Oral and written communication" is fine, but "excellent time management" sounds silly. Avoid adjectives when listing your main skills.

5. Additional Information. This is your chance to show a more personal side. What activities do you enjoy outside of work? If an employer views your profile and the profiles of several others with similar educational and professional backgrounds, and something in this section piques their interest, they will want to talk to you.

If you are unemployed, you're probably wondering whether to leave your last position's dates as "to present" or put in your end date. Many recruiters will tell you to include a job entry, even when unemployed. The reason for this is that many of them will limit their search for candidates by checking the "current title" box. To avoid being missed, you can create a mock job listing in the current job section. This should include the job title or titles you are looking for. In the company name box, you can write "In Transition" or "Seeking New Opportunity." Focus on creating unique content for the sections above, and you will have an above average LinkedIn profile. Keep it professional but not too stiff or generic, and you'll be well on your way to getting noticed by recruiters and employers. If you are still stuck, check out profiles of well-known executives or LinkedIn's top-rated professionals to get an idea of what a great profile looks like.

Originally Published on US NEWS by Marcelle Yeager.

Job Hunt Resources


One of the hardest parts of the job search is finding out about openings or positioning yourself to see them before others do too. We recommend getting ahead of the game by signing up for job alerts at sites specific to your career field, and more general sites.

Sign up for job alerts with position keywords, location selection, and mileage willing to travel (this site aggregates postings from many major sites, including Monster, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter, Indeed and others). You may need to set up multiple alerts. You can cancel alerts at any time.

You should set up alerts on LinkedIn as well: 

Specific sites for different industries/roles: (nonprofit) (education) (technology) (banking, finance, accounting, technology) (finance) (media, advertising, PR, TV) (DC public affairs & communications jobs) (sales)

A Checklist for Your Next Long Distance Interview


The following tips may seem obvious and silly, but it's a good checklist to use before you hop on for a phone or Skype interview. Small missteps on your part can literally break an interview. If you're well prepared in the knowledge department but not the pull yourself together department, you aren't likely to move forward in the hiring process. For real. 

1. Wear a fully presentable outfit.

What we mean is: don't wear sweats and slippers on the bottom because you think the person will only see your top. What if you have to stand up during it? Even if you are on a phone call, wearing work clothes gets you into a business mindset.

2. Check your Internet and phone.

Check your internet connection and that your phone is charged 20-30 minutes before the scheduled interview. Log on to Skype for the interview 5-10 minutes in advance. 

3. Have a backup plan. 

Be prepared for technical failures and have a backup plan. If Skype doesn't work on your end or theirs, is your phone charged and ready by your side? 

4. Silence your devices.

Turn off phone notifications and put it on silent for the duration of the interview. Do not check messages or anything while on the phone interview. Focus. 

5. Don't force it.

If you've had an emergency occur or you are feeling very ill the day of the interview and still want to push forward with it, please reconsider. Stress comes across more easily than you would imagine. It's better to explain the situation and reschedule so you can put your best foot forward than blow your only chance to make a first impression. 

Ten Sample Questions to Help You Prep for the Interview


Here at ServingTalent we emphasize the importance of a good interview to our candidates. It's your best chance to make an impression and get the offer you have been working towards. One of the best ways to prep for an interview is by having answers ready for common questions. Even if these exact ones aren't asked, chances are that similar ones will.

Here are ten questions that you should be ready for: 

1.  Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

2.  Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.

3.  Why should we hire you?

4.  Why are you looking for a new job?

5.  What are your salary requirements?

6.  What are your career goals?

7.  If I called your boss right now and asked them what is an area that you could improve on, what would they say?

8.  What makes you uncomfortable?

9.  What are some of your leadership experiences?

10.   What questions do you have for me?


Re-Energizing the Summer Job Search

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One of the last things you want to do over the summer is add something to your to-do list, especially a job search. But if it’s weighing on
your mind, do these two simple things to get started and feel like you’re on your way to the next great thing.

1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Focus on your headline (maximum 120
characters), summary (maximum 2,000 characters), list of skills, and
recommendations. Do not simply type your job title into the headline!
This is your opportunity to exhibit your strengths and
accomplishments. If you’ve won awards, you can be an “Award-winning
marketing manager,” and then add a dash or marker to separate a few
key skills like “corporate communications” and “healthcare industry.”

Get personal with your summary. What motivated you to get into your
field, or how did you fall into it in the first place? Were there
activities you participated in when young who have shaped the skills
you use today, such as leadership or communication? Combine the
professional and personal.

Update your list of skills. Look at key words and phrases from your
current job description or those of interest to you and use the terms
that align with your background. Don’t forget technical and language

Ask for a few recommendations from current or former colleagues. You
can do this right through LinkedIn, and often writing one for another
person inspires them to return the favor. You can give them an idea of
the skills you’d like them to focus on when writing it.

2. Narrow Your Targets

Use this time to think about companies,
organizations, or industries in which you are interested. This is a
lot easier than starting with searches by job titles which are not
standard and vary greatly between companies. This will also help you
focus your resume and cover letters when the time comes.

Sign up for talent communities online to receive job listing updates
from the companies you want to target. Try to connect with people
there and build relationships - either through contacts you already
have (or 2nd degree LinkedIn connections) or alumni groups.

Patriotism At Work: Why Companies Should Hire Military Spouses - Forbes

"It’s unusual, to say the least, to interview for a job when you are a new mother to eight-week-old twins and you’re about to move across the country for your husband’s military job. But that’s just what Kara McSwiggin did in early 2017. An experienced certified public accountant, McSwiggin scored an interview through the recruiting firm ServingTalent and landed a job with Blumer CPAs, where she could keep her skills fresh and stay in the career game at a time when many other women jump ship."

Continue reading


How to List Volunteer Work as a Military or Foreign Service Spouse


As military and foreign service spouses, you've probably done unpaid work at some point in your life. Maybe you volunteered for the unit or organization your spouse is associated with or helped out at a local nonprofit. Many of you hold positions on committees or in organizations.

While this work is not paid, it's no less important than paid work. Forget about distinguishing between the two when it comes to telling your work history. Think of them as one and the same. If you must list salary on an employment application or it's requested for a federal resume, include that information, but for all other purposes, paid and unpaid work is equal. Below are different types of unpaid work and how to include it on your resume.

Outside of Work

Once you're far beyond school years, you can be more strategic about the portrayal of your volunteer experience. If you hold leadership roles in the community, you may want to create a section after Work Experience entitled Community Leadership and list the details of your roles. For other types of volunteer work, simply list it under Additional Information at the bottom of your resume; include the organization and your role. If you haven't volunteered for an organization within the past few years, it probably doesn't make sense to include it.

Taking Time Off

There are many reasons for taking time off work – having children, caring for elderly relatives, or moving due to a spouse’s relocation. If you've taken on volunteer work during this time (anything from work in schools to religious organizations), include it as you would any job under Work Experience. Be sure to put together a few bullets to describe the work you did and its purpose or impact.

Changing Careers?

If you're switching careers to the nonprofit sector or anything that requires a volunteer base, it's even more important to showcase your unpaid work. You might consider putting a Volunteer Experience section directly under your Career Profile at the top of your resume to ensure it's not missed when you submit your application. An employer needs to know that you understand that world in order to break into it.

Military spouses and foreign service spouses should always remember to include these types of work on their resumes, it can help fill gaps in careers, or show flexibility to a potential employer. For more tips on including volunteer work on your resume, check out our Facebook page this week!

Your Master Resume


You’ve likely heard by now that you have to tailor your résumé to every job you apply to. This could very well mean you have a stockpile in the double digits, if not hundreds. And you might feel that for this amount of effort, you’ve had little success.

It may be time to take a step back and understand what tailoring a résumé to each job means and how to do it better, which will save you precious time.

1. Create a clean master résumé. 

This is a staple for all job seekers, no matter what stage they’re at in their careers. You need one solid version with everything from your background that could reasonably be used in a résumé. However, the master résumé is not a dumping ground for every piece of job-related history. In order to save yourself headaches later when it comes to application time, clean it up now, and keep it that way as you add to it in the future.

Record all jobs and internships, education, professional training, licenses, certificates, awards, volunteer work, professional affiliations, languages, publications and technical knowledge. Put as many details as you can in this version, from dates to locations to duties. Go beyond just your job or internship tasks, and include the impact of your work, whether it’s quantitative or qualitative. To keep it clean make sure the formatting is consistent now, and fix any grammatical or other errors.

2. Dissect the job description. 

So you come across a job posting, and you’re ready to apply. Read the description closely and highlight the required and preferred qualifications. If you meet the majority of required qualifications, it’s likely worth your while to apply.

4. “Save as” and delete. 

Once you feel you’re qualified for this job and have a good grasp of what the employer is looking for, it’s time to look at your master résumé and “save as” a new version. Keep only duties and accomplishments relevant to the job posting. If you’ve held jobs in a similar type of company or industry, don’t delete those.

5. Adding the infamous keywords. 

“Keyword” now has a bad connotation in the job-searching world, but it’s not as terrible as it seems.

Take a look again at the portions of the job description that you highlighted. Where you see a match with your experience, check the wording of the posting against what’s in your master résumé. Do you use the same terms or synonyms? If you don’t have the same words or phrases, make some replacements.

However, make sure you do it in a meaningful way, and you won’t only get through an applicant automatic tracking system, but also past the deciphering eyes of a human reader.

6. Review, and then review again. 

Like you did above when you created your master résumé, it’s critical to review your work. You cannot assume that since you deleted information from your solid master copy, everything went smoothly.

Technology does have its faults, as do humans. It’s essential to look over the résumé with a fine-toothed comb, and best to do this with a hard copy. Make any changes necessary, and then repeat the edit process after taking a break for an hour or, if you have the time, a day. Try not to edit if you are exhausted after a long day at work.

If it’s a job you’re serious about, you want to submit the best product possible. Remember that this is the first impression the employer will have of you, and it needs to be good because you will not have a second chance.

In truth you need only one résumé – the master version – and the others that stem from that are variations. Once you get the hang of dissecting a job description and identifying keywords, it will be much easier to create new versions when applying to jobs.

Job Searching During the Move

To Do or Not to Do: Job Searching During a Move


Let’s get real. If you have your move date secured (or even if you don’t), you probably start prepping at least three months before you actually leave your post. You have so much going on during that time between organizing your belongings to scheduling interim accommodations to car shipment to wrapping up kids’ school, not to mention all the pre-preparation for your next duty station. How can you possibly think about job searching?


First, decide if you have the time to do it prior to those three months of preparation.
Job searching is a job, so you should treat it like one when factoring in the amount of time it will
take. Ideally, you would allocate at least 20 hours a week to it.


It is very difficult to secure a job from afar whenever you are relocating; it doesn’t
matter that you are a military or foreign service spouse. You need to be clear in your
application that you are relocating to X city/country with a defined timeline. Also, are you able
to travel at your own expense (possibly) for an in-person interview? If so, make sure you state
that in a resume and/or cover letter.

Let’s Do This.

If you decide it makes sense for you, the best thing you can do in advance of a
move is to grow your network and make connections in your new location by reaching out via
email and LinkedIn. Are you interested in working at particular companies located there? Find
recruiters or managers in the departments you may be a good fit for and reach out to ask if
they’d be wiling to look at your resume. If they say yes, send it along. The majority of jobs are
secured through referrals, so the best thing you can spend your time on is building your
network. You don’t have to be best friends with someone to get a referral; sometimes all it
takes is simple back and forth email correspondence.

What You Can Do This Summer to Find a Job


If you've been thinking about figuring out what you love to do, use the summer to your advantage. Take time while on your summer vacation or at home to start exploring new career possibilities. Here are some easy ways to get started and motivated. Keep a journal or notes on your phone to track quotes, ideas, and inspiration.

Company News

If you are drawn to certain companies, get to know more about them. Subscribe to their news feeds or newsletters. This will help you understand their culture and corporate goals. If you eventually decide to apply to an opening, you'll be able to better tap into their needs when you prepare your application and interview.

Industry News

Engage with sources from industries you're not familiar with in which you might have a possible interest. Try reading magazines from those industries to find out what the current trends and issues are. It may ignite an interest in learning more about issues within an industry, or you may find a job you never knew existed. 

Follow Industry Influencers

There are a lot of industry thought leaders and CEOs blogging and putting content out there. While their word isn't gospel, it can be inspiring to read about their challenges and successes. If there are particular people you admire, follow them on social media, subscribe to their blog, or listen to their podcasts.

Talk to Successful Individuals

Many of us shy away from asking successful people for guidance because we imagine they are extraordinarily busy and don't have time for us. While that may be true, some of the most successful people enjoy hearing from people who admire them and offering advice. Ask to take the person to lunch or coffee to learn about their career. These chats can trigger great ideas for you about what you could be doing in your future.

Yes or No: Disclose Your Military or Foreign Service Affiliation


You may have been asked or heard of friends being asked questions in an interview such as "What does your husband/wife do?" or "Why did you move here?" or "How long will you live here?" 

These questions are borderline illegal yet they are asked all the time. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 protects federal civilian employees from discrimination based on marital status. Veterans are protected from discrimination, but military and foreign service spouses are not. However, your spouse's or partner's employment status - particularly when serving the country - should not affect your ability to be hired and you should feel empowered to say so. Many employers are not even aware of the bias they are exercising when refusing to hire a spouse. 

So, when you interview, should you tell an employer that you are a military or foreign service spouse. Yes, yes, yes!

There are several reasons why you shouldn't be afraid to do so. 

1. It speaks to your value. Once you've been affiliated with the military or foreign service for a while it begins to feel like what we do is normal. But it is not normal. What you go through is not normal compared to the average citizen. You've overcome the challenges of living through deployments and in other countries without formal support. You have a diverse perspective from your experiences. You've built relationships from nothing and you know how to ask for help. These soft skills are difficult, if not impossible, to teach. 

2. You should be comfortable and happy where you work. Do you really want to work for an employer who bases a hiring decision on the fact you may move and/or does not appreciate your service? When you interview for a job, you should be doing your due diligence to figure out if it's the right place for you. Would you like to work in a place where your qualifications, background, potential, and service to our country isn't fully valued? 

3. 35% of U.S. workers change jobs within 3 years. We move on average every 3 years. Where's the problem in hiring spouses then? In fact, you may want to stress that you'd like to stay on if possible for the long-term should you perform well and it's mutually agreeable down the road, working from your next post in another office or remotely. This is not something they will automatically get from the average employee. By giving you a bit of trust and flexibility, they will get loyalty from you, and that's priceless.

It's not easy to build awareness of the lifestyle we lead and convince employers of the value we bring to the table. But if we all stand up and give voice to our value, we'll continue to educate and change minds and create more opportunities for ourselves, our friends, and partners/spouses of the future. 

Two Quick Ways to Boost Your Resume


Don’t forget about your resume when you’re in spring cleaning mode.
Recruiters spend six seconds scanning a resume to decide if they want
to read further or invite you for an interview, so your resume needs
to be clear and well organized.

Here are two easy ways to upgrade your resume to get it into the “yes” pile.

1. Write a brief career summary. This goes at the top of your resume
underneath your contact information. It should be several lines or
bullets that answer the following questions:

- what is your title or specialty? (e.g., engineer, marketing
professional, medical researcher)
- what are 3-5 of your key skills? (e.g., presentations, operations,
interpersonal skills)
- what are you known for/what do your colleagues say about you? (e.g.,
attentive to detail, quick learner, motivator)

2. Group your bullets under each job. Categorize your bullets based on
the skill they demonstrate. For example, if you’re in communications
you may have “crisis management,” “written communications,” and
“social media,” among others. Use those terms as subheadings under
each job you’ve held and list the bullets that demonstrate each skill
under the appropriate subheading. Make sure your bullets speak to
examples of work you’ve done and include numbers, results, or the
purpose of each task. Simply listing duties will not help you stand
out. Be as specific as possible.

These two strategies will go a long way in helping you refine and
better organize your resume so recruiters can get to know you quickly
and easily. From there, it’s more likely you’ll end up in the
interview stack.

Three Ways to Keep Your Skills Up to Date

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This week on Facebook we are discussing career breaks - how to come back from them, but also how to stay up to date while you are away from your job. This is an important topic for military and foreign service spouses, so we're diving in deeper on the blog this week.

The best thing you can do during your break is to remain engaged professionally. This is important for a number of reasons, including your mental health. Faced with a long bout of unemployment after working for some time can easily lead to an unhealthy rut. You must take care of yourself and simultaneously ensure that you are not falling behind while away from the workplace. This will help you tremendously when the time comes to return to work both because you will be and feel connected. If you emerge from the break with a negative or desperate perspective, employers will sense that, and you'll have a more difficult time finding a job.

Here are some ways to avoid this and stay engaged professionally.

1. Strengthen your online presence. Use any time that you have, even if it's only in small bursts, to create or overhaul your LinkedIn profile. In general, you need to keep your profile current, so the first thing to do is update it if it's outdated. And it is a good idea to put a current entry that reflects what you are up to now. If you've thought of becoming more active on social media or building a website, this may be a good time for it. These activities keep you current and you'll have products that show other facets of your professional and personal life for your next professional move.

2. Flex your expertise. A great way to keep your mind active and knowledge fresh is to blog. You can create a blog on sites, such as Tumblr or on your own website. Other platforms include LinkedIn Pulse, which you can find under the "Interests" drop-down tab at the top of the main page once you log in. While it's not guaranteed that many people will view it, you will create a stock of your expertise there that can be viewed by former colleagues and future employers. Another way to engage on LinkedIn effectively is to join groups in your field and comment on discussions that you find interesting. Again, this is a way to offer and showcase your expertise. And it's also a way recruiters sometimes find their next employees.

3. Volunteer your time. You may not have much time depending on the reason for your being out of work. But if you've been let go and are figuring out what you want to be when you "grow up" or job searching day in and day out, think about volunteering some of your time to an organization that you believe in. It could as simple as reading to children for an hour once a week at the local library or walking dogs at your local shelter. It will make you feel good to help others and bring joy to those you are working with. And the bonus is that it gives you something for your resume and to talk about if an employer asks, "What do you do in your free time?" or "How have you spent your time out of work?"

Being away from work can be mentally trying. And facing the prospect of going back to work, even if you've been lucky enough to keep the same job, can be tough, too. The best thing you can do is to stay in touch as much as possible with your former colleagues and with your field. Be proactive and decide if there are things you want to learn about and how to maintain your professional presence online during the time you're off. There may not be a lot of time you can allot to it, but whatever you can manage is vital for your future.

How to Sell Remote Work to An Employer

Our topic for this week is remote work - how to find it and the benefits of it to diplomat and military spouses. But what if you already have a job you love? Chances are, you can transition it to a remote position if you can make a compelling argument to your employer.

Eighty to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce is interested in teleworking at least part-time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. This is not only a demand among younger workers – seasoned employees are seeking to work from home two or three days a week. 


Requesting to work remotely is a hard sell for a company where you’re interviewing for an office-based role, but there’s no harm in trying. It’s easier to sell the idea if you’ve already worked for an employer for a year or more and want to make the shift. Employers can’t always see the benefit that it can bring them and it’s your job to tell them how. The bottom line: you can leverage your location to bring more value to the company.

Events. Check out local networking and marketing opportunities in your current or future location on Eventbrite. Think broadly. There may be applicable conferences or workshops within or complementary to your area of expertise where you can gain contacts and exposure for the firm. By allowing you to reach beyond your normal duties, you're building capabilities which ultimately contribute more to your team.

Access to partners. Ask your boss to consider strategic partners that may be an asset to the business in your current or future location. Perhaps there are existing partners in your location, or you may be in a good place to develop new partnerships.

Access to clients. The same is true for current or prospective clients. Can you help to maintain or strengthen existing client relationships? Can you develop new business contacts in your local area? Technology cannot replace face-to-face interaction, and you can save your company travel costs.

Public relations. If your company is looking to gain exposure to new markets, you can help by virtue of your new location. Your media department can focus their outreach on those locations and enable the company to expand its reach.

The more specific benefits that you can identify for your particular employer, the better. It’s not a guaranteed “yes”, but taking this approach will get them thinking about your proposal in a constructive way.