shutterstock_148785419.jpgIf you have ever looked for a job and had trouble navigating the resume process, explaining gaps in your employment history or taking a lessor paying position just to get your foot in the door of a company then you would have been in good company at the recent Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) 8th Annual Military Spouse Symposium in San Antonio, Texas. As I checked into the event site and received my binder filled with handouts, bios of speakers and panelists along with detailed slides so I didn’t have to feverishly take notes all day, I realized this was no ordinary spouse event.


The flyer landed in my email the previous week boasting tips on “Keeping a Career on the Move ®” and letting me know this was “a professional development conference for all military spouses”. I quickly signed up and recruited a couple of girlfriends to attend with me.


The day included panels and workshops on:


  • Military Spouse Employment Survey results 
  • Resume Writing & LinkedIn
  • Your 30 Second Commercial
  • Dress for Success with AAFES
  • Networking – Tips and Strategies to Stand Out in the Crowd
  • Five Things Employers Want You to Know Panel


The program kicked off with the release of the MOAA’s Military Spouse Employment Survey done in partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families. Highlights of the survey conducted in 2012 revealed the unemployment rate for military spouses 18-24 years old was 30 percent, for spouses age 25-44, the unemployment rate was 15 percent. Ninety percent of female spouses believe they are underemployed or overqualified. View the survey results here or at


The Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro was a featured guest speaker and expressed his deep appreciation of the military, thanking the spouses in attendance for their family’s service and sacrifice.


Jessica Herrin, the CEO of Stella & Dot, was the keynote speaker of the event. I first heard Jessica Herrin speak at the Inc. Magazine 500 | 5000 Conference in 2011. She shared her success story and presented a talk on “why it’s good to fail fast”. She gave a very inspiring presentation on following your passion and how your career can fill your life vision verses just having a career. She also shared her “overwhelming gratitude” for those who serve and their families.


The Stella & Dot Foundation presented each attendee with a gift of jewelry as part of their “Buy One, Gift One” campaign committed to donating gifts to active duty members, female veterans, military wives and their teenage daughters.


Employers representing JPMorgan Chase & Co., La Quinta Inns & Suites, USAA, AAFES, and Humana participated in a panel and answered questions from the audience. Other participants throughout the day included representatives from Mercer Consumer, Sittercity, Chamber of Commerce Spouse Employment Program, Texas A&M San Antonio, U.S. Army Installation Management Command and the Air Force Personnel Center.


The next Military Spouse Symposium is on March 26th in the DC area. For current details and more information on how to register for this free event visit


2014 MOAA Military Spouse Symposium and Networking Event Recap – MOAA Blog
Military wives struggling to find and hold jobs [VIDEO] – KENS 5


Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)
Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families


Disclosure: USAA was a participant of the MOAA Military Spouse Symposium - San Antonio.