Tag Archives: pro military business network

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Whether it’s new to you or you’ve been doing it for 20 years, finding a career when you’re a military spouse can be truly challenging. You feel like you’ve finally settled in and found something you enjoy (or at least something that pays), and then your service member gets orders and off you go again. It’s a tough part of the lifestyle, but it’s what you signed up for when you said “I do”. While no one can offer you the end-all-be-all solution for this conundrum, I’ve put together some of my best advice to help you try to minimize the sting of giving up one job and looking for another.

  • Always Have the Mentality You’re PCSing Soon

This might be the last thing you want to do, especially right after you’ve completed one, but it will keep you competitive (not to mention less stressed). While your employer may not want to think about losing you as soon as they hire you, they know you’re a military spouse. So, bring it up. You never know if they may be able to work something out where you can work from a home satellite office, or if they have connections around the country that could help you in the future. The bottom line is you know moving is in your future somewhere, and so does your employer. Instead of running from it, embrace it and plan for it as well in advance as you can. There’s a lot to be said for taking the bull by the horns.

  • Don’t Get Lazy With Your Resume

Most people typically only update their resumes when they need to (ie looking for a job/about to leave a job). However, if you keep yours constantly up-to-date, you’ll be ready to strike the new job market as soon as you get word. Plus, your true skillset is likely to reflect more accurately when you update it in real time.

  • Take Advantage of Employment Resources

You may not have thought of using an employment or temp agency before, but it’s a great resource. In fact, many of these organizations have special programs exclusively meant for the military spouse. This should by no means be something to rest your laurels on, but these agencies are definitely people you want to be in contact with. While many of the temp jobs can turn into full-time positions, having a temporary paycheck is better than no paycheck at all.

  • Keep Your Eye Out for Career Fairs

Career fairs can be a little intimidating, but they’re a unique opportunity. Especially in today’s world in which employers typically request applications and resumes to be submitted online, it can be tough to get a face-to-face meeting. A career fair offers you the chance to see what’s out there and turn the charm on before they have a chance to say no. Nothing makes a competitive resume stand out more than a personal introduction.

  • Consider National Companies

National companies can be an ideal place for military spouses because they can offer some sense of security. While transfers are never guaranteed, if there is a branch/office/store near wherever you’re heading, there is a good chance you can have a job waiting for you when you get there. The moral here is to make sure you’re such a great employee that the company doesn’t want to lose you.

  • Network Like Crazy

Even if your job doesn’t require it, network all the time. Especially near a base, you never know when you might meet someone that will be a great connection for you in the future. Maybe they used to live where your new base is, or maybe they’ll PCS there long before you and be able to give you a head start on career prospects. The more people you know, the more you can call on to help you down the road when the military lifestyle calls.

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The Aftermath of PCSing

When you receive orders to a new base, you immediately think of all the big things to take care of – and for good reason. You need to start planning to move out of your current residence, find a new place to live, decide if you’re going to do a DITY move or have the government take care of it, take care of all the change-of-address hassles, take care of school for the kids, etc, etc etc. But when you actually arrive and the cloud of stress and constant activity begins to settle, you find yourself getting back to your real life. And in real life, you need more than boxes, packing tape and forms.

It doesn’t unravel all at once, but bit by bit you begin to realize that you need something you no longer have a person for. You need your hair cut, a massage (if you’re really lucky), an accountant, pest control services, heating and air professionals, a handyman, a plumber, a car repair shop, a shipping store, jeweler, gym… and the list goes on. All those errands and day-to-day things you did before the move still need to be done, but there’s the added burden of needing to figure out where to go and who’s reputable.

The tough part about finding many of these types of businesses is that “word of mouth” is generally thought of as the way new customers (ie you) are referred to them. And now you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place because when you just moved, you don’t know anybody! And those you do know, you just met. Sure, they might be willing to tell you who they use, but you don’t yet know them well enough to know if their “stamp of approval” matches up with yours.

I’m not going to pretend all those things are of paramount importance, but you do need them and it’s easy to forget that you do until your car starts to smoke or your hair starts to act the way it does when it’s time for a trim. So my recommendation? Use this resource as your jumping off point. The businesses that are listed are here for the sole reasons that they understand the value of the military community to their business, they want to say thank you, and they are reputable. I used this to find just about everything I needed when I arrived, and I have yet to be disappointed. So take a look around the Business and Professional Services section of any of our base guides, give these wonderful people a call, and let them know how you found them.

And if you wish, let us know how your experience was. Tweet us @militarymedia_ or leave us a message at Facebook.com/MilitaryMediaInc

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Not Your Typical Unicorns and Leprechauns Network

There are networks everywhere. But no matter how ubiquitous the term seems, each one seems to take on a form of its own. Some are pretty formal and some are so informal you’re pretty sure they don’t even really exist. It has gotten to the point that if someone mentions a “network”, all you’re sure of is that somewhere along the way a group of people got together and decided they should be called something.

In some respects, the Pro Military Business Network is no different. Some smart people in an office one day decided a bunch of businesses should come together and be called something. It’s tangible and it’s intangible. But, here’s the difference: it’s more than just a pretty name that makes you feel good inside. And, even better, it’s adapting, changing, expanding, and becoming something more useful to everyone involved. Because, let’s be honest here, with technology and business moving as it is today, this thing could have been created last week and already be outdated.

Before I go into what’s happening next, you might want to know what has happened already. The Pro Military Business Network (or PMBN as I like to call it… and I’m sure the acronym-centric military would, too) is a group of businesses that really exist, and that support and love our military community. They are of our same belief that without the military, they wouldn’t be here, and that needs to be recognized and celebrated. They have all come together through our super talented graphics department, sales department and marketing department to form a website. Now, I’ll stop boring you.

Let’s say you’re PCSing or TDYing, or you already live here and you’re looking for a salon, or a car repair shop, or a realtor… or anything. And there’s 52 types of the business you’re looking for. So, what do you do? Right now, you probably roll the dice or explore Yelp forever, and 9 times out of 10 end up at a place you really don’t want to be – trying really hard not to lose your temper with the person you feel you just wasted your money with. Maybe their service was sub-par, maybe they gave you that look you hate, or maybe they had an attitude when you asked if they had a military discount. All of those things are awful, and none of us want to deal with it. This is what the PMBN is here to avoid. If a business is a part of the PMBN, it means they have said they appreciate they military. It also means someone from this very company has personally gone to their location and made sure they’re the type of business we think we can stand behind. And it also means you have the convenience of having one place you can learn about them, view their ad, watch their video, and link to their website.

Now, improvements. For those of you not stationed at a base that has Military Media run their guide, have you ever needed a phone number and had a really annoying time of finding it? Of course you have. I’m really super confident of that. Why? Because I had the wonderful, but necessary, task of looking for the phone numbers for EVERY SINGLE BASE in EVERY SINGLE BRANCH in the free country. It took forever, and it was terrible. But now, once we get our update done, you can go to the PMBN, find your state, click on your base, and boom – numbers. You’re welcome. I think I’m allowed to preemptively say that because it’s going to make you’re life wicked easy. I promise. Go get your hair cut with all the time the PMBN just saved you (salons are under Business and Professional Services).

All kidding aside, it’s an awesome resource – to be a part of, or to use. And, we love to hear from you. So if there’s something you want to see (or not see), or if you have a cool idea – sound off below in the comments and tell us! Seriously. We’re small enough that if we like it, there won’t be a mile and a half of red tape and corporate forms to file before it can happen. If we like it, it’s done. Welcome to the PMBN.

Oh, and here’s a link to one of our awesome Pro Military businesses. Check it out! :

pambonadonnacpa.promilitary.net

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There Is No Hotel Deal Fairy

It has to be one of the most Googled phrases in recent travel history: how to book the best room for the best rate. And while I wish I could say I hadn’t wasted my time doing this… a lot… I have. And the outcome is almost always one of two things. Either the information is completely useless and makes searching “cheap hotel rooms” seem like a revolutionary, Nobel prize worthy idea; or the results are achieved by nothing short of calling out sick from work for two weeks straight, developing a masterful spreadsheet, and probably getting put on some sort of government watch list. But don’t worry, you’ll get the room five dollars cheaper per night (maybe).

So, in response, I’m going to try to give you my version of it. Part of me thinks this is futile, but the other part of me tells me this: I’m better with technology than your average person, but I’ve also had to teach people how to use it. I work full time and I work on a Master’s degree part time. And I will fight you if you think I’m going to waste time doing anything else when I could be watching football. Why should you care? Because that means I’m not going to suggest something so painfully obvious your great grandmother would know to try it, or something so complicated you need a doctorate in engineering to do it. I’m also not going to suggest things that “ain’t nobody got time for”. I welcome your criticism (or loving praise) after you read this.

  1. It’s already time for the tough love.

No matter how good you are at this, how far in advance or last minute you’re looking, or if it’s a Tuesday and the weather is bad – you are not going to get a stellar deal every time. Sometimes, all your tricks and research just lead you to the sad realization that the cost is what it is. But hey, at least you know you’re not getting ripped off by whatever hotel or site you book through.

  1. Analyze your circumstances.

Ask yourself a few key questions before you start looking. Is your trip soon or in the distance? Do you need a specific neighborhood or will anything in the general area do? Do you have the funds to pay up front, or do you need to be able to pay when you check out? Is your trip flexible enough that you’re comfortable booking something the same day you want to check in? These are all important questions, and I will address them in the “Tips” section at the bottom.

  1. Use more than one website. But don’t go crazy.

I know, there’s websites like Kayak and Priceline, as awesome as they may be, that insist you only need to search their site to find the best price. But only trying the deal sites just tells their marketing departments that they’re as brilliant as they think they are. I generally pick one deal website, and then Google something like “hotel specials February 7-9 in Fort Walton Beach”. Sometimes, a coupon or something will pop up. More often, though, I get a big old list of hotels across the top of the page. And now, I compare. Go through your deal site and try to find a price you like. If you don’t see one, find a hotel you like that might be more money than you’d like to spend, but isn’t so far gone you can’t find a better deal.

  1. Compare Simply.

Baby steps here. Let’s assume you’ve now picked a hotel or two (or three or four) from the deal site. Next, go to the hotel’s website itself and run a search. Sometimes, the deal site is better. Sometimes, it’s the same. But other times, you might find that if you select a AAA rate or military rate (from the search box when you’re typing in your dates and number of people…typically in a drop down menu or under “advanced search”), the price ends up being lower than the deal site. Think about it: the deal site can’t assume everyone booking qualifies for a discount. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Refer to point #1.

  1. Compare Creatively.

Don’t get stuck in a rut. I know you’re probably thinking I’m breaking my time rule here, but the above two steps shouldn’t take you more than five minutes (ten if you’re researching a lot – but you should save that for the end). Quickly skim through and cross reference the deal site’s list with your Google list. Just like Southwest Airlines tickets can only be purchased from their own website, not all hotels allow deal sites to work with them. When you see some on Google that you didn’t on the deal site, do a new search for that hotel. Here’s the best part: quite often, since the hotel is not participating in a deal site, they’ll have some pretty great deals. Especially for multi-night stays.

Tips:

Now that I’ve given you some ideas, back to those questions I asked you to evaluate in point #2. The best way for you to treat the following bullet points is like a matching quiz in school. Figure out what applies to you based on your answers to the questions, and then take my advice accordingly.

  • If you’re in a situation where the deal site and hotel site are the same price, consider this: deal sites require full payment up front and are rarely refundable; direct hotel sites typically do not actually charge you until check out and have pretty lenient cancellation policies
  • Monitoring the price of a hotel you like over a period of time can typically lead to a decreased rate. If you see it drop, grab it.
  • Many hotels have last minute deals. I don’t mean the week before, I mean the same day you want to check in. You can use the hotel site, deal site, or an app like Hotel Tonight
  • Unless you really can’t afford a hotel at the initial price you find it, don’t play the bargain game if it’s going to really put you in a bind to stay anywhere else
  • Pick up the phone after you’ve found a hotel you like. The vast majority of the time, their best deals are online. But some offer secret promotions you’ll never find out about if you don’t call and ask

The bottom line here is establishing your priorities, then doing what you need to do to achieve them. There might be a lot of stuff here, but if you ask those key questions first, you shouldn’t need to spend more than 15-30 minutes finding the best deal possible for you. Any tips or tricks of your own? Post them here and share the wealth!

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