Chazz Pratt: Military folks get ORDERS (a new assignment that's dictated by the needs of the military). For the Spouse in Uniform, their job is predictable. However, for the Military Spouse, there's a lot of uncertainty. What advice would you give someone with limited contacts and knowledge about career opportunities?

Curtis Cunningham: Great question Chazz! I'm from a family of military people so I've seen this first hand. First of all, do your research to identify any local professional groups that are relevant to your career or industry. It's critical to begin networking so that you can establish rapport with members of these organizations so that they can get to know you. People are more comfortable making recommendations on your behalf if they have some idea of your aspirations, your skill sets, and yes, even your personal life. We're comfortable with people the more we get to know them. You certainly don't want to bring your problems into that setting, but let them know things like; you're married, you have two kids, you were born & raised in a certain state, etc. That way, they can a get a picture of who they're actually recommending to a potential employer.

CP: Walk me through exactly what networking is. Tell me step-by-step what networking is all about.

CC: Well, first of all, you really need to know what it is you're looking for. One of the worst things about networking is for you to become involved with multiple networking groups and not being clear about communicating as to what it is you're looking, the last thing you want to do in a networking setting is to say, "Well, I'm just looking for work. I just want to do whatever. I just need a job!" Even though that may be the case, that's not the way you want to package yourself. You want to make it easy for other people or organizations to help you. And the more clarity you can give them by really identifying; What am I looking for? What type of position am I looking for? What are my skill sets? In other words, you need to have your "Elevator Speech" if you will. Being able to, in about 30-seconds, to tell somebody who you are, what you're looking for, and why you'll be excellent in that position once you've found it! I think if you concentrate on those 3 things, then it allows the person who is in a position to help you, to remember you once that networking function is over.

CP: Assuming a Military Spouse decides to break away from the four walls of the military installation to find work, what are the "must haves" or "must do's"?

CC: Ask questions. Let people know what you want. And, be prepared at all times! Look the part. Dress professionally and always have a resume handy!

Curtis Cunningham is a Motivational Speaker, Career & Business Strategist based in the Dallas Metroplex area. He is responsible for successfully training, assisting and influencing the employment and development of thousands of individuals in the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Device and Home Healthcare arenas. He has also assisted professionals in other career fields. For more information go to: